Sprouts not only taste good, but they are also a great source of vitamins, fiber, protein, anti-oxidants, and enzymes. A sprout is produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can grow from seeds of vegetables, from grains such as buckwheat, and from beans. While Mung beans are perhaps most common source of sprouts, you can also obtain good results from lentils, soybeans and chickpeas just to name a few.
Sprouts can be grown almost anywhere and best part is you only need a few basic supplies to get started. By following a few simple steps, you can receive a continual supply of nutritious sprouts.
While there are several commercial products available to cultivate sprouts, here are three of easiest methods to help you get started.
- Growing Sprouts in Flower Pots -
1. Start with a clean clay or plastic flower pot. Make sure there is a hole in bottom of pot to ensure good drainage. Then place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin in bottom of pot over hole so that seeds/beans cannot fall out.
2. Next, soak seeds or beans overnight and then put them in pot. Remove any that are broken or damaged. Cover plant pot with a dish.
3. Once a day, hold pot under running water for a few minutes. This is to soak seeds/beans thoroughly.
4. Once sprouts begin to show, remove dish and cover pot with a piece of clear plastic wrap to let in light. Place sprouting pot near a window that allows daylight but is not in direct sunlight.
- Growing Sprouts in Trays -
1. Soak seeds or beans overnight. Remove any that are broken or damaged before you begin sprouting process.
2. Select a low, flat dish (like a pie plate) or tray. You can purchase growing trays wherever planting supplies are sold.
3. Next, spread out a 2-inch layer of soil and then sprinkle soaked seeds or beans on top of soil.
4. Cover seeds/beans with four layers of damp newspaper.
5. Cover top of tray with clear plastic wrap.
6. When sprouts start to lift plastic cover, (usually about three days) remove newspaper.
7. Place tray in a window so that light can turn sprouts green. You will need a space to place sprouting tray that receives daylight but is not in direct sunlight.
8. Because thin layer of soil dries out quickly, water twice each day.
9. After about 8-10 days, you will have sprouts tall enough to harvest.
- Growing Sprouts in a Jar -
1. Soak seeds, grains, or beans in lukewarm water overnight in a wide-mouth glass jar. Remove any that are broken or damaged before you begin sprouting process. (Sprouting increases seed volume. 4-tablespoons will be sufficient for a quart size container.)
2. In morning, pour off water in jar and rinse seeds/beans thoroughly.
3. Place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin over mouth of jar. Use a rubber band to hold material securely in place. This makes rinsing easier.
4. To keep sprouts constantly damp, repeat rinsing 2-3 times a day. Remember to drain any excess water because sprouts should not stand in water.
5. Keep jar away from light for first few days.
6. When seeds/beans begin to sprout, (usually about forth day) move jar into light to activate chlorophyll and turn sprouts green.
- Harvesting and Storing Sprouts -
Newly germinated grain, seed, and sprouts, increase in food value in very first period of growth. Grains should be harvested and eaten from when they are six days old until they are 4-5 inches tall. To harvest, just take your kitchen scissors and cut what you need.