Saturday, February 19, 2011

Growing Sprouts

I recently grew a batch of sprouts because it's winter and it feels good to grow something.  Plus, it's fun watching sprouts like you're reunion with your Kindergartener self planting a bean in a Dixie cup.  Back home I used to sprout in a mason jar fitted with a screen and a canning ring, but in here in Japan I've figured out a system that works just as well.  You just need 5 things: a clean clear glass jar, a piece of mesh, a rubber band, sprouting seeds, and water.
Sprouting seeds can be found at any health-co-op-Whole-foodie kind of shop in the bulk/spice area.  Here I'm using a mix of mung bean, alfalfa, radish, and broccoli seeds.  Place a teaspoon of seeds per 6 oz volume of your jar and cover with several inches of water.  Note: at first this won't seem like enough but the sprouts fatten up and will eventually fill your container.  Rinse the seeds well and drain off the water, then top with several inches of cool water and soak overnight.  The next morning cover the mouth of the jar with a lid fitted with screening or if you're like me, several layers of mesh secured with a rubber band.  Drain the water.
Place the jar in a bowl that allows for the excess water to drain and place in a spot that receives that receives indirect sunlight.  Twice a day rinse the seed/sprouts with water, swish, and drain. 
Keep the seeds from sitting in water by periodically emptying the bowl of water.  Incidentally, the seeds don't actually need sunlight to sprout and to reduce the chance of mold growth it's best to keep them cool and give them plenty of air circulations.  When the first set of leaves begin appearing you can give the sprouts a little light to develop more healthy chlorophyll, then store them in the fridge where they'll keep a week.   The entire sprouting process take 5-7 days by the end of which you should have something that looks like this:
I know that a while back there was and E.coli scare involving sprouts which lead to their unfortunate removal from my brother-and-I's beloved Carl's Jr. Chicken Club sandwich.  But from what I've gathered—all will be well—as long as you take simple precautions to keep the sprouts cool and well drained.  Happy Sprouting!

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