After almost a full year of curiosity about sprouting, I finally gave it a go last week. Given my limited gardening space, I was really hoping that growing my own sprouts would fill the gap between my wee window-ledge garden and the farm of my fantasies. So I (unnecessarily) bought a sprouter jar at the co-op (I mean, obviously you could just put a piece of screen or mesh or cheesecloth over a regular jar, but whatever I wanted this one) and some mung beans from the bulk aisle.
I think I started with a half cup of mung beans. Or a cup. (I know that's a huge difference, and neither the boy or I can believe that I didn't document it as accurately and neurotically as I do with everything else, nor do I have a picture of just the plain beans in the jar so I can't even guesstimate properly. Listen, it's been a crazy few weeks and I'm impressed that I even started sprouting at all!) So anyway, I put either 1/2 cup or 1 cup of beans in and filled the jar up about half way with water and let them soak overnight.
On Day 1 of official sprouting, I poured out the water in the morning and gave them a rinse. That just means that I filled the jar up with water and then gently overturned it until all of the water dripped out. The sprouting gurus tell me that it is really important to get as much moisture out as you can, to avoid The Mold.
After work I went to give them a second rinse and they already had little baby sprouts! Satisfying.
By Day 2 of sprouting I had already become a firm sprouting advocate, especially as a hobby for impatient people who need immediate results. From what I read, the majority of sprouts are ready to harvest within a week. A lot of them are ready to eat in only 5 days.
Day 5, the harvest. We came back from sister's wedding to a sprout invasion and apartment takeover. I could barely get them out of the jar they were packed in so tightly! I gave them one last rinse and then transferred them to a ziplock and threw 'em in the fridge.
Tips & Thoughts:
- I used mung beans, which are perfect for stir-fries, Asian dishes and on sandwiches and salads.
- You can use mung beans, soybeans, lentils, peas, alfalfa seeds, clover, wheat, barley, rye, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and apparently even broccoli, arugula, flax, cabbage, radish, garlic and onion.
- Here's a great resource for sprouting: Sprout People.
- Sprouts have more nutrients per calorie than any other food. Allegedly. I'm thinking Ben & Jerry's ice cream is a close second.
- Most days, I rinsed the sprouts twice. Once before work and once after work. I think many resources recommend rinsing three times a day for mung beans, but it seemed to work out anyway.
- Keep your sprouts in a relatively dark, cool place. If you are making alfalfa sprouts, they like a few hours of sunlight right before you are about to harvest them.
- I stored my sprout jar on its side, so the little buggers could spread out and drain better.
- Sprouts prefer temps in the 70s-low 80s, just like me. So if it's super hot where you are... um, just take warning.