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Sprouting Seeds at Home

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Nutrition
Sprouting seeds is a fast and easy way to get fresh food, even during the winter months. They also carry plenty of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes. And above all, they taste great!

You can sprout many kinds of seeds, including alfalfa, various beans, pea, red clover, broccoli and radish. Just make sure you buy seeds meant for sprouting, or at the very least certified organic seeds, since seeds meant for planting could be contaminated with bacteria.

No expensive material is needed to get started. You only need a glass jar, some cheesecloth, a rubber band, fresh water and of course some seeds. To sterilize your jar, soak it for 10 to 20 minutes in a solution of one tablespoon of bleach and a pint of water. Drain the bleached water and scrub well.

To start growing your sprouts, you need to soak the seeds first. Put one or two tablespoons of seeds (depending on the size of the seeds) in the jar. Cover with the cheesecloth and secure with the rubber band, add some water and swirl to clean the seeds. After that, drain the water and add one cup of fresh water. Prop the jar at an angle in a bowl so the water drains. Let the seeds soak overnight.

The next day, empty the water and rinse with fresh water. Drain the water and put them back in their spot. Do that twice a day. In three to six days, your sprouts should be ready, at about one or two inch. The best way to know if they are ready is to taste them!

When they are ready, expose them to the sun for a few hours to green, rinse off the hulls and drain. Put them in a plastic container and store in the refrigerator once they are dry. If the sprouts are big enough, you can use a salad spinner to dry them. Sprouts from small seeds can keep fot almost a week, while sprouts from bigger seeds can keep for about four days.

Now that your sprouts are ready, how to eat them? They can be used instead of lettuce in sandwiches, tacos, hamburgers and hot-dogs. They are also a great addition to salads, soups and vegetable or Chinese dishes. You can even try to add half a cup of sprouts per loaf in your homemade bread for a more nutritious loaf. Just use your imagination!