Sprouting an Idea

Sprouting Food:

Grown Mung Sprout

Grown Mung Sprout

I have been on a quest to have healthy food cheap.  The trail lead to some of the most nutritious food in the world–sprouts.  You can grow enough to feed your whole family right over your kitchen sink.  Amazed yet?  The best part is that it is extremely cheap.  And are they worth it.?  At John Hopkins University the scientist have found that broccoli sprouts have 20-50 percent more of the cancer fighting compound than the mature broccoli.  Sprouting the beans before eating them breaks down the compounds that cause flatulence (i.e. farting).  And in the end you have a lot of good food both you and your body likes –2 cups makes about 6 cups of sprouts.  I’m growing some this winter, when few vegetables are really “fresh.”  The trick is I’m not sure what to do with them now that I have them?  I’m working on a few recipes to wow my family into excepting the harvest of my new garden.  I’ll post some of them later.  First thing first, how do you grow such a garden?

sprout bags

Sprout Bags

I’ve tried several methods and I have learned a few tricks I would like to share.
1.  Soak the beans in the refrigerator.  I have soaked my beans and other things on the counter like all of the web sites say to do, but I can’t stand the smell of fermenting beans/nuts, especially, if I’m going to be eating them.  Rinsing can’t take away my memory.  I will still have to eat them.  Soaking them for 24 hours in the refrigerator, stops the smell and still starts the sprouting.  –Be sure to use distilled water or at least don’t use chlorinated water.
2.  Sprout them in a bag.  I have used the canning jar method with much success.  But they do eventually mold, because there isn’t enough air flow.  Use a bag and hang it above your sink.  It will almost dry out before the next soak and no mold!  –I will have directions on making your own sprout bag later.
3.  Use fresh organic beans, seeds and nuts.  The beans seem to last the longest.  My mung beans lasted years and still sprouted just fine.  But the alfalfa sprouts were a different story.  They had a rancid smell and then only a few spouted.  I tried them because I didn’t remember what they were suppose to smell like.  You will know what I mean if you ever smell broccoli.  I got some new alfalfa and it smells fine.  I hear it is best to keep the seeds in the refrigerator.  I must agree.  Nuts are also sensitive to time.  If you are going to keep them very long, just keep them in the refrigerator.

Sprouts in the Bag

Sprouts in the Bag

Directions for Sprouting

  1. Buy raw, organic seeds, nuts or beans.
  2. Soak them in non chlorinated water in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.  Be sure to put at least twice as much water in the container.
  3. Pour the water and the seeds/nuts/beans into a sprouting bag.
  4. Dunk the sprouting bag in water for 10 seconds.
  5. Hang the sprouting  bag over the sink.  I use the cup holders that twist into cabinets  to hang my bags.  They work great and will be easy to patch if we ever move.
  6. Each day soak the bags in water for 10 seconds, twice a day.  If it is extra dry where you live, you may have to soak them three times a day.  The bags will feel almost dry on the outside before you soak them.
  7. Different beans have different sprout times.  The mung beans take 4-5 days to sprout.  Lentils take 3 days, unless you want the green leaves on top.  The rule of thumb is that the tail should be the size of the bean.  Most people like the green leaves on the seed sprouts, like alfalfa.
  8. When the spouts are ready to harvest.  I place a colander in a larger bowl, fill it with water, and dump the sprouts in the colander.  Be sure they are covered with cold water.  Gently swish the sprouts around.  If some of the skins float to the top, scoop them off and though them out.  Pick up the colander and drain the sprouts.
  9. Place the cleaned sprouts in a clean canning jar with a lid, and place them in the refrigerator.
  10. Rinse the sprouts every two days.  They will continue to grow a little even in the refrigerator.  Don’t wait too long to eat them.
Loving Sprout Salad

Loving Sprout Salad

Eastern Sprout Dressing:
1 tsp raw sugar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp Sesame seed oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp oil
Mix all of the ingredients together.

Eastern Bean Sprout Salad:
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup carrots (shredded)
1 Tbsp cilantro, fresh
Eastern Sprout Dressing to taste
(It is also great with baked fish mixed into it.)

*So far my favorite sprouts are alfalfa and mung seeds.  They are easy (3-4 days), have a mild flavor and a nice crunch.
* If  the bag is stained, soak it in a bowl of warm water with a squirt of soap and 1/4 cup of vinegar.