Tuesday, June 23, 2009

loving sprouts

I love eating sprouts but what pass for sprouts at the grocery store are sad plastic boxes of thin, pale, dirt-tasting strings. So, I usually make my own. The best method, I've found, is the simplest. Although I've tried sprouting systems engineered specifically for this process, I now use just a canning jar and some flexible screening. The key is to able to rinse the sprouts every few hours, and I've been known to carry my sprout jar along in my car and fill it from a water bottle on the side of the road. With my stay-at-home-mom gig these days, it's pretty easy. Goodness knows I am in the kitchen every couple of hours anyway preparing snacks and whatnot!

So here's what I do: Measure 2Tablespoons alfalfa (or other sprout-able) seeds into a 2-quart canning jar. Use the metal ring to secure a piece of flexible screening over the opening. Cover seeds with cool water and soak overnight. Empty the next morning, and proceed with rinsing the seeds/sprouts every few hours for several days. It helps me to put a sticky note on my bathroom mirror reminding me to rinse them right before I go to bed. Rinsing entails filling the jar, through the screen, with enough cool water to get all of the seeds/sprouts nice and soaked, then emptying the water right away. With our drought here, I actually walk out to the garden with the rinse water and use it on my landscape plants.

When the sprouts begin developing leaves, around day 3 or 4, it helps to rotate the jar each time you rinse it so that all of the sprouts get sun exposure. This helps to get them nice and green, which is not only prettier but I'm guessing more nutritious as well. The sprouts are usually mature enough to my liking around day 5 or 6. At this point I remove them from the jar and soak in a big bowl of water to separate out the seed hulls and unsprouted seeds from the good sprouts. Strain and store in a wrung-out cloth in plastic in the fridge; I use a plain white flour-sack dishtowel that I get real wet, wring out, and use to wrap the sprouts completely within a tupperware-type container. This keeps the sprouts succulent rather than dried-out, and they can keep over a week this way.

I've been eating them for breakfast every morning on a piece of whole wheat toast with mustard, red onion, and melted smoked cheddar cheese. My favorite sandwich is a combination of avocado, smoked mozzarella cheese, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and sprouts.

We also eat a lot of salad, including this one below (pictured before the addition of homemade dressing and sprouts though) with home-grown red and green lettuces, cooked quinoa, cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, home-grown baby carrots, home-grown fresh dill and cilantro, avocado, and fresh mozzarella cheese. Yum! And yes, Sam ate every bite!

1 comment:

Trina said...

How cool is that?! When can I come over - sounds yummy!! What a great science project for kids too. What does Sam think of it? ; )