14 December, 2009

First Sprouting

Hmmm... sprouts !
I've always loved sprouts and have been wanting to experiment with growing my own. One major point holding me back is the mess it creates with trays of soil to be maintained at cool temperatures and watered a couple times a day.

Nonetheless, I'm thinking there might be some way to make this work, so off I go to the library and what should I find but none other than the Sproutman himself, Steve Meyerowitz!

His book Sprouts, The Miracle Food is an absolute treasure of information.

He came up with a way to grow a garden full of green right there in his apartment, using only bamboo baskets and twice a day watering. That's it.

Some advantages to this basket method growing food indoors:
  • extends the growing season to year round
  • enables city dwellers to eat fresh
  • empowers anyone, anywhere with access to food
  • minimum maintenance
  • yields high volume of sprouts
  • no dirt, no bugs, no weeds, no mess
  • no excuse

I started with small amounts of seeds to try my hand.

Tip: Buying sprouting seeds.
In most markets you should find little bags of sprouting seeds. While this is great for some harder to find seeds, be sure to check in the bulk section for organic seeds and grains. These will sprouts just fine too, and are much, much cheaper.

#1. Soak seeds 6-8 hrs or overnight in a jar (depending on the see).

#2. Rinse then pour seeds in bamboo basket. Cover the basket with a plastic bag to create a greenhouse environment.

#3. Rinse morning and evening for about 30 seconds. I use the sink sprayer on a mild setting so as not to disrupt the seeds at first. As the roots grow and they anchor themselves, it won't be a problem.

#4. Watch them grow !

#5. Harvest time! The sprouts are ready when 90% have developed a cleft: 2 petals. Gently pull on the taller sprouts to wiggle them out, roots and all. While still holding, gently whisk the roots in a bowl of water to dislodge the hull. (it's OK to eat the hull -I do a lot)

#6. If done correctly, you should enjoy a second wave of sprouts from less developed seeds that are now receiving more light and will continue growing. Typically, you will get 2 to 3 harvests out of each baskets.

The last two pictures above are from my first try at broccoli and radish sprouts, in that order.
I was amazed at the strength of taste. None of the store bought sprouts I've had ever tasted quite like this. They are incredible. The radish ones definitively add spice to the plate. ;p

Baskets should be void of dyes or varnish of any kind. Bamboo is best if you can find it. I got mine at a thriftstore for nothing. Some grocery stores have them in the kitchen section.

The best thing is to get 2 or 3 baskets going at one time, staggering their harvest time.
Be sure to label each so you remember what's what.
Happy Sprouting !

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