Monday, October 21, 2013

Time to Learn Sprouting! Introduction to Sprouting

Our Clover and Radish Sprouts
We have started sprouting at home fairly recently in response to the increasing fallout from Fukushima. This fallout will be a ongoing problem, as "hot" radioactive particles distributed by the rain will remain in your soil, gradually accumulating.  Eating lower on the food chain is one appropriate response to mitigating the effects of the fallout on your food supply, as the dangerous particles will bio-accumulate towards the top of the food chain (animals and dairy).  Growing your own food inside in a controlled environment is a better solution, because you can greatly reduce your exposure levels internally by maintaining a clean environment from which to grow your food.  Sprouts are a good option, because they can be grown quickly indoors.  We recently purchased about 75 pounds of Organic seeds for sprouting.  Organic foods are more important than ever, as it has been shown that plants growing with lots of Organic compost materials take up less radioactive particles including Cesium-137.  Further, indoor growing of organic foods presents the safest possible food production method, in terms of exposure to radioactivity through your food supply.

Radiation readings from http://www.radiationnetwork.com for today 10/21/13


Green Pea Sprouts soaking day 1.  We didn't care for these so much, but they kept an extra long time in the fridge. 

The first step for sprouting seeds is to soak the seeds for 8-12 hours in clean water.  After soaking, the seeds are strained and left in a jar or tray and kept dark over the next 2-3 days.  During these days, the seeds are soaked 2-3 times daily for about a minute, and then the water is strained off again.  There are different types of containers to use. The simplest way to sprout is in jars with a cheese cloth and rubber band lid.  For small seeds you just cover the bottom of the jar, or for big seeds you fill the jar about 1/8th to 1/4th full.  You can also buy specialty sprouting lids that screw onto mason jars.  Moonlight Micro-Farm sells stainless steel lids that work with the 'O' ring of a regular mason jar.  There are also specialized sprouting trays that are stackable.  If you are using a jar, tilt the jar on its side at a 45 degree angle after the rinse.  On the last day of sprouting put the seeds in a sunny window or under growing lights so that the small leaves produce chlorophyll and turn green.  The last step is to rinse the sprouts in cold water.  Then eat or store in the refrigerator in a jar or bag.  We prefer clear glass jars.  The sprouts will keep the best if they are rinsed once a day.  You should eat them within 3-5 days.   

If you have fruit flies in your home, you need to keep them under control and out of your sprouts.  This is can be done easily by keeping a soapy jar of vinegar next to your sprouting area.  

These are Mung bean sprouts which took about 4 days to grow.  Mung beans from India are a good bet in terms of avoiding fallout, considering they are produced in the Southern Hemisphere.  

Our last batch of Mung Bean sprouts
The youtube video below will show you how to sprout garbanzo beans for a raw hummus.  I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it is on my to do list for this week.  


So far our family's favorite type of sprout is green lentils.  Others that one or more of our family members have enjoyed include clover, adzuki bean, mung bean, broccoli, and garbanzo.  If you are new to sprouting and would like to get started sprouting, I recommend you check out this beginner's sprouting kit from Moonlight MicroFarm in South Florida. 


The kind folks at Moonlight Microfarm sell sprouts at their local farmer's market and also sell a nice variety of heirloom vegetable seeds.
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