Dear Gardener who can hardly wait for spring. Take this quiz:
- What am I?
- I am a fresh vegetable that needs no garden soil.
- I can be eaten within four to seven days.
- Minimal care is needed to grow me.
- I must be grown in a closet or dark area.
- My seeds keep for years.
- I am not a mushroom.
If you guessed sprouts, give yourself an A. Growing spouts is fun and easy. I used to grow sprouts all the time, then stopped about eleven years ago. Hungry for them (especially mung bean sprouts in my egg omelets – Egg Foo Yung), I tried to buy some fresh sprouts at the grocery stores. No luck. Ditto at the smaller markets.
Opening my refrigerator, I found three different bags of seeds left over from my last sprouting years ago. I figured some seeds might still be viable, so I put about a tablespoon of each into separate glass jars, soaked them for six hours, then dumped off the water through a strainer, and put the jars into my cupboard. It was just that easy to start growing sprouts again.
Here’s The Secret to Growing Sprouts
The trick is to keep the seeds from completely drying out but not sitting in water and rotting. Do this by rinsing them in cold water in the morning, at night, and two to three times a day and pouring off the water. Always return them to the cupboard and close the door. Sprouts like to grow in the dark.
By day two little sprouts began to show, tiny ones on my alfalfa seeds and large ones on the mung beans. To prove the viability of seeds kept in closed bags in the refrigerator, I didn’t find any of them that didn’t sprout, even after all those years.
You can let them grow small leaves if you want to. I usually cap my jar and put it in the refrigerator to stop the sprouting process just as the leaves begin to develop. I had my first egg omelet with bean sprouts five days after starting to grow them. My salad mix of small seeds went into pocket bread. I mixed some of the alfalfa sprouts into my green salad.
Growing sprouts really adds to your fresh food supply. All it takes is some seeds, a mesh strainer, and a glass jar. I use distilled water to avoid fluoride and the rest of the chemicals added to city water, so rinsed my sprouts in that.
WARNING: Only buy sprouting seeds that are meant for sprouting. You can get mung beans and alfalfa seeds at Amazon. Seed companies often treat garden planting seeds with a poison to prevent bugs from eating the seeds. So buy your seeds from a company that sells food-grade (safe) seeds for sprouting.
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A USA Today bestselling author, Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse’s nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. Nancy spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said “Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes.” It is light and humorous. Nancy currently has over 30 books written, both modern and western. All her stories are sweet and wholesome.