My new/old favorite nearly instantly gratifying food trick is making sprouts. I say old, because back in the day when we were wearing tie dye and bellbottoms for the first time and before we realized the nutritional value of sprouts, I used to make sprouts all the time. At the time when I was first married and money was tight, it was an economical choice to add crunch and taste to a newlyweds’ diet of frugality and thrift. Today it’s an easy way to avoid salmonella AND pack a powerful punch to your diet.
Every gardener knows the joy of planting seeds and the thrill of seeing the first little burst of a plant poking its head up through the dirt. It does seem somehow miraculous. Those little sprouts – a radish, a bean plant, a flower bursting forth, are the penultimate symbol of spring. Not unlike pregnancy, they are the expectant and unfettered promise of all that new life will be.
We’re lucky that EMAB’s manufacturing facility is located about 2 miles from Bob’s Red Mill HQ, and we’re frequent visitors. It was in their mothership store that I found packets of organic alfalfa, broccoli, radish and lentil seeds along with a little slotted plastic gizmo that transforms any old wide mouth quart jar into a sprouting machine. That and about 6 days and 15 minutes attention and you’ve got yourself a nutritious salad waiting to be consumed.
Locate a wide mouth quart canning jar. If you can’t find the elegant plastic lid thingie with the slotted holes, a few inches of cheesecloth and a rubber band with a repurposed quart pickle jar work just fine. The sprouts won’t care one whit.
Make sure the jar is cleaned and sterilized, especially if it used to be the delivery system for spaghetti sauce or mayonnaise.
Buy good organic seeds of your choice. I’m fond of mixing and matching all of the above, but if you’re a purist, organic alfalfa, broccoli, clover, radish seeds or lentils are readily available from your local co-op or natural foods market.
Step 1: sprinkle 1 tablespoon of organic seeds of your choice into the jar. Rinse the seeds and let them rest with about ½ qt of warm-ish water overnight.
Step 2: In the morning, rinse the seeds a few more times, drain very well, cover the jar with a dish cloth and let them rest. These babies need darkness to germinate, so give them a minit.
Step 3: That’s pretty much it. Rinse them twice a day for 4-5 days and cover them to ensure darkness.
Step 4: When the sprouts are about 1-1.5 inches long, rinse them again and leave the jar on the windowsill in indirect light so the chlorophyll can develop.
Step 5: Fill a large bowl with fresh cold water and let the sprouts sit for a few minutes in a final rinse, allowing the unsprouted seeds to sink to the bottom. Drain well and store them in the refrigerator with the ventilated top still on the jar to allow them to breathe.
Step 6: Eat ‘em in sandwiches, on salads or even pizza and feel good about being a gardener in your own kitchen.