Monday, February 1, 2016

Least Expensive, Most Nutritious and You Can Grow it- Now!

You might have heard of "superfoods," meaning everything from kale to seaweed, but in the dead of winter, you can grow your own superfood for not very much money at all.

I'm talking about sprouts. You can sprout seeds from beans and peas, brassicas like broccoli and radishes, almost any grain or seed that we eat, like wheat, barley or sunflower seeds (which are usually grown in moist soil instead of water).

The method is simple and absolutely nothing to be afraid of. The idea is to give the seeds enough water to wake them up and start them growing without drowning them or creating an environment where mold or mildew will grow. That's not too hard to do on your kitchen counter top.

There are systems and methods all over the place, but you don't need any of it. You only need to know for sure that the seed you want to sprout won't poison you! Avoid anything from the nightshade family, like tomato, potato and eggplant, huckleberries and so forth. When in doubt, look it up. There's plenty of information on the internet.

The basic method is to clean your seeds and put them in a jar with a lid with holes in it, or simply put a piece of fine netting or coarsely woven material over it and secure with a rubber band. Anyway, put the clean seeds in the jar and cover with water. Let it set overnight or a few hours, then drain (leaving the lid on so you won't lose any seed), pour fresh water over the seeds and drain again. Let the damp seeds set 12 to 24 hours and do it again.

Some seeds will be sprouted to edible size in 24 hours, but most take two to three days. As soon as the sprouts are big enough, rinse one last time and put them in the refrigerator to keep them from growing more. They will keep a few days to a week.

Now... where to get the seed? Do NOT use seed sold for planting, as much of it has been treated with fungicide or pesticide. You can use seed from last year's garden or bought from the grocery store or health store.

A caution: A few seeds expand to a lot of sprouts. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds, for instance, can make a couple of cups of sprouts. Don't sprout more than you can eat in a day or two, because you can always make more.

Look up the way to sprout the seeds you want to try and go for it. You don't need a garden or even a sunny windowsill to grow some of the most nutritious and tasty vegetables ever.

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