The winter season is an essential part of our growing cycle. When else can the soil rest and restore and build up nutrients for the coming growing seasons? Just because your garden isn’t providing you with vegetables doesn’t mean you can’t grow your own inside. Sprouting is a cheap, simple way to add extra nutrients to your meals in the winter.
There are myriad instructional videos online that teach the basics of sprouting. I recommend watching a couple to see which process fits your lifestyle best. I prefer to use jars, topped with either cheese cloth or a screen lid. This makes rinsing quick and easy. Some good sprouts to start with: sunflower seeds, broccoli, lentils, garbanzo beans and alfalfa. Alfalfa seeds are often the more dangerous homegrown sprouts due to their susceptibility to salmonella. A tip from local sprout expert Laird Maxwell, of Maxwell Gardens: rinse alfalfa sprouts with hydrogen peroxide daily to kill off any harmful bacteria.
The general process for sprouting seeds is:
1) soak seeds overnight in filtered water;
2) drain and rinse seeds;
3) place seeds in a jar and cover with a paper towel or cheesecloth (or if you get really into it you can buy metal mesh tops for jars);
4) Every morning rinse the seeds in the jar, ensuring that all the water drains out;
5) When the shoots are ¼-1/2 inch long, place the jar in the refrigerator and eat them as you wish! They’ll continue to grow slowly inside the fridge. Just be sure to eat them within a few days of placing them there.