Out of frugality, I'm constantly looking for new ways to produce tasty, fresh edible things at home. Spending money has quickly become my least favorite things to do (unless it's for a nice frosty glass of beer at a local watering hole) so when the ground that I usually grow food in outside begins to harden, I start to panic. I find that buying store-bought lettuce and the like inspires feelings in me that closely resemble defeat. It's important for me to feel like I'm beating the system in some small way, year round.
So, being the lazybones that I naturally am, I gravitated first towards the simplest and most productive method of indoor growing: Sprouting. It requires only a few items you probably already have at home and some other things you can easily and cheaply acquire from your local natural foods store.
There are many sprouting kits on the market today and truthfully, I find them overpriced and insufficient in the amount of sprouting seed they supply you with. I sprout with probably the most bare-bones method and I've always got a supply of tasty sprouts of a few kinds in the fridge that can be lovingly stacked upon any sandwich or salad. In the end, the costs are a mere fraction of what I would spend on supermarket sprouts and the result is more fresh, flavorful and alive.
To start sprouting, you need the following items:
-a couple of threaded jars about 12 oz or larger
-canning rings that will fit onto the jars
-an old pair of stockings, laundered of course! cut them into pieces that will stretch over the mouth of the jars easily.
-organic seeds, grains or legumes such as radish, broccoli, wheat, rye, lentils or chickpeas. Seeds can be purchased in larger quantities through SproutPeople.com or your local health food store/co-op.
Step 1: Wash the jars in hot soapy water and dry them with a paper towel. This will help eliminate some wild mold spores that you cannot see. Also rinse the stockings well in hot water right before using.
Step 2: Pour enough of the sprouting seed or grain to fill the bottom of the jar, not to exceed about a half-inch. Sprouts expand a lot so if you want to make a bunch, divide them up into several jars.
Step 3: Stretch the stockings over the mouth of the jar as taut as you can and screw the canning ring on over top of it. The result should be a fine mesh screen on the opening of the jar.
Step 4: Fill the jar with water, about 3 times the amount of water than seeds.
Step 5: Let the seeds soak for about 10 hours and then dump the water through the screened lid.
Step 6: Fill the jar with water again and gently swirl around. Dump the water out again. Repeat once more. Be sure to get as much of the excess water out of the jar and then place it in moderately well lit place at about room temperature
Step 7: Repeat step 6 twice a day until sprouts reach the desirable size. This can take anywhere from 3-6 days.
Step 8: Once the sprouts are germinated to the degree you would like, remove them from the jar and rinse them in cold water in a strainer before putting in a plastic bag or tupperware and refrigerating for use.
(Wheatberry and Broccoli Sprouts. Wheat sprouts have a sweet, milky flavor while Broccoli sprouts have a cabbage-y, zippy taste.)
Sprouts will last about a week and a half or longer. Enjoy them in soups, stir-frys, salads and sandwiches! They are a great source of protein and really easy to grow! Just remember to rinse twice daily during the germination period to prevent mold or bacterial growth.
Now GET SPROUTING!