Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Winter Greens Alternative

Posted by: Paul Gardener
A posse ad esse (From possibility to reality)

I thought I'd take a little different approach today. I'm posted a series of posts that I put up on my regular blog nearly a year ago, but putting them together for you here as one consistant piece. I hope you enjoy and give it a try!

I've been playing around with a little indoor garden lately. It's a really small indoor garden and gives me a sweet green to eat with my burgers, sandwiches, salads or just for a little snack any time of the year. I've been growing alfalpha sprouts in my kitchen! All I needed was an inexpensive container of seeds, an old mason jar that was sitting in a box in the garage, and a scrap piece of nylon panyhose. I thought I'd document it for anyone that has thought about trying this for yourself.

Day 1 (Getting Started)
First of all, you'll need to get your supplies together. I've got my seeds, jar, nylon, and a 1 tablespoon measure so I'm ready.

The first step is to take 1 tbsp of seed and add it too our jar.
Now pay attention, this is the difficult part, cover it with a good bit of water and let it sit overnight. The Nylon is used to cover the jar and keep dust out. It also has a more important use, but we'll get to that tomorrow.

Here is what it looks like when it starts. Not too exciting, but give it a day or so.

Day 2
Alright, it's been about 24 hours. You really only need to leave them to soak for 12 but it won't hurt them to go a little longer. Now the reason for the nylon scrap is more evident. After letting them soak, you turn the jar over and drain all of the water out. Some water will of course linger at the bottom, but let it sit upside down for a minute to get out as much as you can.
After I do this, I have seed spread all over the side of the jar, not a good place for the sprouts to grow, so I scrap them down to the bottom of the jar with a long kitchen utensil. (Truth be told, I use an extra paint stir stick that's a little concaved, it works great.) and spread them evenly on the bottom.
Here is the end result.

This is a closer look at the seeds them selves. they are really saturated and swollen, you can see there are a couple that are already showing green and getting ready to sprout.

After draining, I place the jar on top of the refrigerator where it is a little warmer and perfect for sprouting.

Day 3
Well here we are at day three, 48 hours have passed. I guess it's really day two if you consider that day one was just putting the seeds in the jar.

I took the jar down tonight after dinner, and added about an inch of water. Enough to cover it well, it's really not a scientific process. Anyway, same as yesterday I drain and then push all the seeds to the bottom. Rinse, Drain, Repeat, Rinse, Drain, Repeat. I took a new picture and TAADAA sprouts are popping out all over. In retrospect I think that leaving them to soak for a full twenty four hours is a good thing. These sprouted a lot more vigorously than the last batch I grew.

Day 4
Day four and the sprouts are really kicking into gear.

See those long roots! actually they're about 3/4 inch long. Tonight instead of covering the sprouts with water and then pouring it out through the nylon filter, I decided to try a different method of watering the sprouts. I took a regular all pupose spray bottle, filled with clear water and spritzed the top of the sprouts. Not too much, just enough to dampen the sprouts. The reason for this is that one of the issues I have had in the past is that as the sprouts germinate and grow and I tip the jar over to drain the water, they inevitably fall onto the lid. Not really a big deal, but when I push them back down onto the bottom of the jar I break some of them, and they tend to grow all curly and knotted up with each other. Again, not really a big deal, but if you were as obsessive compulsive as me, it'd drive you nuts. trust me.
Here is the top view.
Getting excited about a sprout? trust me these babies are way sweeter and tastier on your turkey sandwich than any you could get from the store.

Day 6
Well here we are at Day 6. The sprouts are now about 1 3/4 inch tall. I can eat them anytime now, but I like to wait until they are a bit bigger. I will post my last update in another day or two with the final product. I hope you get inspired to try these on your own. They are a great addition to the wonderful fresh salads and veggies we'll have here shortly in the summer, but can be enjoyed all year. Have fun, and get sprouting!!

Day 7 (Final)
Well, here it is. The final yield from my tablespoonful of seeds. It took 7 days, if you count the day that I put the seeds in water to soak overnight. This is probably about two of the packages that you would buy in the store. I know it doesn't seem like a really huge amount, but when you consider the container of seed that I bought was $3 and some change, it is really quite a major savings, besides the fact that you just can't get better tasting or healthier sprouts.

As I said, these sprouts are just the very best ones you'll ever get. They're healthy, sweet and when you make them your self they're really really cheap!! It
Doesn't get much simpler or more frugal for greens than that.
Till next time...