A quick and easy tutorial on how to sprout your own (ahem) sprouts for salads. It couldn't be easier and this is a fun project for kids!
Eat Those Greens!
Am I the only one who connects “salad sprouts” with fancy, elaborate salad buffets? I love a good salad spread and never, ever pass up the opportunity to add sprouts to my salad. It makes me feel super healthy and super exotic. Maybe I need to get out more…
Salads are a staple in my weekly meal plan. I love them as a main dish with protein added or as a simple side dish. Salads are an easy and tasty way to get in some leafy greens and with the right accessories (bell peppers, seeds, sprouts, etc), a humble salad can turn into a super-food powerhouse. Sprouts are available at some grocery stores but I've found them to be not only pricey, but short lived. They seem to go bad (slime/mold) very quickly. Enter…DIY sprouts.
As a self-proclaimed brown thumb, growing my own salad sprouts makes me feel like I stand a fighting chance should our food supply chain come to a screeching halt. Salad sprouts this year…tomatoes next year perhaps? I'm unstoppable.
Why Eat Sprouts?
Sprouts are just that, sprouted seeds. The sprouting process unlocks the various nutrients, proteins and enzymes in the plant making it more available and digestible. Many of us in the real food community are familiar with this process in relation to nuts, seeds and legumes. The same goes for sprouts and they are so simple to grow yourself.
Vitamins and minerals actually increase once the sprouting process begins, making this tiny food chock full of goodies. Research shows that during the sprouting process mung beansprouts increase in vitamin B1 by up to 285 percent, vitamin B2 by up to 515 percent, and niacin by up to 256 percent.
Sprouts are inexpensive, tasty and just plain fun to grow and eat!
Let's get started.
- Mason jar
- Sprouting seeds of choice (I love broccoli sprouts and want to try this spicy mix). A quick search on Amazon for “salad sprouts” will give you tons of options. Mix it up for both flavor and nutrients.
- A sprouting lid works perfectly. Cheesecloth will also work. You want to be able to drain water and allow air to circulate into the jar of seeds.
Add about 2 tablespoons to a mason jar, cover with sprouting lid or cheesecloth and cover in filtered water for 8 hours. I usually get mine started and let them soak overnight. After soaking, drain the water (lid is handy for this), add enough water to cover the seeds, give it a swirl and drain again. At this point you'll want to turn your jar upside down at a 45 degree angle in a small bowl to allow water to drain and air to circulate. Place your jar/bowl in a spot away from direct sunlight. Repeat this rinsing process every 2-3 hours (don't worry about nighttime). This will give the seeds enough water to stay moist and start growing.
The seeds will begin to sprout very quickly, within 24 hours or so depending on the variety. This is such a fun kitchen activity for kids as they can literally watch the sprouts grow throughout the day. I let my sprouts grow for about 2-3 days. Keep them in the refrigerator and use within 3-5 days. Get another batch going quickly if you want to keep a constant supply in your fridge.
How to Eat Sprouts
My favorite way to eat sprouts is on my salads. Sprouts can be sauteed and eaten alone or added to other dishes like stir fry. If you find yourself with an abundance, throw a handful into a smoothie or add it to a blended herb sauce.
Have you ever grown your own sprouts? Do you have a favorite “flavor?” Enjoy!