The Great Indoors

The Great Indoors 1 2 3

Sprouting seeds


Sprouted seeds are simply seeds that have germinated and started to grow their first root and shoot. The time taken for sprouting seeds, also known simply as sprouts, to reach harvesting stage
is as little as two days and rarely more than seven, which makes them the fastest edible crops around. There are distinct advantages to sprouting seeds – they are outrageously nutritious, have a delicious crunch to them and can be used in anything from salads and sandwiches to stir-fries.
You can sprout just about any seeds, but for safety only purchase those sold specifically for this purpose (seeds for sowing outdoors may have been chemically treated). Another source of seeds is health food stores who sell bags of seeds and beans that will be safe for consumption. Common sprouting options include sunflower, alfalfa, fenugreek, radish, along with legumes such as the mung bean (the common Chinese bean sprout), adzuki beans and peas.

Sprouting really is a doddle. The simplest method – and ideal for those new to sprouting or wanting to dip their toes in the water – uses clean glass jars. Begin by simply adding a small quantity of seed into your jar. One to two tablespoons is more than enough as seeds can expand by up to 30 times their volume following germination. Now soak your seeds in fresh water for at least eight hours or overnight. Larger seeds may require a longer soaking period. This pre-soak helps stir the seeds from their slumber and primes them for germination.

With soaking complete, drain off the water through a square of muslin, fine mesh or clean cloth, held in place over the mouth of the jar with an elastic band (don’t let it slip or the seeds will slosh out!). Keep your seed somewhere dark to germinate and rinse and drain them every 12 hours (in the morning and evening) by filling the jar with water then draining off through the muslin. After germination the sprouted seeds can be kept in the dark but are best moved on for a day or two before eating in order to green up and develop more flavour.

To ensure steady growth always keep your jar covered with its square of muslin or cloth. This way your seeds will stay moist and aerated, an essential requirement for rapid germination and growth. This will also reduce the risk of any moulds taking hold. When your sprouts are ready to head out into the light, keep them clear of direct sunlight, which can rapidly whither the delicate shoots.

Rinse your sprouting seeds twice daily to keep them moist

If you find you’re hooked on sprouting after a few goes it is well worth investing in a sprouting kit. Kits consist of two or more tiers of trays, each with slats in the base to allow the water to pass through. Rinsing your seeds is child’s play – just pour water into the top tier and allow it to drip through the trays below and out through the bottom. Kits like this offer invaluable flexibility, allowing several varieties of seed to be grown at once, one in each tray, or several stages of growth to be had at once, ensuring a succession of sprouts and a continuous supply of the crunchy wonders. Beans, including the ubiquitous mung bean, do not require light and can therefore be grown in special sprouting bags.

You can make your own drawstring version from any readily permeable material, including cotton, hessian and inen fabrics. Pre-soaked seeds are popped into the bag and dipped into clean water for a minute every 12 hours for their rinsing. Keep the seeds moving within the bag by jiggling them around (this prevents them rooting into the fabric) and hang up to drip-drain between dunkings.
Sprouting seeds are generally ready to harvest once they are about 1-4cm in length, though the exact timing is really a matter of personal preference.

The Great Indoors 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.

Register an Account