Tuesday, February 21

Sprouting: The Most Fantacstically Exciting and Terribly Boring Post Ever.

No big story today. I just did something that I've been wanting to do for a while. I grew my own sprouts. I bet you a bunch of money that you could grow sprouts with what you have in your kitchen right now, without buying a single thing. (ok, so I'm not really as reckless as that. But really, I bet you could.) The biggest problem for me was keeping clean counter space all week long amidst canning beans...

I can't say that I use sprouts all the time, or even a lot. I can't even say I remember the last time I bought sprouts. Neither can I say I thought the cost of buying them was justifiable even when I did, I'm sure I got them on a super duper sale day at Market Square. It's even less justifiable when I consider what I know now. Now that I know how easy it is to grow sprouts, I'm going to be eating them more and I'll never buy them again.

Actually though, they probably were worth the cost. I'm smart. I looked on wikipedia, and googled it (links provided below). And if you just want to pay for good quality food, that's alright, pay away. I had heard before, but know better now that they are really good for you. They are a cancer fighting, anti oxidant rich, power-packed, super-food. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Sprouting seeds simply takes the nutrient rich heart of the seed (the endosperm) and transfers it into something edible and delicious, all the while adding to the endosperm's super power by making a baby plant that is eaten whole. If you want more information on their health benefits (cause I'm really not a health fanatic missionary) look here.

My favorite way to use sprouts has always been in a sandwich. I'm a sandwich person. Though off my head I can think of other ways:  wraps, spring rolls, salads, stir fries.  But I'm excited to find new ways, scrumptious ways, to adopt into my kitchen. This is a more extensive list of ways you can use them.

You can sprout pretty much any seed. However some seeds are deemed inedible or unsafe for human consumption. Tomatoes, peppers, oats (at least raw). But most edible plants with edible raw leaves or seeds have edible sprouts. One of the biggest problems with Sprouts though is actually in the ease of their growth. If they aren't well taken care of or exposed to contaminants, they harbor lots of bugs that are dangerous to eat (not actual insects, but bacteria). If you've ever been paranoid about buying spinach or tomatoes with the constant Salmonella breakouts in the last few years you should know that Sprouts have been just as big of a problem. All the more reason to grow them yourself.

Which brings me to the very reason I decided to try sprouting them myself. I recently found a most excellent resource. His name is Mike Leiberman and he is one smart guy. You may have seen him or read about him in an number of places. He has all sorts of creative ways to simplify the art of growing your own food and to do it in amazingly small spaces. He makes me feel like my 1/4 acre is a farm. And I like that because it's what I imagine it to be anyway. Here is his post on growing sprouts. I followed it in a very basic sort of way.

The gist is you take some beans or seeds or grains (I used lentils) and soak them in water overnight in a jar with some nylon or cheesecloth tied on the top (tied with string, a rubber band, a bottle ring etc.) then in the morning dump the water out. Rinse with clean water and drain. Then let it all sit there on your counter top for a few days. Rinse them in the same way a couple times a day until they sprout. Then you eat them. That's it.

The only thing you have to do to make sure they are safe is not leave them around raw meat, cover them like instructed, and rinse them twice a day. I actually didn't cover mine. They did awesome, but probably wouldn't have if it were summertime.

And there you have it. An extraordinary leap for one kitchen makes a terrifyingly long post for someone who, well, doesn't want to grow sprouts...Lol.


Lisa and Andy said...

I will give this a try. My favorite are sunflower seed sprouts!

Evelyn said...

You're awesome. I've never tried my own sprouting (for eating, anyway) because I was afraid of the unsafe consumption. But I never learned more about it. Thank you for teaching me!