How To Grow Sprouting Seeds
Sprouting seeds to use at home has many benefits. These include the high vitamin content, ease and relative convenience of growing microgreens at home. Grow your own sprouting seeds and you’ll enjoy you very own healthy microgreen harvest in nearly no time at all.
Why should we eat sprouted seeds?
The practice of sprouting seeds has many useful cooking advantages at home. Seeds in themselves contain anything from 7-40% protein and when sprouted their vitamin and mineral content increases markedly.
For example, in sprouting oats, vitamin B6 increases 500%, folic acid 600%, inositol 100%, B1 10% and B2 1350%. Indigestible material such as alkaloids are transformed and the water content is increased, thus making sprouts more digestible. They are an invaluable source of winter greens and are also extremely economical.
Any seeds, legumes or grains can be sprouted (with one exception of potato and tomato seeds, they are poisonous) but make sure they are untreated as some seeds used in horticulture are coated in fungicides etc.
Sprouting Seeds (Microgreens) Step by Step Guide
Here’s how to grow sprouting seeds one step at a time:
- Measure seeds and pick them over for broken seeds as these tend to ferment.
- Generally add 4 cups of water to 1 cup of seeds and soak overnight.
- Drain with the exception of soy bean water, you can use the liquid for soups or beverages. It has been claimed that the addition of 1-2 teaspoons of kelp increases the available iodine and minerals in the sprouts.
- Put the seeds, after rinsing thoroughly in a sprouting container, large enough for growth and air circulation.
- Then put your seeds for sprouting in a warm dark place.
Sprouting seeds must be placed in a warm and dark place, this can be a warmed cupboard, an oven with the light only left on and the door slightly ajar or just near a light bulb. If you use the latter two alternatives be sure to wrap the container in cloth to exclude the light. Or you can purchase specialist sprouting equipment.
Some sprouts sould be harvested before the leaves are developed e.g. sunflower seeds are best when the root is as long as the seed. Wheat and other grains should have their leaves underdeveloped and the root short. However, alfalfa sprouts and other such seeds should have at least two green leaves. This is obtained by putting the sprouts into the sun for a few hoours to ‘green the off’. It is necessary to rinse the sprouts from 2-4 times a day.
How to grow sprouting seeds in a jar
One container you can use is a jar, the opening covered with a piece of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band and upended a an angle in a saucer.
Alternatively, wash an unglazed flower pot thoroughly. Cut a piece of plastic screen or two layers of nylon net to fit over the hole in the bottom and place seeds on top. You can cover the top with damp towels. Just rinse through the pot and sit to drain in a saucer. It is important to keep sprouting equipment clean so the seeds do not ferment, scrub out the pot thoroughly and place in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes to sterilize.
Sprouting seeds to grow
Alfalfa are considered the king of the sprouts being high in vitamins D, E, G, K and U. They are also high in minerals and have a high content of chlorophyll and are about 35% protein. Wheat and rye sprouts are excellent to put in bread, particularly rye as it has a yeast action on the dough. It’s always a good idea to purchase organically certified seed options.