(10 points to whoever can name the artist of that fantastic tune first!)
I can now officially report that my sprouts have sprouted, and that I have consumed said sprouts without dying (apparently a valid concern).
So, I think that’s a pretty good outcome.
Here’s what I learned along the way:
1. Do your research on sprout-growing containers (sprouters) first.
This whole adventure sprouted (sorry, couldn’t help it) from a trip to an organic shop in Reggio Emilia that was selling these pretty little terracotta sprouters made by Geo. Upon returning home with my new sprouter, I read some reviews about sprouters.
My first suggestion would be to actually invert the order of those events, as crazy at it may sound. Read the reviews BEFORE purchasing the sprouter. Genius, I know.
Many pro sprouters use plastic trays or even glass mason jars instead of fancy systems like this. They probably know what they’re doing. I love this little guy – he’s very pretty – but he has the smallest drainage holes imaginable. The alfalfa and flax seeds got stuck in them, and I had to use a needle to clean them out afterwards. So, Tip #1: research. More than I did.
2. Clean the beans or seeds very well before soaking them.
I find it somewhat amusing that the FDA has a warning out since the 90’s on the safety of sprouts, when somehow the USDA beef lobby has been able to plow through E.coli scares without a scar. I suppose the alfalfa lobby is a bit less intimidating.
In all seriousness, E.coli and other bacteria are always a serious concern when consuming raw foods. Remember to steer clear of sprouts if you are pregnant. To minimize the risks, it is always best to source your beans or seeds well and clean them as thoroughly as possible (I rinsed mine several times in baking soda water) before growing your sprouts.
Many will say that if they are contaminated, there’s not much to be done. And, frankly, I will hesitate before ever eating store-bought sprouts again. However, I’m pretty comfortable with the risks of home-grown sprouts. I have even been known to take a bite (or two) of raw cookie dough… and occasionally eat rare meat. I know, I know. I’m a wild child.
3. Soak mung and alfalfa for 8-10 hours.
I also have my sunflower seeds soaking in this photo, but they ended being a disaster… so DON’T do what I did with them! The flax seeds don’t need to be soaked.
4. Keep them in a dark corner, and rinse them 2-3 times each day.
I rinsed them after each time that we had a meal. At first they would all swim around in the tray, but once they establish themselves, it’s more like rinsing grass. As I mentioned, I’m leaving the disastrous sunflower seed part of this experiment out… In the photos below, I have mung beans, alfalfa, and flax seeds. Note that the flax seeds were… how should I say this… a pain in the ass! They get all slimy and slippery, and they stick to everything. Tasty though!
Here’s what they looked like on Day One, just peeping out of their shells:
Day Two – it was so fast, I felt like you could see them grow! Next time – time lapse video!
Day Three – here where they start peeping out of the Geo trays.
I was pretty excited at this point. Note that the mung beans were probably done here… I grew them a little too long I think. They started rooting, and lost their sweetness.
Day Four – I popped them in the fridge, and we made sandwiches almost immediately! Like I said, the mung should have been fridged sooner. The alfalfa were fantastic, though!
Anyone else wan to to kick your heels up and SPROUT?! Come on now… don’t forget to say you will…
- Sprouts! A fitting start to my quest to get fit in Italy (#fitaly) (marriedtoitaly.com)