If your house and garden is bursting at the seams with plants, but your green thumb is still itching, consider to grow sprouts. Sprouts can be grown year round and nearly any seed that grows edible plants can be sprouted for eating. Growing sprouts with your children is a great way to introduce them to the fun of gardening.
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During World War I, the British Army grew sprouts as a preventative against scurvy. In 1940, the US Army studied how to grow sprouts to provide soldiers in the field with a fresh food source during war.
Some sprouts even can be grown on moist paper towels. However, the most common way to grow sprouts is in a quart jar. Purchasing seeds that are designated for sprouting is one of the most important parts of knowing how to grow sprouts. Seeds for sprouting differ from the seeds you normally plant in your garden since garden seeds may be pre-treated with chemicals to help them perform well in your garden.
The two most common seeds for sprouting are alfalfa seeds and mung beans. These, as well as clover, radish, sunflower, and cabbage sprouts are generally eaten raw. To grow sprouts for cooking, try kidney, pinto, or other beans. In addition, lentils, soybeans, green peas and wheat sprouts can be eaten either raw or cooked.
The first step in how to grow sprouts is to remove any broken or damaged seeds.
Damaged seeds won't sprout; they'll rot, ferment, and ruin your whole sprout garden. You'll need enough seeds to cover the bottom of a one-quart jar. Depending on the type of sprout you're growing, it may be as few as one tablespoon or as many as one-quarter cup of seed. However, remember that your sprouts will increase up to eight times in size.
Next, soak your seeds for two to twelve hours (depending on the size of the seed) to allow it to absorb as much water as it can.
Soaking softens the outer shell of the seed and makes it easier for sprouts to germinate. Drain the seeds thoroughly, rinse them one more time, and cover the opening of your jar with a piece of cheesecloth or nylon stocking, securing it with a jar ring or a rubber band.
Don't use canning lids to cover your sprout jar. Your sprouts need plenty of fresh air! Invert the jar to provide continued drainage and air circulation, making sure the seeds are along the sides of it.
Be sure your seeds aren't sitting in water. Sprouts need to be kept moist, but sitting in water will also make them rot. Keep your sprout garden in a dark place for the next four to seven days, taking it out two or three times a day to repeat the rinsing and moistening process. Now you know how to grow sprouts!
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