Saturday, March 12, 2011

Giving Sprouting a Second Chance

With sprouts, I've recently discovered bigger is better. Years ago my sister Tessa gave me a set of perforated plastic lids for making my own sprouts in mason jars. I was excited to get into sprout production, but didn't get very far before giving up. I found that the sprouts were always going bad before I could eat them all, maybe because I didn't find them all that delicious. I was sprouting a mix of small seeds – mustard, alfalfa, etc.

I can't remember what prompted me to take another stab at it this winter. Probably it was seeing those plastic lids taking up in my drawer and never being used. Or maybe Tessa raving to me during one evening phone call about some lentil sprouts she had made. And therein lies the secret: lentils. And mung beans. And chickpeas. Big things that grow into toothy, filling, earthy, delicious sprouts that are so yummy on salads.

If I can stick to my salad-a-day routine, I'll have no problem eating them up while they're fresh! It's such a treat to be able to eat something I've grown myself even on these gray wintery days. Fun to get to watch little green sprouts poke out in advance of our spring garden adventures (what are we going to plant this year?)

The jar lids are probably available in many kitchen stores. You can also get a sprouter which uses stackable trays, so you can make several kinds at once, and in larger quantities. My mom used to have one of these when I was a kid, and my sister prefers this kind. For now I'm happy with the jars, as I like sprouting just a little of each kind of bean, to enjoy over a couple of days.

Here's how to make your own:

  1. Put a few tablespoons of beans into a large jar.
  2. Fill jar with water, swish around to rinse, and fill again. Let beans soak in jar overnight.
  3. In the morning, pour out the water and then refill, swish, and pour it out again.
  4. Each morning and evening, rinse the sprouts as in step 3.
  5. You can begin eating the sprouts around day 2 and continue to day 4, eating them at various stages of sprouting. This ensures they're always fresh and eliminates the need for storing them after sprouting. I've been sprouting small quantities that I can eat up in two or three days.
So far I've tried green lentils, mung beans, and chickpeas and loved them all. I expect you could use any kind of dried bean. I'm taking suggestions for what to try next!


moyrad said...

Meg, this is a crazy coincidence! I have just accidentally sprouted some french lentils. I did steps one and two and left them in a bowl (loosely covered in plastic wrap)in the fridge and today I noticed they sprouted. I'm so glad you posted otherwise I would have probably thrown them away.

We are going to add them to our salad tonight! Yay!

Meg Whetung said...

That's so cool! I'm happy to have saved some accidentally-sprouted lentils from the trash :) Hope your salad was yummy. You'll have to let me know what you thought of them...