Sick of winter?
Are you staring longingly at your garden?
Do you wish to grow and eat something fresh now?
If so, have you tried spouting?
Sprouting is one of the easiest preparedness techniques you could do. It does not require much. It doesn’t require a lot of time either. In fact, if you were to start growing sprouts today, you could have some fresh greens to eat in just a few days. For the very reason that you can grow vitamin-rich foods so quickly makes sprouting a very important prepping skill. I even hesitate to call it a “skill”…because it is soooooo easy to do! Anyone…yes…ANYONE…can do it.
All you need are seeds suitable for sprouting, a wide-mouth glass jar, a piece of clean cloth (such as cheesecloth) or fine netting, and a rubber band or string to secure the cloth onto the jar opening.
Here are some suggestions of different seeds you can sprout:
- beans (kidney, mung, navy, pinto, soybeans)
- peas, chick peas, and black eyed peas
- radish seeds
- grain seeds (wheat, oats, barley, rye)
- (with a quick internet search, one will discover many other possibilities as well)
To grow some sprouts, place about 2 tablespoons of clean seeds into the jar and cover the opening with the cloth. Secure the cloth onto the jar with a rubber band or string. Fill the jar halfway with water and soak the seeds overnight. In the morning, strain out the water through the cloth. Rinse the seeds through the cloth and strain out the water again. Do this 3 times a day for about 3-5 days until your spouts have grown. They soon should be ready to harvest.
One should know, however, that there are some concerns with food contamination when it comes to sprouts. The conditions which grow sprouts are also favorable for growing harmful bacteria. It is therefore important to start with clean seeds from a reliable source, and make sure that you follow the directions on rinsing three times daily to help keep the bacteria from growing. Also try to avoid any standing water in the jar. (The seeds should be moist, not wet.) I have grown sprouts several times without any problems, but as a disclaimer, it is important to educate yourself on the risks associated with eating raw sprouts. (Click here to learn more.) If you choose not to take the risk, the USDA advises that you may cook the sprouts before eating which would kill any bacteria present.
However, I will admit that I love raw sprouts. I eat them in salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, egg dishes and in other culinary delights. Sprouts pack a punch when it comes to vitamins and minerals. For example, alfalfa sprouts are a source of 21 essential vitamins and minerals.1 As for another example, one cup of mung bean sprouts contains about a quarter of one’s daily Vitamin C requirements.2 (For more nutritional information on various sprouts, both raw and cooked, click here.)
As said before, sprouting does not require a lot of resources or a lot of time. If you decide to add spouting to your preps, you may wish in the future to invest in sprouting trays or in specially designed lids which just screw onto the tops of the jars that you intend to use. Besides those options, another possible idea was put forth by the blog “Boulder Locavore.” This post on their site gives instructions on how you can make your own sprouting jars with screened lids. (I wish I could take credit for this idea…it’s genius!) In any case, the most important part of it all is the quality of the seeds, and it is important to make sure that they come from a reputable source. Doing so cuts down greatly the chances of getting a bad crop, and there are many good sources out there.
For me, sprouts are ideal when it comes to providing nutrition…fast. That is precisely why I believe sprouting is such a valuable preparedness skill. Very few skills are as easy as this one, which is another reason why I feel it is worth giving it a try.