17 January 2014

Sprouts 2014

Over the course of 2013, I've grown sprouts in my big IKEA jar and it's mostly been successful. However, I've wanted to expand the repertoire for a while and so decided to invest in a sprouter. This is basically 3 clear plastic trays with slotted bottoms where the seeds are placed to sprout and where they can drain and a further tray to catch the drips.

But I bought the whole "starter" kit - with a small book and a selection of seeds. I also bought one kit for Lou, my oldest niece, now that she's a vegan. And I managed to persuade my sister Bip that it's the thing for her as well.

There were a couple of key differences to the method I've used in the past. After soaking, it is very important to rinse the seeds well, preferably under running fresh water. The seeds get churned around and possible dirt and various growth inhibitors they have built in can wash away.

So a couple of days ago, after skimming through the sprouter book, I selected three types of seeds and got the ball rolling - soaking the seeds for 8 h (overnight, so probably a bit more than 8 h). Alfalfa seeds, which came with the sprouter and sesame seeds and sunflower seeds from my own stock for müsli and salads.


In the morning, most of the sunflower and alfalfa seeds had sunk to the bottom and all of the sesame seeds floated on the surface. I believe this means that the sesame seeds weren't viable. I'll need to buy unpeeled sesame seeds.


However, the alfalfa and sunflower seeds worked very well. One thing to keep in mind about sunflower seeds - they should be peeled and not sprouted for more than two days, after that they go bitter and also mould grows on them. At least according to Lou and Bip.

After two days, there was definitely life in the sunflower and alfalfa seeds:



But nothing on the sesame seeds. I decided to keep the alfalfa seeds for a bit longer, but used the sunflower and sesame seeds in a salad. Once two of the sprouter trays were empty, I put on a second batch of sunflower seeds and a larger amount than before. Then I also soaked a handful of almonds. According to the book, these aren't good for sprouting for more than a day, but well worth doing - and they really are tasty as a snack. I've yet to try make them into almond milk. The flavour is a lot milder than the dried almonds and the texture is fantastic - slightly chewy, soft and yet crunchy. It's amazing what a little soaking in water can do to a seed.


Almond "sprouts" aren't very obvious, they swell and the skins might break here and there, but otherwise that's it. And I suspect hazels and walnuts would respond in a similar way, so will try this out in the coming days.

As for the sprouted sunflower seeds, they are a really nice addition to a salad and also quite nice to nibble on straight from the tray too.

I'm now into my third batch of sprouting and it's great fun to do and eat. I'm already considering getting one more sprouter so that we can have some for every day.

A couple of observations - the top tier dries out faster, as it is open at the top. It's a good idea to swap the three trays around after the daily rinse. Also, if it's warm or the air is particularly dry, like in Winter in Sweden, you'd need to rinse/mist the sprouts more than once a day.

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