Nov 302011
 

Asante George: Explore Well Being Define Well Being Create Well BeingThe Traditional Kitchen Garden
Traditionally, a kitchen garden is a small outdoor garden plot that contains things that are used in the kitchen, including vegetables, herbs and spices, and edible and decorative flowers. Some of us do not have the yard space or time to maintain a traditional kitchen garden, but there’s good news: you can grow very nutritious food in the space you have, with simple materials, and for just a few dollars. In addition, your “crop” will be ready to enjoy in under a week.

Nutritious, Delicious Sprouts
This simple, nutritious, and delicious crop is sprouts. Sprouts are the easiest food to grow, and they offer almost immediate gratification. Virtually any edible seeds, bean, or grain can be sprouted. Popular seeds, beans, and grains to sprout include alfalfa seed, mustard seed, mung bean, garbanzo bean, broccoli seeds, sunflower seed, wheat berry, and lentil. Sprouts are packed full of nutrition, in fact, sprouting a seed, bean, or grain increases its nutritional value by 500%-2000%, that’s a huge increase!

Sunflower sprouts are rich in lecithin and vitamin D. Alfalfa sprouts are high in phytoestrogens which are associated with the prevention of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, and cancer. Lentil sprouts are 26% protein, and broccoli sprouts contain high levels of sulforaphane, a cancer fighting agent. These are just a few of the many nutritional and health benefits of sprouts.

Important Elements of Sprouting
The basic steps to sprouting are: soak, drain, rinse, and eat. Keep in mind that while sprouts are growing you must rinse and drain them often to prevent the growth of mold. Further, ample air circulation is also essential so sprouts don’t mold in their high moisture environment.

You will need:

  • 1 Wide-mouth jar– a mason jar or a reused food jar works perfectly
  • A sprouting lid– there are many options for sprouting lids. Premade sprouting lids are available at health food stores, garden stores, and grocery stores for a few dollars, and some come with a jar. There are also lots of homemade versions. For instance, cut a piece of plastic canvas (the plastic grid used in needle point and embroidery) into a circle that will fit over the mouth of your jar, this becomes your strainer. Use the ring of your mason jar to hold the strainer in place. Or, make a strainer out of a pair of clean nylons or muslin cloth. Cut a patch large enough to stretch over the mouth of your jar and hold it in place with a large rubber band.
  • Organic sprouting seeds, beans, or grains
  • Fresh water
  • A saucer, plate, bowl, or tray
  • A prop to hold your jar at an angle (optional)

5 simple steps

  1. Rinse well one tablespoon of seeds or 4 tablespoons of large beans or grains.
  2. Place seeds, beans, or grains in a mason jar and cover them with fresh water Remove any broken pieces or “floaters”, these will not sprout. Be sure to add enough water that your seeds, beans or grains will not soak it all up. Allow them to soak overnight
  3. Drain seeds, beans, or grains and place the jar upside down and at an angle over a saucer, plate or container. Drainage and air circulation is very important, so place the jar at an angle that will allow continued drainage and air circulation.
  4. Rinse sprouts 2-3 times a day, and each time return them to the draining position. Allow your sprouts to grow for 4-5 days until they have grown a long tail.
  5. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container in your refrigerator. They will keep for up to a week, but eat them quickly while they are fresh and vital. Discard if they become discolored of off-smelling.

Tips:

  • Fresh sprouts are a wonderful addition to salads, smoothies, juices, seaweed wraps, lettuce wraps, soups, and more.
  • If you plan to sprout a few batches at a time, a dish drainer makes a wonderful prop and tray for holding sprout jars in place
  • Do you love sprouts? When one batch is ready to eat, begin another batch. You’ll have an endless supply of sprouts.

Sprouting resources:
Sprout People
Handy Pantry
The Sprout House

Sources:
http://www.northerngardening.com/kitchengarden.htm
http://www.isga-sprouts.org/nutritio.htm
http://www.real-foods.net/grow-sprouts.html

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  6 Responses to “Sprout Your Own Kitchen Garden- 5 Simple Steps”

  1. I love growing my own seeds, especially with the recent sprout recall in supermarkets. I’ve always wanted to grow my own indoor herbs too. Do you have any advice or tutorials on this?

    • I don’t have a tutorial on growing herbs, but that would be a great subject to cover. If you find good online directions feel free to post a link.

  2. sprout recall in supermarkets? Why was that?

    Great blog by the way. I might have a go at this with my little boy. (3yrs old)

    • Hi Kitchen Steps,
      If I recall correctly, there have been several sprout recalls over recent years. I believe it has been due to the threat of salmonella. Although, I don’t think organic sprouts were ever found at risk, they were rounded up with the rest.

      • I used a mason jar with a lid specifically for ruospting. The brand of the lids are Sprout-Ease, it came with 3 different lids that fit on a wide mouth mason jar. The holes on each jar are different sizes for different size legumes or seeds. I rinsed seeds every morning and evening and then turned jar upside down on kitchen counter. I don’t have a rack so I put a towel on the counter and just proped the jar up against the backsplash to drain. Not really a dark spot but not direct sunlight either.

  3. Sprouted seeds are the best and I just love what you’ve done here. Your day 4 sprouts are oesalutbly gorgeous can you imagine anything fresher looking?!! My 10-year-old son sprouted seeds in a mason jar in his room this past spring and surprised me with a homemade salad for mother’s day needless to say, it was the best salad I’ve ever eaten.

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