Wednesday food post (Sprouting)

When I proposed the idea to have a weekly post about my food adventures/thoughts, I thought it would be met with a bit of a grumble (or more likely silence)… don’t I go on and on enough about this stuff?! I figured it would be fun for me, and definitely a good way to track my progress. However, I found that people jumped right in, and I even had my first request! I can’t tell you how happy it made me to read the comments left last week, mostly talking about ways in which we can reconnect to our food. I really feel like we’re on the verge of a food revolution. It’s invigorating, and I’m so honored to be in contact with so many original thinkers, so many smart people doing what they can… it’s a good time to be alive, I think! 

And so, for this weeks installment, I’ll share a bit about my adventures with sprouting. It’s hard figuring out how to dedicate a whole food post to these little green babies… but I’ll do my best.

I started sprouting… a few months back? I ordered some green stackable sprouting trays and got some sprouting seeds from my local coop. I had heard of doing it in quart-sized mason jars with some cheese cloth, but at the time most of my quart jars were in use, and I was interested in a certain output- I wanted LOTS of sprouts for the winter. The stackable trays are really good for giving you a larger quantity, and they fit so well in a kitchen cupboard! Anyway. I started sprouting. It turned out to be ridiculously easy. You soak your seeds overnight, then scatter them in the trays. Then you rinse 2-3 times a day (maybe more if the weather is really hot, but I haven’t had to deal with that yet), and let them be for a few days. When they develop little leaves, I uncover them and set them on my kitchen counter, to "green up" (the leaves develop a bit and get some color). Then I rinse off as much of the remaining hulls as I can and refrigerate the finished sprouts. Then I start my next batch. Finished!

I’m definitely not done learning, though. If I suffer in any area, it’s forgetting to rinse the sprouts for a day or two. Although, even then I can usually salvage them. I’ve taken to writing "RINSE SPROUTS" on my board and then I at least see it when I’m on my way out the door… Also, I have not had much luck with sunflower seeds- I think I have to use the unhulled kind. They get kind of… slimy and gross. However, sunflower shoots (if you’ve ever had them) are AWESOME, and make a much more complete salad than these little "salad mixes" I’ve been sprouting (usually just a mix of lentils, radish seed, broccoli, etc.). In the next few weeks I want to experiment with bigger, crunchier sprouts like mung beans, and even some microgreens I can grow on my windowsill. Oh… I’m excited about microgreens.

I have to say, sprouting has really fulfilled my expectations. Doing this local food thing is great. It’s really infused our diet with a lot of variety, oddly enough, because we have to creatively use and stretch what food we have. Although, I have to say, I do miss the freshness of on-demand veggies and salads. Oh what I would give for a grapefruit… That’s just my pregnant brain I think. However, it still stands, by February you want some GREEN. We’re still using greens out of the freezer, but it’s just not the same. I throw sprouts on sandwiches, on top of soup, anywhere. The other day I made a great local-food salad with homemade sauerkraut, sprouts, shredded carrot, some raisins, and a lemon-yogurt-curry dressing. So nice. Sprouts have really been a good way for me to infuse my diet with some great living food in the dead of winter. I don’t see myself stopping this practice any time soon.

The other thing about sprouts that’s really important to remember is that they are alive! So much of our modern diet is just… wrong. Dead, refined, processed, additive-laden… I mean, should I go on? We’ve also become really paranoid in terms of food safety (although this is likely a good thing because quality has gone out the window) and begun pasteurizing and killing all the living components of the food we used to eat. Our diets used to be richly probiotic and nutrient-dense, but now they just look kind of bland to me. Dead and bland. Not to mention that most people are severely addicted to sugar/refined foods and have lost their natural tastes for these more nutritious foods. Anyway, sprouts are kind of amazing- they are incredibly rich in nutrients, high in antioxidants, easily digested, and help to clear the body of toxins. Everyone should be sprouting, I think.

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