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Sprouting @ home

February 1, 2013

I’ve not been very active in my D.I.Y. projects, lately. However, I managed to try something I was curious about since a long time: sprouting seeds at home. Why sprouting? because sprouts are good eats. As an addition to a salad, or just by themselves, they have a freshly crunchiness that is a joy for your mouth.

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You may find soybean sprouts in many markets, but is also possible to sprout your own seeds at home with a sprouting device. Different sprouters are available in stores but, before buying one, you may want to try a simple DIY one to see if you like sprouting & sprout eating. For a simple home-made sprouter, you will need:

  1. a glass jar; the one I used is a 1 liter jar with a wide mouth. A wide mouth is good for aeration of the sprouts.
  2. some sort of mesh, plastic or textile, with holes small enough to keep seeds & sprouts in but large enough to easily drain water and let air enter. I used a piece of one of those bags that are used to protect delicate clothes in washing machines (flexible and water-resistant).
  3. something to hold the mesh over the jar mouth; elastic bands are fine.
  4. a support, to keep the jar.. ajar… hehehe… well, seriously, in order to help draining excess water, the jar has to remain tilted around 45°. I used a plastic CD container, cutting it on one side.

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The first experiment was mung beans (small, green sweet beans). Many organic/vegetarian/vegan stores have seeds for sprouting, in small packs. These, however, can be costly (considered how small is the amount); you may decide to try sprouting dried lentils, dried beans, and most of the seeds that are also sold to grow vegetable gardens. Just try to get organic seeds, to avoid eating all the chemicals in non-organic seeds. A final advice, in a jar sprouter, it is not possible to sprout very small seeds (like cress) because they are too small, and would require a mesh too tight to be efficient in draining and aerating (for those seeds, you will need a plate sprouter).

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Sprouting 101: if possible, in all steps, use non-chlorinated water; I have a water filtering carafe (that I use for drinking) and used filtered water. Soak the beans overnight in water (8+ hours). Rinse the beans; they have probably grown in size, and shed some skin (remove it, if it is so). Put the drained seeds in the jar, close the mouth with the mesh, secure the elastic band, put the jar over the support, and everything over a plate (to collect the remaining draining water). Wait. Then, once or twice a day (I did it before leaving for work in the morning and when I got home in the evening) pour water in the jar (above the level of the seeds), let it sit there 30 seconds, and slowly agitate the jar for another 30 seconds; then drain it through the mesh. The jar should NOT be in direct sunlight, darkness is even better in the first few days. After a day or two, you will start notice very small white sprouts emerging. After 4-5 days your sprouts will be ready to be eaten. do not let them grow after they start changing color, eat them before. During the hot season, this process is fast; now, in winter, since I generally keep my house a bit on the cold side, it took one week from start to eat. I used just half of a 90g pack of beans; it looked like a small amount at the begin, but the jar was quite crowded at the end (and you do not want the sprout to suffocate).

I really enjoyed the process of seeing the beans sprouting and growing, and the sprouts were crunchy, extremely fresh and really tasty. I’m growing a new batch just now 🙂

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