Did you hear about the food poisoning outbreak in Europe? Awful! Lots of people got sick, some even died. They eventually traced the source of the e. coli bacteria to sprouts grown on an organic farm.
Does this mean we should avoid organic food? Absolutely not. The fact that the sprouts were grown organically didn’t have anything to do with them being contaminated with e. coli.
But it just so happens that the Damsel has been preparing a post on growing your own sprouts. Very timely, eh? This is one more example of how self-reliance can be a blessing. When you grow your own, you know what you’re getting…or not getting.
Growing your own sprouts is easy and requires no fancy equipment. In fact, you can do it with just a quart jar and an old nylon stocking. And seeds, of course.
The benefits of sprouting seeds are many. They’re quite good for you, and depending on the seeds you store, can make all the difference if you had to live off your food storage for a length of time. Alfalfa sprouts, for example, are a good source of vitamin C. If you had no access to any fresh veggies, they would be a welcome item indeed.
Nutritionally, sprouted seeds go through an amazing transformation. Look what happens to mung beans:
|Energy content – calories||Decrease 15 per cent.|
|Total carbohydrate content||Decrease 15 per cent|
|Protein availability||Increase 30 per cent|
|Calcium content||Increase 34 per cent|
|Potassium content||Increase 80 per cent|
|Sodium content||Increase 690 per cent|
|Iron content||Increase 40 per cent|
|Phosphorous content||Increase 56 per cent|
|Vitamin A content||Increase 285 per cent|
|Thiamine or Vitamin B1 content||Increase 208 per cent|
|Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 content||Increase 515 per cent|
|Niacin or Vitamin B3 content||Increase 256 per cent|
|Ascorbic acid or Vitamin C content||An infinite increase|
Truly amazing! Consider adding seeds for sprouting to your preparedness stash. (Buy seeds packaged for this purpose rather than farmer-seed, unless you’re sure they haven’t been sprayed with nasty chemicals.)
You can buy sprouters if you like, but really, all you need is a container and some way to rinse the seeds. Stretching a piece of CLEAN nylon stocking over the top of a quart jar and then securing it with the screw band creates a cheap and perfectly serviceable sprouter.
You can sprout most any seeds, but let’s do some alfalfa to begin with. At the Damsel’s house, we like to refer to this as “hay.” Well, it is.
The Damsel inherited a strainer-thingy that fits on the top of a quart jar, so she used that. No possibility of toe-jam flavored sprouts here.
Put 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of alfalfa seed in a quart jar and cover with lukewarm water. Put the top on, whether it be a nylon or what-have-you, and slosh them around a bit. Drain the water out, and replace with fresh water, enough to cover them by a few inches. Let them sit overnight.
For the next couple of days, rinse and drain the seeds every few hours, as often as you can remember. In between, put the jar in a dark corner or cupboard, because light will make the sprouts taste bitter.
See the sprouts starting to grow?
When sprouts start to peep out, after rinsing, hold the jar sideways and shake the seeds gently so they spread out along the side of the jar. Don’t fuss. They will be clumpy. Nothing bad will happen.
Continue rinsing, draining, and shaking them so they lie along the side of the jar until the sprouts look long enough to look appropriate on a turkey and avocado sandwich. They’ll look pale, but taste fine.
If you want to green them up now that they’re grownups, you can put them in the sun for a few hours without harming their fresh, sweet taste. The Damsel’s continue to get a bit greener even while they’re sitting in the fridge.
The Damsel stores her sprouts in a ziploc bag that isn’t zipped shut, but is lightly closed. They stay good for two weeks this way.