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Sprouting Seeds

Sprouts are tasty and good for us: packed with vitamins A, C and E, iron, potassium and amino acids as well as being the best ultra-local (your home) supply of off-season greens. Wispy, delicate Alfalfa Sprouts have a mild, slightly nutty flavor, adding a fresh green crunch to salads and sandwiches. (You must try Manfred’s Popeye & Olive Oil Sandwich.) A millennial pantry staple in Asia, Mung Bean Sprouts have a crunchy heft that is essential in all kinds of astounding recipes, from stir-fries and spring rolls to soups and side dishes. There are commercial sprouters available, but the old jar method works just fine. Fit mason jars with a screen for rinsing and draining sprouts or simply use cheese cloth stretched and held in place over the jar mouth with an elastic. The process of seed sprouting is easy. And it goes like this: Rinse. Soak. Drain. Rinse. Soak. Drain. Repeat. Detailed growing instructions are posted HERE and come with every order. Measure out enough seed to cover the bottom of the jar. Clean, cull and rinse seeds with tepid water before soaking. After soaking, drain out the water: the seed should be damp but not wet. Put the jar out of direct sunlight (it could cook the seeds). Every 8-12 hours, add enough water to cover the seeds then drain the water out, leaving the seeds damp but not wet. Provide good air circulation and a consistent 70°F for optimum sprouting (cooler temps retard sprouting and warmer temps push too hard). Prior to harvest, give the Sprouts a little light so that they can green-up. Give a good, thorough final rinsing to remove any remaining hulls. Drain well prior to refrigeration. Use fresh for up to a week or two. Interested in sprouting more types of seed? You can also use the seed of Arugula, Black Turtle Beans, Broccoli, Onions, Peas, Radishes and Watercress for more zesty sproutings. These flavorful, tangy Sprouts are an amazing addition to baby leaf salads and as an haute cuisine garnish strewn atop special main dishes. You can get so creative with Sprouts~a secret ingredient to mystify and fascinate your dinner guests.

Average seed life: 3 years.

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Gardening Tips

Pea Shoots Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/8”
Seed Spacing:1/4”
Days to Germination:5-10 days
Germination Temperature:60°-70°F
Shoot Shelf Life:1-2 weeks

Unlike most sprouts, Pea Shoots are grown in shallow flats of soil in bright sunlight. When the stems are 4 to 10 inches tall with small leaves and tendrils, munch on them raw, toss them into salads, lightly sauté them or make Pea Shoot Pesto for a wonderfully fresh, sweet and delicate Pea flavor! To speed germination, soak the dried Peas in lots of water for 24 hours before sowing. The peas will swell and double in size. Fill a shallow tray or flat with moist all-purpose potting mix up to about an inch below the rim of the container. Avoid any potting medium that contains chicken or cow manure, as it can harbor harmful bacteria. Drain the Peas and spread them across the surface of the soil, with the Peas about 1⁄4" apart. Press the Peas into the soil surface gently to ensure good contact between the Peas and the soil. Water the soil again gently, with a mister or gentle watering can, taking extra care to not overwater if the tray does not have drainage holes. Cover the tray with another flat or a piece of dark plastic to keep the Peas in the dark and conserve moisture. Place the tray in a warm spot indoors or in a shady spot outdoors until the Peas begin to sprout, in about 2 to 3 days. Check the flat regularly for signs of growth. Water lightly whenever the soil surface feels dry. As the Peas sprout, uncover the flat and move it into brighter light. Begin harvesting when the sprouts are 3" to 4" tall up to about 10" tall, depending on how tender or small you prefer them. Cut the shoots 1" to 2" above the surface of the soil, avoiding any contact between the harvested shoots and the soil surface. Eat them right away or store the shoots, dry and unrinsed, in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Rinse them thoroughly just before use.

Countertop Sprouts Gardening

There are many commercial sprouters out there, but the old jar method works just fine. You can fit mason jars with a special screen or simply use cheese cloth stretched and held in place over the jar mouth with an elastic. Measure out the appropriate amount of seed to sprout (if you have a sprouter, follow the directions that came with it. If using the jar method, add enough seed to just cover the bottom of the jar). Clean, cull (throw out non seeds) and rinse seeds with tepid water before soaking. To soak, add tepid, non-chlorinated water, (3 parts water to 1 part seed) and let soak for the appropriate amount of time for the seed you are sprouting. Discard any non-seed material that floats up. After soaking, drain out the water: the seed should be damp but not wet. Put the jar out of direct sunlight, which could cook the seeds. Every 8 to 12 hours add enough water to cover the seeds and swish around to get all the seeds wet. Drain the water out, leaving the seeds damp but not wet. All sprouts need good air circulation, and a consistent 70°F temperature for optimum sprouting: cooler temps retard sprouting and warmer temps push too hard. Most sprouting seeds do not need light in the early sprouting stages but for the last two days before sprout use they should have some diffused light so they can green up a bit. Check each variety for the approximate days to harvest.

For the final rinsing, fill the entire sprouting container with water. Most of the Sprouts will shed their hulls or seed coats during this final rinsing for skimming off. Thoroughly drain the sprouts for 6 to 8 hours prior to refrigerating them. Store Sprouts dry-to-the-touch in airtight containers. Sterilize your sprouter between crops: mix a capful of bleach to a pint of water, soak for 15 to 20 minutes, scrub well and rinse thoroughly!

Countertop Sprouts Gardening