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Sprouts is a terrific source for certified organic seeds intended for home sprouting. Dress up salads, stir-fry, sandwiches, spreads, and other dishes with homegrown sprouts of all kinds. Follow this link to order your sampler or to find home sprouting kits.


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Posts Tagged ‘bean sprouts’

Grow Alfalfa Sprouts

On the fourth morning after starting my alfalfa seeds, the sprouts have filled the jar and are ready for harvest.

On Friday, I harvested my small kitchen garden. In my last two posts I related the steps I took to start a very small kitchen garden in my house: I rinsed alfalfa seeds, soaked them overnight, and set them to sprout in a kitchen cabinet. Then, I posted photos here to show how things were going.

By Thursday, my only sprout-related news was that I continued to rinse and drain the sprouts, and they were obviously still growing… not compelling enough to prompt a report. On Friday morning, it appeared my sprouting jar was full; the sprouts had grown so much that they were pushing against—and even through—the fabric covering the jar.

Three tablespoons of alfalfa seeds expanded to fill the pint jar in which I started them. I had to shake them out much as you do the contents of a can of jellied cranberries on Thanksgiving (apologies to non-US residents who have never seen jellied cranberries on Thanksgiving–please visit us in November, and we’ll show you). A small number of seeds didn’t sprout; I picked those out for the compost bucket.

So, I removed the lid from my sprouting jar and dumped the sprouts onto a plate. It took a lot of shaking because the sprouts were wedged tightly into the sprouting jar. I gently broke the jar-shaped clump of sprouts apart and spread it on the plate, then I left the plate where indirect sunlight would encourage the sprouts to turn green. In a few hours, I decided the sprouts were drying out, so I dumped them into a clear plastic bag to keep them moist.

Alfalfa Sprout Harvest

At lunch time on Friday, I cooked a handful of fresh alfalfa sprouts into an omelet with provolone cheese. The sprouts added a little crunch along with a curiously nutty/spicy flavor. Sadly, the omelet didn’t win me over to sprouts. I got a real kick out of growing the sprouts, but I’m not excited about eating them. I’ll try to develop a taste for sprouts what with how good they are for me… and because I can grow them indoors easily during winter. I’ll bake some into bread this weekend, and I’ll try some other types of sprouts to learn whether any are so tasty I’ll look forward to eating them.

Please help me learn to love eating sprouts. Leave a comment describing your favorite use of them.

My havested alfalfa sprouts green up a bit before I put them in the refrigerator. I made an omelet with provolone and a handful of sprouts; it was OK, but I’d prefer to find other ways to use sprouts.

I hope you’ll give sprouts a try. Here are a few things I learned:

Use a Bigger Jar, or use Less Seed

Three tablespoons of alfalfa seeds were too many for a pint jar. Were I to do this again, I’d use only two tablespoons of seeds… or I’d put four tablespoons of seeds in a quart jar.

Check out seedpeople

My friend Robin Wedewer who writes the Bumblebee Garden Blog) put me on to a web site called Sprout People. Please have a look. They’ve been selling seeds for sprouting on the web for years. They have a great selection, a lot of great information about sprouting, and low prices.


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Alfalfa Sprouts Update

36 hours after I rinsed my alfalfa seeds and set them to sprout, young shoots had already emerged.

In my last post, I introduced my newest small kitchen garden: a canning jar of damp alfalfa seeds. To encourage you to get started with sprouts, here’s an update.

I rinsed my alfalfa seeds and set them soaking on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, I poured off the water, rinsed the seeds, and poured off all the water. Then I set the sprouting jar top-down on a plate in my kitchen cabinet. I repeated the rinsing and draining at 2:00 PM on Tuesday and again at bedtime. When I rinsed the seeds on Wednesday morning, they had sprouted! The photo at right reveals several tender shoots.

As I started to write this update near bedtime on Wednesday, I rinsed the seeds again and took another photo—the second one in this post. The sprouts are long enough that they’re intertwining. At this rate, they’ll be ready to harvest in another day or two!

My alfalfa sprouts after 48 hours. The young sprouts more than doubled in length in just 12 hours.

Instant Small Kitchen Garden

Sprout-growing has already proven more satisfying than I’d hoped. I get enormous satisfaction from growing food. And, while I’d rather grow tomatoes, peas, spinach, and lettuce, it’s quite a rush to “plant” something that emerges and is ready to eat in less than a week!

As I embarked on this sprouting adventure, I’ve been tickled by a factoid that may not be common knowledge: Alfalfa, this oh-so-popular salad additive, is horse food. Other popular sprouts are also horse food: people shopping for hay are usually pleased to find bales that include timothy, alfalfa, and clover. If, as a kid I’d been told that some day I’d grow alfalfa to feed myself, I’d have most likely rolled my eyes dismissively. Knowing I used to feed alfalfa to my horses has added a bit to the amusement factor of growing sprouts.

My sprout garden has given me a lift. Find step-by-step instructions in my last post to start your own sprout garden. Go ahead, give it a try.


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Sprout A Super Small Kitchen Garden

A wide-mouth pint canning jar, a band (or a rubber band), and seeds are all you need to start a very small kitchen garden in your kitchen.

