Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Incredible, Edible Sprout

Yellowstone blew up right after an asteroid wiped out most of Asia and the government freaked out and turned the Middle East to glass blaming it all on the terrorists. You and your TEOTWAWKI posse survived it all in your Titan missile silo that you bought for $500 at a government auction that no one else showed up for. With a few years worth of Mountain House, MREs and beans and rice you're set for a while. Unfortunately, the truckload of heirloom seeds that you've got stored away are practically worthless since you probably won't see sunlight for at least a decade thanks to the choking clouds of ash and nuclear winter. Or are they?

You might not be able to plant a garden with them for a while but you can still sprout them. Even if it's not TEOTWAWKI sprouts are nutritious, tasty, easy to grow and require little to no sunlight. Most seeds aren't very nutritious because they're hard to digest. When they're sprouted everything in the seed becomes easily digestible when the complex compounds that make up the seed are transformed into simple vitamins, minerals, amino acids and proteins among other things.

Not all sprouts are raised exactly the same. It's best to do your own research on each individual type of sprout that you'd like to learn how to grow. They might have their own little nuances as far as how often to rinse, how long to soak and how long to let them grow for but for the most part they all use the same basics. There are a lot of different methods that you can use. I'm going to tell you the cheapest and simplest way.

To get started all you need is a glass or food grade plastic container. Old pasta sauce jars or big mouthed canning jars work great. So do sour cream or cottage cheese containers. You can put holes in the lid or you can cut out the center of it and replace it with a screen or cloth. Just make sure that the jar can breathe. Cover the bottom of the jar with seeds and then fill it 2/3 with water. Let them soak in a dark, room temperature place for 8 - 24 hours (depending on the seed). Once they're properly soaked drain the water (might want to save it since it soaked up a lot of vitamins and minerals). Rinse your seeds by filling the jar with water, swishing it around a bit and draining it. Then put the jar full of wet seeds back in your dark, room temperature spot. Depending on the type of seed and how humid your locale is you'll want to rinse them 2-4 times per day. After a few days you should have sprouts. Simple huh?

There are a few things to consider. They'll rot fast if you leave them in standing water so you'll want to make sure that the jar is completely drained every time you rinse. You can also set up some kind of screen to hold your sprouts off of the bottom of the jar. If you try a batch and your sprouts rot then rinse more often in the future and be more careful when you drain the rinse water.

Hardcore sprouters will tell you to use dedicated sprouting seeds. Some gardening seeds are sprayed with fungucides or other chemicals. After a day of soaking I would think that they would be mostly washed off. You'll end up rinsing them a couple dozen times before you eat them so I don't see how it would be that big of a deal. It can't be any worse than the crap that they spray on produce from the supermarket. They'll also tell you not to use seeds and beans that are packaged for food. My first foray into sprouting was with some lentils that I had in the cupboard so I don't buy this one, either. Some sprouts are also poisonous. Some of them are only OK once you cook them. Others aren't OK to eat at all. Once again, do your research. Now is the time to experiment with this stuff.

This is just one more simple skill that everyone could learn how to do. There really is nothing to it once you get the basics down. It's something that you can put to good use starting today. They're very good for you and you can use them to spruce up just about any meal. Find out which ones you like and store those seeds. After a few weeks of eating storage foods some fresh sprouts would be a welcome change.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have never sprouted in the dark.
Mine just sit on the kitchen counter, sometimes it's even in
direct sunlight. Been doing it that way for years.

The Urban Survivalist said...

You can do it that way but it can produce off flavors. Remember that seeds are designed to sprout while in soil....which is in the dark. When they're exposed to sunlight they produce chlorophyll. No biggie but it's nice to know that you can have some semblance of fresh vegetables even when you're in total "the sun aint comin out anytime soon" TEOTWAWKI.

Little House on the ... said...

If you eat seeds that have been treated with a fungicide you are out of your mind - as many fungicides are mercury compounds.

A major difference between seed and sprouting seed are that sprouts are tested for salmonella and planting seed is not. The other is that the germination rate for sprouting seed is held to a higher standard.