Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Sprouting 101

(This is a post from March 28, 2008 that I thought I'd bump after a conversation about sprouting earlier today.)

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to fix myse
lf up a batch of something I used to have on hand almost constantly up until just a few years back. I decided to try my hand at sprouting again. I popped over to the local health food store to load up on some extra organic Speerville Flour Mill kamut and spelt berries--grains I usually boil or steam to eat instead of rice, or throw into the bread machine with any old bread recipe ingredients to make a really chewy and nutty-tasting bread (with a really crunchy crust).

I don't use a store-bought sprouter, although if I were making sprouts for more than one person (or decided to up my own sprout intake significantly), I'd consider it for the sake of convenience. A simple clean Mason jar does the trick for me right now, though, providing me with enough sprouts to throw into a couple of salads or stir fries. A second Mason jar to sprout something different might be useful, too, though. So? Here's the scoop on everything you could possibly want to know about sprouting. I'm not going to go over every facet of it here, since there are bunches and bunches of other places online where you can go to find sprouting FAQs that aren't commercial sites like the one to which I just Iinked, which is actually really easy to navigate and has a lot of usable info for low-tech sprouting.

Make sure that your hands and sprouting tools are clean whenever contact is made with the sprouts, incidentally. And ensure that the grains (or other things) you sprout are clean and have been stored well before you use them. There are indeed safety concerns revolving around sprouts that haven't been stored or handled properly.

Here's the My Face Is on Fire crash course: Take around a half cup of a mixture of ka
mut and spelt berries (I've read that spelt doesn't sprout particularly well, although I've had no issues with it--you may want to stick to kamut or something else for your first try at sprouting). Take a bunch of grains and pick out the broken or discoloured ones. Rinse the grains off in a colander and place in a jar. Add 2-3 times the amount of water (so, a cup to a cup and a half) and let the jar sit overnight. In the morning, check to see if any grains are floating on top and if so, press down on them to see if they'll sink. If anything's still floating, pick it out, then rinse your sprouts well over the sink, saving the water for later for your garden or houseplants. Wrap a layer of cheesecloth over the jar's mouth and tip the jar to let the water out. I tend to keep the jar tilted mouth-downward with the cheesecloth on it and kept in place with a rubber band to ensure that there's no water left in the jar, which could cause spoiling. You can rinse and drain them once or twice a day at 8-12 hour intervals and they should be ready in around three days. You can sprout them for a longer period, as long as you keep rinsing and draining them--they're alive! Here's an "Instructable" on how to grow sprouts, just to show you how easy it really is.

There are a zillion other things you can sprout successfully--all kinds of grains, nuts, seeds and beans. Soaking and sprouting times vary accordingly and some sprouts st
ore well in the fridge, while others don't. Remember that Google is your best friend! Once you figure out what to sprout,you'll be burdened with figuring out what to do with them, because the possibilities are plentiful. I like to sprinkle 'em on salads, throw them in wraps or sandwiches, add them to stir fries/casseroles/soups or use them when baking hearty bread or rolls. You can even make sprout cereal, hot or cold, or sprouted "oatmeal". It's all trial and error, baby!

(Listening to: A Vegan Freak podcast while taking photos in me kitchen.)


Vanilla Rose said...

The tomatoes look great. I saw the picture and wanted to eat tomatoes.

Jérôme François Falcon-Guay said...

I love sprouts. I grow them virtually all the time. My favorite are alfalfa, lentil, pea and mungbean sprouts.