My sunflower sprouts – aren’t they cute?
Sprouts are a wonderfully nutritious and frugal way to incorporate good nutrition into your diet! They are a great alternative to expensive nuts or to replace lettuce when the greens are not in season. Sprouts can be added to so many dishes with great success, including salads, soups, sandwiches, omelets, and breads. Seeds actually increase in nutritional content when sprouted! Sprouting is a simple, indoor method of gardening…for anyone!
Lately, I have been exploring sprouting sunflower seeds (read more about the wonders of these seeds here), and it has been so much fun! These are packed with all the nutrients we need for survival, and receive vitamin C when sprouted. They are so cheap and easy to sprout! My frugal tip of the day: learn how to sprout seeds!
How to Sprout
This method can be used for sprouting grains, seeds, and beans, but I am focusing on seeds, as that is as far as I have gone as of yet.
1. Buy a small amount of seeds at your natural foods store. Purchase raw, and labeled for sprouting. Store your seeds in your refrigerator until you’re ready to sprout them. They go rancid very quickly. All seeds should be stored in this way.
2. Start with sunflower seeds, as they take the shortest amount of time and are ready in two days! Take about 1/4 cup of seeds. Pick through them and discard any split, discolored, or damaged seeds.
3. Soak the seeds for several hours before placing them in the bottom of a quart size glass jar. Cover the seeds with cold water that is at least three times the volume of the seeds. Leave jar uncovered and unrefrigerated. Let the seeks soak for at least 6 hours, but no more than 12 hours – overnight is probably most convenient. (See picture to left)
4. In the morning, drain the water from the jar without pouring out the seeds. You can use cheesecloth, a small strainer (pushed concave into the top of the jar), nylon netting, or a cloth napkin (as I did!). If using cloth, secure with a rubber band.
5. Rinse the seeds well. Let cold water run through the cloth and into the jar. Swirl the jar to swish the seeds around in the water, but be gentle – they have tender shoots. Pour out the water and repeat once or twice. Hold the jar at an angle for best results (see picture at right). Drain well, so seeds do not get moldy.
6. Keep the jar on it’s side, or leave the jar at a slight angle so the water can continually drain out. Seeds should be spread through the length of the jar and not crowded together at one end. Let the jar remain until you rinse again. Best to keep them in a warm dark place. (I keep it at my sink propped up by a plate so it is continually draining and prompting me to rinse again!)
7. Rinse and drain as in step 6 twice a day. Keep my your sink to help remind you! Seeds should sprout in 2 days (mine took longer, due to the colder temperature in our house). Store in refrigerator until ready to use…ground or whole!
I am still in the learning process, but so far so good! I have enjoyed tossing these in salads, grinding them for our breakfast cereal (including Karis’ porridge), and adding them to smoothies!