Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Sprout. What's Your Superpower?

In just a matter of days, these seeds will be sprouts.  Highly nutritious.  Highly delicious.  

I am going to come clean here.  I don't really care about salad greens- or any greens for that matter (save for the super yummy sweet potato greens which are so, so good and versatile)- in the summer.  Don't miss 'em.  Don't crave 'em.  I have a summer fling with sprouts.  Let me introduce you to them:

This jar is where all the magic happens.  This is a wide-mouthed one quart canning jar.  I bought it at Michael's for very little money plus a 40% off coupon.  Instead of the metal disk at the top, I have a few pieces of cheesecloth being held in place with the ring.  This is all you need.  The first thing you do is add sprouting seeds, cover with water and let sit for about 6 hours.  This is what you see happening in the photo above.

After that, you drain the seeds and rinse them well.  You will be left with wet seeds.  Technically, at this point, you should keep your jar inverted so the excess water drains out.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  I would say it happens fifty percent of the time around here.  That's all you do the first day.

This is what you'll find the next morning.  See the tiny white shoots starting to grow?  Sprouts, baby!  At this point, you want to rinse and drain your sprouts twice a day.  Again, the jar should be inverted to allow the excess water to run out.  You can see I've done that here.  NOT.

This is what you will find the next morning.  It's a little harder to see.  As the sprouts grow larger, they hold more water around them and clump together clouding the photo.  Again, rinse twice a day and keep going.  By day three or day four, they will be ready for your favorite veggie sandwich.  Once they look like sprouts, they are sprouts and you are good to go.  At that point, I stop rinsing mine, remove the cheesecloth and replace the solid disk and store the whole jar in the refrigerator.  I use my sprouts or compost them by day 10.  I don't hang on to them any longer than that.  You know me.  A stickler for rules and all that...

A note about seeds:  If you are lucky like I am, you have a few places where you can buy organic sprouting seeds.  To me, organic is key here.  Most likely, you are eating these things raw.  You don't want to mess with anything that is not organic.  I bought Mumm's Sprouting SeedsBotanical Interests also sells sprouting seeds, all of which are organic.  Sprout People is also an excellent resource with lots of gadgetry available for purchase in addition to seeds.  You know how I feel about gadgets!  Bring it!  At any rate, a quick stop at a local health food store (not GNC) should put you on your way if you have any trouble.

Finally, you might ask why these are so critical for me during the summer.  For starters, it's really hard to grow salad greens in the Georgia heat.  They bolt or wilt.  Either way, they are unappetizing.  These are salad's understudy.  When the main performer isn't available, you can call on sprouts.  Secondly, these really work with our laid back summer routine.  The kids sleep late which gives me an hour or so by myself to fiddle in the kitchen, tend to the garden or lounge in my favorite chair.  Inevitably, I happen upon the sprout jar and remember to rinse them.  During the hustle and bustle of the school year when it is rush, rush, rush, I often forget to rinse them.  They are still edible and still delicious, but being neglected, I often wonder...

At any rate, get yourself a jar and some cheesecloth or one of those handy dandy reusable (bonus points!) screens and sprout yourself silly.  It's a miniature garden right in your window.  That's pretty super!

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