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Sprouts from beans, peas, etc., are ready earlier and can be eaten when they are 3-6 days old, depending on type of sprout. For spouts grown in no soil or in seed trays, you can harvest green "grass" when it starts to grow. Sprouts, from grain sown in jars, are ready sooner and are edible even before they turn green. Seeds sown in soil take a little longer.
If necessary, wash sprouts thoroughly to remove seed coat. Sprouts need to be stored in refrigerator once they are ready to eat. Put sprouts in tight sealing bags, and they will remain flavorful and crisp for one to two weeks. Rinsing sprouts daily under cold water can extend their life.
Sprouts may be frozen by blanching them over steam for three minutes and then cooling them in ice water. Drain them and pack into freezer containers.
- Some of Kinds of Seeds/Beans You Can Sprout -
The following list gives some of popularly sprouted seeds/beans. It is not all inclusive as you can sprout almost any kind of seed. Remember that seeds soak up 2-3 times their dry volume in water and sprouts need at least six times volume occupied by seeds. So be sure that your container is large enough, and start with a minimal amount of seed in a container like a jar, until you determine correct quantity that will grow to sprout size you like, without being difficult to remove.
Your local garden shop or health food store will carry a line of seeds for sprouting. When purchasing seeds for sprouting, be certain that seeds are intended for food and not for planting. This precaution is necessary because some seeds meant for planting have been treated with fungicides or insecticides to protect young seedlings when planted in a field or garden.
Alfalfa - should be soaked for 6-12 hours. The seeds can be planted in pots or jars and also in flats with soil. 1-part seed gives 10-parts sprouts in approximately 5-6 days. Sprouts can be eaten after 3 days. When root is 1-2 inches long, it will begin to develop tiny green leaves. At this stage, it needs to be eaten immediately so plant will not switch to photosynthesis that exhausts stored food in seed.
Peas - when soaked in a glass jar, will grow sprouts in about 3 days. When roots are 2-inches long, they are ready to eat. 1-part peas gives 2-parts sprouts.
Lentils - can be grown in either a glass jar or a plant pot and need to be soaked for 12-hours. The sprouts are ready in 3-4 days. Lentil sprouts are ready to be eaten when root is 1-inch long. 1-part lentils gives 6-parts sprouts.
Barley, Oats, and Rye - should be soaked for 12-hours and then can either be grown as "grass" to harvest, or sprouts ready to eat after 3-4 days. The ideal length for eating is about 1/2-inch. 1-part seed gives 2-parts sprouts.
Soybeans - can be grown in a glass jar or a pot. They need to be soaked for 12-hours and sprouts are usually ready after 3-5 days. They are ready to eat when root is 2-inches long. 1-part beans gives 4-parts sprouts.
Mung Beans - after soaking for 12-hours, these beans can be grown by any method. Mung beans are most commonly grown sprouts and are usually ready to eat after 3-5 days. When bright, white root grows from 1-2 inches long, they are ready to eat. 1-part beans gives 4-parts sprouts.
By growing your own sprouts, you will save yourself money because it is less expensive to buy sprout seeds and grow and harvest sprouts yourself, than it is to buy sprouts from a market. Sprouting at home takes only a few minutes a day, and can produce a good part of your daily requirements of nutrients you need from fresh produce. The hassles are minor, costs are low, and freshness is wonderful.
Jeremy is the owner and publisher of Organic News. Go to www.ge-free.com for all the latest organic food articles and news.