|A good sprouting technique does not require a "green thumb": all you have to do is pay attention to four simple factors: the right amount of moisture, the correct temperature, the free circulation of air, and normal light.
By rinsing your sprouts a couple of times daily, you keep them moist. You also wash away carbon dioxide and other metabolic wastes that could cause souring or spoiling. Using cool water when rinsing ventilates and cools the sprouts to prevent overheating. Proper drainage prevents excessive moisture that can cause mould and rot. The ideal sprouting temperature depends on the seed, but generally lies between 20 and 30Â°C. To protect the tiny growing things, keep sprouting containers away from cold drafts, direct heat, or any direct sunlight. For free air circulation, at least one-third of the container must be empty. Sprouts expand 6 to 10 times over a few days, so give them plenty of room to grow. Sprouts are not too light sensitive, which means that you do not need to take any additional measures regarding the light with the exception of some garden beet varieties which prefer to be covered with a moist paper towel to encourage them to sprout during the early stages of the growing cycle.
Start with untreated, whole dry seeds, beans, grains or nuts. This isn't conventional gardening. No tedious planting in spaced rows in soil. No weeding required. It's easy!
The Five Rules of Sprouting
Keep them moist, not wet
Keep them at room temperature
Give them plenty of room to breathe
Don't put too many in any one container
Your Kitchen Garden comes equipped with the following:
- Three, six or nine one-litre glass jars (You can use any one- or two-litre recycled glass or plastic wide-mouth containers.)
- Mesh screen and food grade rubber bands to close jars
- Container stand
- Removable tray for draining and easy cleaning
- Sample set of seeds in each jar to get you started right away and provides you with a sense of the volume of seeds required. Each sample set of seeds will provide two crops per jar.
You will also need:
- Fresh water
- Air tight containers for seed storage
- Airtight containers for refrigerator storage
The counter next to your sink is a great place for your Kitchen Garden. Ordinary light and temperature is fine but not direct sunlight.
Place the container stand over the drainage tray provided. Put enough seeds (1 to 2 tablespoons or 3 to 4 teaspoons (approximately 16 to 30 grams), depending on the seed varieties, to lightly cover the bottom surface of the upright jar/s.
Cover with the mesh screen and secure with a rubber band. Believe it or not this is probably the hardest part for some novices. (Tip: Use thumbs and forefingers on top of the rubber bands and gently slide the rubber bands into position while simultaneously keeping the screen taut.)
Cover the seeds with about 2 to 4 cm of water and soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
Drain the water and rinse in fresh water by swirling gently while draining to disperse seeds across the surface of the jar.
Place jar/s at an angle in the container stand.
Rinse 2 or 3 times twice a day in cool water.
If necessary, to provide more greenery, place the sprouting jar in bright light, but never in direct sunlight. The last sprouting day allows chlorophyll to form.
Enjoy in 3 to 7 days. For a continuous supply of fresh sprouts sow new seeds every 2 to 3 days.
Drain well, allow 2 to 4 hours on the container stand before transferring to a covered container. Refrigerate to store. For any prolonged storage, sprouts should be dry to the touch.
Sprouts are ready to be harvested within 2 to 3 days of tails and/or greenery appearing. Soy and garbanzo (chickpeas) should be harvested sooner than later. Your taste buds are your best indicator of when to harvest your sprouts. IF THEY TASTE GOOD, IT`S TIME TO EAT THEM.
Keep your sprouts refrigerated in an airtight container. Some varieties may last as long as six weeks. Additional rinsing with fresh water will keep them fresh and crisp.
- Sprouts should smell clean and fresh, so be suspicious of unpleasant odours and trash any that smell bad. Be sure to wash containers and screens thoroughly - Not all seeds will sprout, some will take longer. It is advisable to separate seeds that have not germinated and husks or seed caps from the sprouts. Float harvested sprouts on a wide water surface and skim the floating caps off the water.
- Be sure that when rinsing the sprouts during their cycle, the rinsed water is clear.
- With soybeans, garbanzo beans, and possibly other legumes, double rinsing is recommended. Soybeans with brown spots should be avoided and make sure you always purchase non-genetically modified soybeans.
- Use sprouted peas and beans for cooking and making soup.
- Add fresh leafy sprouts to soups, salads and sandwiches.
- Add different varieties together for taste, appearance and garnish.
- Spice and grill pea and legume sprouts till dark and crunchy and eat as a healthy snack food alternative.
- Keep fresh sprouts in air tight containers after cooling.
- Blend sprouts into soups or add them just before serving. Add sprouts to vegetable juices, casseroles or any vegetable dish. Wheat sprouts add nutrition and texture to breads, rolls, muffins or pancakes.
- Grind sprouts and add seasonings to make sandwich spreads or sprinkle them over sandwich fillings.
Seeds should be stored in an air tight container in the cupboard. The germination life of seeds is generally two to five years.