Have you ever had sprouts? You know, those green, stringy, crispy things that come on top of a sandwich… or the white, thin, birthday-candle-like things that come with your pad thai? Well, today I am going to teach you how to grow sprouts, right in you own kitchen.
(you know, like these!)
I have been growing sprouts in the winter for my chickens to give them some extra fresh food during the winter months. I have read on a number of chicken blogs that, from a chicken feeding perspective, it does make their feed last a bit longer (Interested in learning what I feed my chickens? Check out my post on what do backyard chickens eat).
And, spouts are super nutritious. Since they are growing from whole grains, lentils, or peas, you are getting a lot of yummy fiber, protein, and all of the nutrients that come from that seed.
Now, let me preface this by saying a few things about sprouts. One, I am certainly a sprout-growing beginner. And, I am growing them for my chickens. However, I know that many folks grow sprouts for their own food and enjoy them! Also, both commercial and home grown sprouts can come with some food safety concerns. The according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, sprouts are subject to harmful bacteria, so the following groups of people should avoid eating raw sprouts: children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems. However, the website does say that cooking spouts can kill the bacteria, so if you really like spouts, cook away and enjoy!
Ok, with those disclaimers out of the way…
Let’s talk about how to grow sprouts.
Step 1. Buy whole grains. I have been using whole, organic barley grains to grow my sprouts. You can use alfalfa, mung beans, lentils, quinoa, or wheat berries. Really, anything that is a seed will work. Experiment and enjoy by going to the bulk grain and legume section of your grocery store.
Step 2. Gather your equipment. All you need to grow sprouts (besides seeds and water) is a mason jar with a ring lid (the kind that has a cap and an outside lid to screw on), and some window screen. I am currently using 8 ounce mason jars and some (clean) window screen I found in my garage. Cut the window screen so that it can cover the mouth of your mason jar, and fit the lid over the top of the screen, like this:
You can also buy special mason jar screens online. But, if you can get ahold of window screen, that might be less expensive and it works just fine.
Step 3. Soak your grains overnight. To start, fill your mason jar about 1/3 of the way with seeds and then 2/3 of the way with fresh water. You can store your soaking seeds on the window sill with the mason jar cap and lid tightly screwed on. Some folks add a little bit of vinegar to sterilize the jar.
Step 4. Rinse and drain your seeds. After soaking overnight, your seeds are primed to sprout! Take the cap and lid off of your mason jar. Replace the cap with your screen, and screw the ring lid over the screen. then, drain your seeds, rinse with water, and drain again. You want to keep your seeds as dry as you can on the window sill. Some folks even turn their mason jars to the side on the sill to maximize the drying process.
Step 5. Rinse and drain your seeds every 12 hours for 3-7 days. Repeat the rinse-and-drain process for 3-7 days. Your seeds will begin to sprout after about two days, and you can just let them grow until they’ve reached your preferred length (for me, an inch or two is perfect).
Step 6. Refrigerate your sprouts. Take your sprouts out of your mason jar and store them in a storage baggie with a paper towel for a few days.
Step 7. Enjoy your sprouts! There are many ways to enjoy the delicious goodness of sprouts. From adding them to salad or sandwiches, mixing them into an pasta dish (like pad thai), or simply enjoying them as a snack (like my chickens do).
PS: I have been letting three jars of sprouts grow, starting them a couple of days apart, so that I always have sprouts growing to give to the royal flock.
PPS: As with any food, don’t eat your sprouts (or feed them to chickens) if they appear moldy or smell funky.
How do you like to eat spouts?
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