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Sprout Growing Guide

Seed sprouts have been grown as a very healthy food for a very long time. When people think of sprouts, many think of the mung bean sprouts in certain Asian dishes. All sprouts start out as seeds. Most seeds can be sprouted and then eaten, and some even taste good.

Some plants like wheat grass, are grown in dirt and then are "mowed". All other sprouts require only clean water and light to grow. Sprout seeds are first soaked in clean water for a few hours. Then they are rinsed with clean water, 2-3 times a day until they are done.

Many sprouts are bitter. Bitter-tasting sprouts taste much better when used they are used as seasoning and/or mixed with other sprouts. Mixing sprouts usually improves their taste as compared to any one kind of sprout. For example, mixing one part radish with two parts alfalfa works very well. It is usually best to mix seeds before you soak them, unless seeds require significantly different soaking times.

Sometimes the seeds in mixes from sprouting stores require different soaking times. For example, adzuki beans can be soaked for 24 hours, while other seeds require just six hours of soaking time. By the time adzuki seeds are ready to drain, the other seeds may be starting to drown.

Seeds for sprouting are cheap, especially when you consider how much they expand when they grow. One can buy sprouting seeds in health stores or web stores. Two web sites I like are Sprouting.com and SproutPeople.com.

Sprouting.com has no shipping charges on big orders, and has great prices. If you pick a medium size, the seeds come in resealable Ziploc bags. If you order either a tiny bag or a big bag, they are not resealable, so use freezer ziploc bags or Tupperware. Sprouting.com is run by Mumms, the seed people.

SproutPeople.com usually (but not always) has higher prices. They have great information on their web site, more variety, and carry better sprouting equipment. It is worth ordering from SproutPeople even if their prices are a bit higher.

There are many ways to grow sprouts. Using a simple plastic device usually makes it easier. A cheap sprouter that works very well is the Sproutamo EasySprout (about $13). It's not perfect because it lets the seeds at the bottom stay too wet.

However the Sproutamo EasySprout is the most convenient sprouting device I have tried so far. As long as you drain seeds very well, it makes great sprouts. I discarded Sproutamo's included small-seed screen. (You have to bump and shake the sprouter a lot with the small screen to get all the water out after rinsing, which makes the screen comes loose.)

Sprouts are always started by soaking them in water. When the seeds are big (such as peas) you can soak them inside a sprouting device like the Sproutamo.

One convenient way to soak tiny seeds is to use a paper disposable cup (or a clean bowl) for 6-12 hours. Then you can put the soaked seeds into the Sproutamo EasySprout, without using Sproutamo's small screen.

After the seeds are soaked, you drain them, and let them grow under light (indirect sunlight or a fluorescent light, they do not need much light). You rinse and drain sprouts two or three times a day until they are ready.

When are sprouts ready to eat? The answer is up to you. As soon as the plants sprout from the seeds, they can be eaten. If you let them grow too long, they may be tough or bitter. Experiment until you find the right grow times. Most sprouts are ready to eat in 2-3 days.

How do sprouts taste? That depends on which seed, how long they grow, and your enjoyment of raw crunchy veggies. Sprouts can be used in cooking such as stews, chili, or as an ingredient for making bread. Adventurous people have used sprouts instead of rice with Thai food.

If you (or your gang) are not going to eat all the sprouts now, they store well for a few days in the refrigerator. You can use one-gallon Ziploc bags to store sprouts in the refrigerator. Also, bags make mixing sprouts easy. Another way to store sprouts short term, is in a disposable paper cup in the refrigerator. You can carry them, eat them on the go, etc.

One must sterilize sprouting equipment between uses. The way I do this (with glass or plastic sprouters) is to use a microwave oven. After cleaning a sprouter by hand, I rinse it with water in the sink. Then, I fill the sprouter half-way with water, or make sure it is wet all over, especially if it is a porous type of sprouter.

Microwave the sprouter for 3-5 minutes to get the water inside very hot, almost boiling. Then dump the hot water carefully, and rinse it with cold, clean water and let it dry. I think this does the job well. Be careful not to let things melt from heat.

Here is a list of sprouts and mixes I recommend:

Crunchy Bean Mix from Sprouting.com. Not all seeds sprout at the same time, and there are some duds, but it is a good mix. Grow to 3/4 to one inch long.

Peasant Mix from SproutPeople.com. A mix of 5-6 different kinds of lentils.

Marrowfat Peas from Sprouting.com. These taste better than plain green peas, and are bigger too. Some seeds are yellow, some are green. Grow to about 3/4 inch.

Sandwich Booster from Sprouting.com. This is a good blend of alfalfa, clover, radish, and canola seeds.

Peasant Mix from SproutPeople.com. A mix of 5-6 different kinds of lentils.

Alfalfa grow in 3-4 days, they expand a lot.

Red (Crimson) Lentils are fast-growing and grows in two days, grow to 3/4 inch.

Pea Carnival from SproutPeople.com. A mix of 5-6 different peas.

French Green Lentils - fast growing, and grow to 3/4 inch in two days.


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