On sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts

I’m making edible sprouts again:  it must be snowy outside.

Everything we eat here has a season.  With the exception of frozen meat* and the seemingly unending jars of tomatoes, every other food item has an on and an off period…everything has its season.  Lettuce cannot be found from mid-July to the beginning of September.  Potatoes are only found from July to March.  Stored garlic (sniff!!) winds down just when green garlic winds up.  And so on.  All of these things are seasonal by the fact that the calendar makes them so.  There are some harvests, though, that have me to blame for their seasonality.  Sprouts are one of those things.

I posted a while back about sprouting things. I find I have a higher tolerance for the sprouting process when two things happen:  1.  when it’s abominably cold out and 2.  when I don’t have vegetables growing under the lights downstairs, and thus am sick of seeing seeds.  So, in other words, the season of edible sprouts is a short one:  from December to February, usually.  I do tend to sprout wheat year-round, though, because I like sprouted wheat in my breads and pancakes etc….but that’s an exception.

And I could get all wackadoo and tell you the reason why I think sprouts are so very important…but I won’t.  Suffice it to say I think raw, living food is a very important part of our diets (and by “living” I mean sprouts, but I also mean yogurt, kefir, krauts, and of course my insistent salads); I feel their lack when I leave home and have to…you know, fend for myself!  To my gut flora’s** sincere dismay, I might add!

*Frozen meat has a season, too:  I “harvest” our birds, and we order meat shares (1/2 hog, 1/4 cow) and when the harvest happens, the freezer fills.

**Gut flora:  The human body, consisting of about 10 trillion cells, carries about ten times as many microorganisms in the intestines.

11 responses to “On sprouts

  1. That sounds like a fun and tasty experiment for little guys. Thanks for the idea; I’ll give you full credit when the applause begins.

  2. My sprouts get slimy. Any idea what I am doing wrong? Maybe I should just make smaller batches and eat them faster…?

    We always say (ala Michael Pollan) – eat the young!

    • You’re probably not doing anything wrong, Angie, except not eating them quickly enough. AND: it’s really crucial to wash them a lot when they’re sprouting. So, once mine are fleshy enough, I try to consume them all, and not resort to sticking them in the fridge where the slime factor really shows up, quickly! So, yes, eat those babies!

  3. One of my goals is to learn how to do sprouts properly. I have never had any luck with them, it should be simple but ours never seem to turn out. I think that perhaps our house is to cold, maybe if I grew them closer to our wood stove they would do better. Do you ever use the sprouted wheat in salads? That would be a good one for us to try as we have lots of wheat. I’m off to read your other post.

    • Our house is chilly, too, Mike. I find it best to keep the sprouts by the sink so I wash them on time/adequately; I am always at the sink! But only for the last day do the green ones go into the sun…if that helps. Indeed, closer to the woodstove would speed them up. Mostly I use the sprouted wheat in breads and such, though; Tom has a texture issue with big wheat berry sprouts in salads (garbanzos, mung beans too).

  4. I haven’t made sprouts in a long time, but I want to now! I used to have a big jar of mixed sprouting seeds on my shelf – if I remember right it was a blend of mustard, radish, alfalfa, and red clover. They all take about the same time to germinate and sprout, and make a nice spicy mix!

  5. Hmmmm, sprouted wheat sounds pretty good. The only recipe I know is Laurel’s Kitchen, and it’s a bit more complex than I’m willing to do right now. . . I’ll get to it. Sprouts are a great addition to your diet, and I used to do it more.

    Of course, I didn’t use to have four kids either. Wonder if there’s a connection?

  6. silly question? Where do you get your sprout seed (or do you use your own saved seed, ha)?

    I know locally some places stopped carrying it last year due to a salmonella issue (I’m assuming one of those baby-with -the-bathwater scenarios). And I admit I haven’t looked much since then.

    Thanks for the reminder, this is a great time of year for sprouts…

  7. ever since I’ve gotten here I’ve been looking at my sprouter and at my ready-to-go seeds, and somehow… motivation has been lacking. Don’t know why the resistance. Maybe it feels like a permanent thing as I adjust to this weather. Maybe I’m in denial, LOL.

    sprouted fairly regularly in SF. Felt different somehow, because it wasn’t the only game in town.

  8. I seem to do sprouts in the winter too. Its interesting because growing up, we only sprouted in the summer, when the humidity was at its peak. Most often were moong beans and lentils, and we’d rinse, soak, and then drain them, and hang them tightly wrapped in an old pillow case over the sink to spout. A couple days later, if the humidity was high, the sprouts were done.

    But now, I find myself sprouting in the winter, maybe as a way to feel like I’m getting a bit of freshly grown food into my life. And my actual sprouter container doesn’t seem to need the humidity that the other method did. Humm. Not sure why, but I’ll take it. I’ve got adzuki, lentils, and moong sprouting along in my kitchen now.

  9. Pamela, well, I won’t shy from taking the credit…but sprouts are pretty darned tasty, and crunchy…and local!

    Angie, hope the info. helped you. I suppose it requires a bit of diligence to get ’em up and running…not quite instant gratification, food-wise; but goodness knows it’s quicker than growing a salad.

    Good luck with it, Mike. They’re really not hard and once you get the hang of it you’ll enjoy it. I do like the sweet bite that barely-sprouted wheat berries give to things.

    Aimee, that sprout mix sounds great! (And wow: a mix. I should try that; I just do it singly now.) I hope your mix isn’t ancient so you get good-enough germination out of it. It’s probably fine, though; some seeds are really tough.

    Ah Stef. What’s your bread routine? I just make “my usual” bread then I flatten the dough out into a big square, then press the sprouts into it, leaving a 1″ border all around. I then roll it up and turn it into a loaf pan for the second rise. Putting them in the middle ensures they’re equally distributed and also that none of them escape, get dried out toward the crust, and cause someone to lose a tooth. But yeah…I hear you on the kids/time conundrum 🙂

    Sara, I get mine from the only place around that sells bulk dry goods like beans, flour, etc. There’s a section for sprouty things too so I usually make a once-a-year raid. The one great thing about sprouts is it doesn’t take much: like, 2-3T, for you to have a jarful. You should avoid any seed-starting seeds as those could be treated and who needs that!

    Okay, Hayden, now you know that there’s at least someone else in Michigan who’s sprouting right now if that helps 😉 But yeah, it can be a bit of a drag, luckily there’s a yummy payoff. Like: this weekend, I will be doing some wok cooking, so…time to get out the mung beans.

    MC, how fascinating! I can see how that would work, keeping them nice and moist. The jars I use can dry out which is the reason for my insistent washing of them. But you touch on exactly the reason I like them so at this time of year: they’re the only super-fresh things that people can have access to if they live in the cold parts of the country!

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