You can grow a farm of sprouts in your kitchen that will produce delicious miniature vegetables year'round.
Just think. If the English had known about sprouts, they might have been able to keep their sailors from getting scurvy. Of course, their sailors from getting scurvy. Of course, they finally discovered limes, which provided a nickname. If they'd known about sprouts, the sailors probably would've been called sprouties.
Sprouts are rich in vitamin C, which prevents scurvy. Even though the seeds have no vitamin C at the start, something happens during sprouting, when the potential energy in the seeds is transformed into life: the vitamin C increases.
The glass jar is one of the easiest and least expensive ways of sprouting seeds. You soak the seeds overnight, rinse them and put them into quart jars. Put cheesecloth over the tops and hold it in place with rubber bands. This makes the rinsing easier, because it can be done right through the cheesecloth.
The seeds have to be rinsed twice a day with cool, fresh water, and the jar should be stored in a cool, dark place. In a few days to a week, depending on your seeds, you'll have crisp, tasty sprouts to add to soups, salads and stir-fried vegetables. You can even chop some up and add them to bread dough.
If yhou want a sprout farm, you'll have to start a jar every few days. That way there'll be a constant supply of sprouts, and -- if you change the seed -- a great variety of them.
Bean sprouts, either mung or soy, are classic. They're the ones you find in Chinese restaurants. A quart jar will hold half to three-quarters of a cup. If you put too many seeds in the jar, they won't have room to sprout. Since soybeans ferment, keep them in the refrigerator while they're sprouting. Bean sprouts are usually eaten when they're an inch and a half to two inches long.
Alfalfa sprouts are thin and delicious if you let them grow long enough to get small leaves. A quart jar needs only two to three tablespoons of alfalfa seeds to fill up with sprouts. Put them in a sunny window for the last day or two, and the tiny leaves will turn green. Alfalfa sprouts are good on sandwiches -- more unusual and nutritious than lettuce. They stay crisp longer, too.
Chickpea sprouts taste nutty, and they're more nutritous than chickpeas. Some sources say they produce viamin B-12 in sprouting.I can't prove it, but if it's true, they're one of very few vegetable sources for this vitamin.
A cup will fill a quart jar with sprouts. They're eaten when the sprouts are half-an-inch long, and they add a Middle Eastern touch to all kinds of foods. They make a nice salad with mushrooms and garlic, and are good packed into flat bread with shredded cheese, onions and tomatoes.
Most edible beans and seeds can be sprouted, but be sure they're not treated with any poisonous fungicides.
Sprouted lentils are tasty, and so are peas.
Wheat and rye kernels sprout quickly, and they're good in breads, adding a crunchy texture and a sweet, nutlike taste.
Radish seeds grow into hot and spicy sprouts that taste like radishes.
Sunflower seed sprouts are extremely nutritious.
Small sprouts are usually eaten raw, and the larger ones, like soybeans, are usually steamed or stir-fried. They'll keep a few days in the refrigerator after they've grown to a proper size, and you can start figuring all kinds of new ways to eat them.