I keep hearing from people who are doing spring planting in their small kitchen gardens. Folks on the US Pacific coast, down into the southwestern states, and across to the gulf states are either laying out garden beds or planting spring crops. Since hearing this makes my teeth grind at night, I’m starting an indoor gardening project that every cold-frustrated gardener can handle with minimal inconvenience: growing sprouts.

When I was a kid, bean sprouts were an amazing innovation acquired from Chinese cooking and popularized by people referred to as the crunchy granola set. Today, bean sprouts have become a minor subset of an expanding sprout-growing culture. Even in rather pedestrian grocery stores you can find bean sprouts, clover sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, and maybe even broccoli sprouts. In specialty grocery stores you might find a dozen types of sprouts.

Put three tablespoons of alfalfa seeds in a jar, rinse them thoroughly, then cover them with water and let them soak overnight. I used a chopstick to stir the seeds as I rinsed them; swirling might have worked as well.

More Winter Relief

Before spring, I anticipate no more escape from the cold of winter. So, I’m going to grow some sprouts. Sadly, I’m not a big fan of sprouts, but I trust that growing something fresh—anything I can eat—will help get me through the next seven weeks (whereupon we’ll talk about pruning and grafting apple and pear trees).

I’ve never grown my own sprouts, but I’ve seen it done. And, anticipating this urge, I bought a little bag of alfalfa seeds at a natural foods store about two months ago. Here’s how it’s going down:

To hold the cloth cover on your sprout jar, use a band designed to hold on a canning lid. Alternatively, a rubber band or an elastic hair band can do the job.

A Simple Small Kitchen Garden

I used a clean, one pint canning jar. I also used the lining from an old swimsuit that never quite fit me; it’s a tightly-woven elastic net that lets water through quickly, but retains even very small seeds. You can use nylon pantyhose or stockings, cheesecloth, or some other non-toxic material you find around the house.

Here is a sprout garden planted and ready to sit for 8 to 12 hours before its next rinsing. I’ve leaned the jar on a chopstick so residual water can drain away from the seeds.

I put about a half inch of seeds into the canning jar—that’s three tablespoons of seeds—and rinsed them four times. To rinse, I filled the jar two-thirds with water, stirred vigorously with a chopstick, then gently poured off as much water as possible without losing seeds. Finally, I filled the jar halfway with water, and set it in the middle of the dining room table.

The next morning I stretched the swimsuit liner across the top of the jar and held it in place with a canning band. I poured off the water and rinsed the seeds two or three times. Then I poured off all the water and left the seeds in a kitchen cabinet (where it’s dark). I’ll rinse the seeds again around noon, and pour off the water. Before I go to bed, I’ll repeat this rinse cycle… and I’ll go three times a day for four or five days. For the truly lazy gardener, I understand that rinsing only in the morning and the evening will work just fine.

Get a sampler of seeds certified for home sprout gardens. This set includes alfalfa, mung bean, broccoli, green lentil, clover, buckwheat, radish, and salad greens. Click here to get started today.

In four days I expect there will be healthy sprouts in the jar. I’ll set it in a south-facing window so the sprouts green up a bit, and I’ll keep rinsing for another day or two. Finally, I’ll either eat the sprouts, or put them in the refrigerator; they’ll keep for several days in the fridge until I’m ready to eat them.

You Go Too

Could this be easier? I don’t think so. Will it work? It worked for my crunchy granola friends in the 70s. Here are some important tidbits:

  • Many types of seeds will do. Try these: alfalfa, clover, broccoli, radish, mung beans, garbanzo beans, lettuce, spinach, peas. Different sprouts have distinctively different flavors.
  • Get seeds certified for home sprouting; apparently some seeds have come with salmonella, and people have gotten sick from eating raw sprouts. If you have any doubt about your seeds’ origins, you can still sprout them, but cook the sprouts before you eat them! There’s more information here.
  • If mold appears on your sprouts, don’t eat them. Mold is more likely to grow in a humid environment—which you create when you start sprouts. But in the dry winter air, there’s less likely to be mold spores drifting through. I’ll let you know if mold becomes a problem for me.
  • Use sprouts in salads, sandwiches, spreads, stir-fry, breads… be creative.

Growing sprouts is a simple project that takes very little space, so get started! I expect to set up a new batch of seeds every five-to-seven days at least until I can work in my outdoor garden. For the rest of the winter, sprouts will be my small kitchen garden. I’ll post an update in a few days with a picture of my alfalfa babies.

Here are links to other articles about growing sprouts:

  • Living Healthy Life: Growing Sprouts – You can take a whole array of expensive vitamin supplements and still not get the nutritional bbenefits/b that these very inexpensive additions to your diet will provide. b…/b. Read more: Living Healthy Life: Growing Sprouts.

  • » Joy of growing Sprouts and Microgreens – Joy of growing Sprouts and Microgreens. Search. Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox. Posted on October 4, 2008 at 2:28 pm. Joy of growing Sprouts and Microgreens. I LOVE to eat sprouts. More than that I love to SEE sprouts. …

  • The Easiest Vegetable Garden Anyone Can Grow Anywhere, Anytime! – … I think I may just need to go make another St. Jude’s tuna sandwich with my next batch of fresh broccoli sprouts! For additional reading:. Sprouts for Your Health; Risks Associated with Sprouts; Growing Sprouts for Your Health.


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