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.

Gracie
Gracie

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Comments (20)

  1. lilpeace

    Oooh microgreens look especially delicious. What are they?

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      They’re basically like baby salad greens, from what I understand. You grow them in your window in either soil or these “grow mats” which I have yet to find. I’m still doing research. Then you just cut them when they’re around 3-6 inches and enjoy just like salad! It’s a way of growing some greens that you can’t by sprouting- like arugula or beet greens or whatever you like.

      Reply
  2. david_anderson

    Interesting timing of this post, as I just tried making my first 95% sprouted grain bread today. Flavor is good, texture needs work. I don’t think I can make it in a bread machine either, but I’ll experiment some more.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Oooh! I’m so interested in that- I don’t have a grain grinder yet, so I’m not quite there, but feel free to share about your experience with it.

      Reply
      1. david_anderson

        No grain mill required, I used a food processor. Sprout the grains separately from each other unless the germinate at almost exactly the same rate. When the roots get to be 1/4 inch long, put them in the refrigerator to stop growth until all the types of grain have germinated. You want just barely sprouted grain, not sprouts at the stage that you eat them.

        Then you put them in the food processor, or through a meat grinder to make it into doughy ball. Add yeast and vital wheat gluten if you don’t want it to be really heavy, and some honey for sweetness.

        Like I said, it needs work, so I’m not going to give you my exact non-working recipe yet.

        Reply
        1. Gracie (Post author)

          I’m totally going to experiment with this! How fun. I can’t wait for your official recipe.

          Reply
  3. pagangoat

    I used to sprout all the time. I love garlic/onion sprouts, yum…I really need to get back into the habit. The trays look interesting…all I ever had was little mesh lids for mason jars. Lovely post, looking forward to the next one:)

    Reply
  4. prophetsong

    Yay sprouts! As I’ve said before, you were the one who inspired me to give it a go and its going great! I’m still using the jars at present but have moved on to 2 at a time. This week I did mung beans and little radish. The mung beans were ridiculously easy and I got some beautiful big sprout that looked a lot more natural than the suspiciously uniform ones you can buy in the supermarket! From those I got the basis of 2 delicious dinners: a veggie and sprout stirfy with ginger, soy sauce and a little honey on monday and a yummy sprout and spinach salad dressed in lime juice and olive oil with a baked potato on tuesday. It felt so satisfying to know I’d produced a key part of each meal myself πŸ™‚

    I’m loving these foodie posts! Can you write about homemade yoghurt at some point please? X

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I know, isn’t so easy? It’s so gratifying to be self-sufficient in whatever way you can be. Anyway, you’ve given me confidence to just go buy mung beans this weekend and give them a whirl. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. eatsoylentgreen

    by February you want some GREEN

    very true! sprouts are so good.

    Reply
  6. ladyfaith3

    I want to try that! I am glad you posted. DO you also let Vera help? Would this be fun for kids? I think I will look into trying some of this soon.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I think your girls would be the perfect age for helping. Vera… not so much right now. She really likes to eat them, so that’s good! She mostly just wants to toss the seeds around, so I kind of keep her out of it. Your girls would probably be really good at it, though!

      Reply
      1. ladyfaith3

        I think I will look into it for sure! It looks really fun and if they sprout quickly and we’re able to eat them the kids will feel very involved and enjoy that! I hope to go to the links you posted when the kids nap πŸ™‚ Thanks for posting

        Reply
  7. purerandomness

    Thanks for including the link for the sprouting trays! I really should get into growing them (I LOVE them on salads and in sandwiches, but only ever get them when I go out to eat). Yum yum yum!!

    Also, Happy Birthday Vera and happy birthing day, Grace! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thank you! Good memory! I’m totally enjoying her today. I’ll do a post in her honor soon… πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. 93_millionmiles

    Okay, now I don’t have an excuse to put off my first try with sprouting. I’m going to use the alfalfa seeds that came with the kit this time, although I’d really prefer all the other kinds. This is going to be sweet.

    I have a few years left to figure all of this out, but I’d like to learn how to collect the seeds from my own plants to save for winter sprouting. I’m not a gardener yet and I’ve never even seen seeds on a broccoli or radish plant. Actually, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen broccoli growing out of the ground. Isn’t that so sad?

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Haha, yes it’s sad! It means we didn’t hang out nearly enough in the summer… I’m planning on really focusing on seed saving this year, so you should come learn alongside me. πŸ™‚

      Oh, also, I’ve heard mixed reviews about alfalfa. Apparently it’s really high in some toxin- I forget the name- and I guess sprouting doesn’t get rid of it. I actually read that basically anything is WAY better for you sprouted except for alfalfa… weird. Especially considering how popular a sprout it is. Anyway, I’ll figure it out and get you more info. But yeah, the sprouting seeds at the coop are just by the other bulk foods/spices. I’m sure using the alfalfa this time will be great though- just wanted to be sure to tell you about it.

      What do you think about next Tuesday for coffee?

      Reply
      1. 93_millionmiles

        Yeah, I’ve heard that about alfalfa which is why I’m not surprised that it came with the kit. They’re probably really cheap.

        Tuesday is great. I have all morning open, so just let me know when/where.

        Reply
  9. cknk

    Have you have any problems with funguses or anything?

    How big do you let your lentil sprouts grow? (I’ve only ever sprouted them to a tiny little tail, but now suddenly I’m wondering if I could sprout them till they look like real sprouts.)

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      No problems really- except when I did the hulled sunflower seeds- those got pretty gross.

      I let my lentil sprouts get like the ones in the picture- only I do them in a salad mix, so I want them like that. I plan to sprout grains and lentils and other legumes (to only a little tail, like you mentioned) for cooking, but I’m stalling a bit because it’s experimental for me. I am allergic to various legumes and lentils, but I seem to be okay with pea shoots and lentil sprouts… so I’m going to start experimenting soon. I do sprout beans that I’m not allergic to, sometimes, and only let them get to about a 1/4 inch. But yeah, I guess with lentils you can do longer sprouts and eat them raw.

      Reply

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