Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Fresh greens from the garden or market may still be several weeks off, but there is one way to get a little homegrown veggie goodness in a matter of days: sprouts. The crisp, curly, sometimes leafy tendrils are a cinch to grow on the kitchen counter, whether you cultivate them in a specially designed sprouter or follow our simple canning jar instructions. Heck, even farmers are getting in on the act: assorted packaged varieties are cropping up all over, and for good reason, as the recipes on the following pages show.
What You’ll Need
â?¢Â organic sprout seeds or beans (available at natural food stores)
â?¢Â 1-qt. canning jar
â?¢Â rubber band
1. Place seeds or beans in bottom of jar, filling no more than one-quarter full. Cover with water, and let stand 5 hours or overnight, depending on type of seed.
2. Drain water from seeds or beans, and rinse. Cover top of jar with cheesevloth secured with a rubber band. Set in a warm spot that gets indirect sunlight.
3. Pour cool water through cheesecloth to rinse seeds or beans once a day. Drain off excess water through cheesecloththe seeds or beans should be damp but never sit in water. Seeds or beans will begin to sprout in 3 to 5 days. Once they’ve sprouted, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Which sprout suits you best?
Alfalfa, clover quinoa Wispy and sweet with a delicate crunch
Arugula, radish, broccoli, leek, mustard, fenugreek Tiny and tender with a peppery bite
Dried beans, peas, lentilos, chickpeas Crunchy, chewy, with a bean-like quality
Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds Slighty nutty and crunchy
Barley, buckwheat Starchy and slightly sweet
Mean, Green Sprouting Machines
Do-it-yourself sprouting doesn’t require special equipment, but the following options make it easier to tailor the yield to your needs.
What it is: Modeled on the glass jar technique, this plastic container has a base to catch extra rinse water, an insert for smaller seeds, and lids designed for travel and storage.
Best for: Small-batch sprouting that’s foolproof even in hot, humid weather.
One to try: Sproutpeople Easy Sprout, $13.85; sproutpeople.com
What it is: A set of nesting plastic trays with holes to allow you to moisten sprouts by pouring water over the top.
Best for: Producing small quantities of different types of large-seed sproutssmaller varieties, such as alfalfa, can get stuck in the draining holes.
One to try: Biosta Kitchen Crop Sprouter, $32.95; westcoastseeds.com
Hemp bag sprouter
What it is: A small sack made of hemp fabric that’s tied at the top and hung to drain.
Best for: Growing bean sprouts that stay pale and tender and sprouting small seeds such as broccoli and alfalfa.
One to try: Sproutman’s 100% Natural Hemp Sprout Bag, $12.95; sproutman.com
What it is: A plastic single-tier box with a divider and a drainage tray. Spouting trays can be stacked to save space.
Best for: Serious sprouters who want to cultivate and eat a large variety of sprouts.
One to try: The Sprout House Sprout Master Single Tray Sprouter, $13.95; sprouthouse.com