23 Jan Sprouts
If you want to add crisp flavour to your summer salads you cannot go past fresh sprouts. Sprouts are full of valuable vitamins and are so easy to grow there is no excuse for not giving it a go at home.
There are various sprouting apparatus out there from simple jars or trays to complex, self-watering/rinsing models that do all of the work for you. There is no difference in the end result, but some sprouts do work better grown in different ways (eg. snow peas shoots in growing media).
For those of you sprouting the more conventional way such as in a jar or tray you will need to soak the seeds in water overnight in warm water and spread them over each tray or in the jar. Place in a dark, warm position. Some sprouts such as snow peas can be grown in a potting mix and harvested as required by simply cutting.
Rinse sprouts twice daily, morning and night, taking care to drain away any excess water (being sure not to loose the sprouts down the drain!). If sprouting in a jar a piece of flyscreen over the top and held in place with a rubber band can be helpful. They will be ready from 3 days onwards. Store refrigerated. With sprouts it is best to grow a little often, rather than produce huge amounts, which will go bad in the fridge.
Varieties to try:
- Mung beans sprouts and soya bean sprouts have a delicate uniquely crunchy texture that goes well with salads and are often used in Asian stir-fries. Soya bean sprouts have a slightly stronger flavour. They are the easiest seeds to sprout. If the seed coats remain attached, soak them and remove.
- Alfalfa To sprout, soak seeds overnight, sieve and rinse. You don’t even need a sprouter, just put several layers of moist paper towel in the base of a jar and cover with a 5mm layer of seed.
- Fenugreek is a spicy aromatic plant from the clover family is helpful in the treatment of sinus. Seeds are used to flavour curries. The fresh green leaf sprout can be used sparingly in a salad to give a spicy tang.
- Sunflower seeds sprouts have a unique sunflower and nutty taste. The kernels can also be eaten in salads or just as a delicious and nutritional snack.
- Mustard is a fast and furious crop that will simply sprout on the windowsill. Great for giving a hot bite to salads, use sparingly and don’t germinate too many at once.
- Snow pea shoots are an old favourite and very simple to grow to give a watery crunch. Sow into shallow trays and harvest as the true leaves appear.
- Onion Alfalfa has the distinct taste of onion. Can be sown in combination with radish and broccoli to mix the flavours.
- Chickpea seeds just sprouted are crisp fresh and add that much needed crunch to a salad. These are definitely a favourite in the taste stakes.
- Radish sprouts have a strong taste of pepper and should be used in moderation.
- Broccoli sprouts have a strong taste of iron but a crisp and watery crunch.
- Adzuki sprouts sprout from vibrant red seeds and have an earthy nutty taste that makes a pretty addition to the salad or sandwich.
- Red lentils sprouts have a soft terracotta colour and creamy nutty flavour. Makes a great snack.
www.mrfothergills.com.au , www.sprout.net.au , www.greenharvest.com.au
Let us know what you like to grow…. comment below!