The gardens are done providing fresh lettuce and vegetables (unless you grow a winter garden), but do you still crave those nutritious greens? You can easily grow them, regardless of how cold it is outside, by growing sprouts!
Sprouts are healthy. They are natural sources of energy, amino acids, minerals, vitamins and nutrition and consuming sprouts provides wholesome nutrition to the body. Sprouts also contain vitamin C which increases the body’s immunity and also prevents the risk of cancer.
There are several different ways to grow sprouts and several different devices to use.
Sprouts can be grown in mason jars with mesh on top for draining or you can buy an inexpensive commercial sprouter. I started off using the Easy Sprout (shown on the right). It is basically a plastic container with an inside vestibule that you can remove to rinse and drain the sprouts. These types of sprouters work well, but because they have a narrow bottom the seeds don't all sprout and it seemed a bit wasteful. I ended up switching to a Bioset Kitchen sprouter from Johnny's Select Seeds.
There are several different places to get sprouting seeds. You can grow several different varieties of sprouts including broccoli, alfalfa, mung bean, onion, buck wheat, diakon radish, mustard, fenugreek and others. You can order then from online places such as Johnny's or Sprout People, or you can get them from your local Whole Foods or Health Food Store. Wherever you get them from be sure they are specifically for sprouting to ensure they have been tested for E.Coli and Salmonella.
Sprout People have tons of information on their website where you can find everything you need to know about growing sprouts.
Sprouting seeds in the Bioset Sprouter is easy. Just fill each tray evenly with about a tablespoon of seeds then stack the trays and fill the top one with warm water. The water will fill each tray below, soaking the seeds and then will drain into the tray on the bottom. Once it is done draining empty the bottom tray. Fill the top tray with water twice a day - the moisture and humidity are controlled through the bioset. Keep the sprouter out of direct sunlight and at room temperature. Once the sprouts grow and have their leaves you can provide a little sunlight so they can green up a bit!
Once the sprouts are ready, usually in 3 to 5 days depending on the type of seeds you used, rinse them under running water and eat! You can also store them in the refrigerator in plastic bags. If you do, just be sure to thoroughly dry them otherwise they will spoil faster. I use a salad spinner to remove all the moisture.
Growing sprouts is easy and fun way to get those healthy vitamins and nutrients during the winter!