by Vicki Matsumonji, White Mountain Community Garden
It’s December and no garden. Even if you have a greenhouse or protected space for growing winter greens, there’s usually nothing ready to harvest, but if you grow sprouts from grains, beans and seeds, you can still enjoy crunchy, healthy goodness in the middle of winter or all year round.
Sprouting winter greens for sandwiches and salads is healthy, inexpensive, and easy to grow. Some sprout varieties such as broccoli seeds have been found to contain cancer-fighting agents, reduce risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Sprouting seeds is inexpensive and easy to manage. They are usually ready to eat within a week.
Anne Greco, a member of White Mountain Community Garden does a lot of sprouting. She recently demonstrated growing various sprouts at the WMCG Fall Festival in September.
One of the most popular seeds for sprouting is alfalfa, used in salads, garnish and replaces lettuce in sandwiches.
Anne Greco’s Quick and Easy Way To Grow Sprouts
Large wide mouth Mason jars
Sprouting lids are like a sieve for easy drainage. (Can be purchased at health food stores. Or use cheesecloth and rubber band as a lid.)
Seeds — alfalfa, radish (spicy), red clover, broccoli and mung beans are among the most popular sprouting products. It’s best to purchase organic seeds, grains, beans that are specifically for sprouting.
Use clean jars and when handling seeds, keep your hands clean.
Put about 2 teaspoons of seeds in a jar or about 1/3 cup of beans in a jar.
Rinse and drain.
Cover the seeds with water, about an inch above the seeds line.
Soak about 4 to 8 hours. (Anne usually soaks them over night.)
Rinse thoroughly 2 times a day and drain well through the special sieve lid or through cheesecloth lid.
Keep the jars out of direct sunlight, keep them well drained and in a cool place (not the fridge).
The sprouts are usually ready to eat within a week.
Once the sprouts are ready, rinse off the hulls and drain off excess water.
Store the cleaned sprouts in the jar with a paper towel at the bottom to keep them moist but not overly wet. This will ensure longer storage. Sprouts usually last at least a week or longer when kept in the fridge.
Growing sprouts is easy and a great learning experience for youngsters. Sprouts are delicious and nutritious—full of antioxidants and vitamins. There are thousands of recipes for salads, sandwiches, soups, green smoothies and sprouted grains for breads and baked goods.
White Mountain Community Garden is a nonprofit organization with all proceeds supporting our local food needs. It is located on 9th Place in Show Low. For more information, please visit www.wmcgarden.org