If you are looking for a really easy vegetable to grow, sprouts are a great choice. My favorite is traditional alfalfa. These are the kind that you can find in the grocery store in a little square plastic container. I’ve tried a few others – bean sprouts I like, especially in an asian flavored stir fry, while kale and broccoli sprouts were just too bitter. There are tons of varieties and mixtures available so it’s easy to experiment if you like something different.
What I like about sprouts is that they are so easy to grow. One week on the kitchen counter and a tablespoon of seeds turns into a pint sized jar packed with sprouts. They are a great addition to salads or could be used as the ‘base” instead of lettuce or other greens. My favorite way to eat sprouts is in a sandwich because they add a lot of crunch! Em loves sprouts too and calls them “crunchy water”, which I thought was fitting. The alfalfa spouts are pretty neutral in flavor and have more of a lettuce taste, while some other varieties can have more of a bite to them or even taste a little bean-like.
I think sprouts are pretty frugal too. When I’ve bought them pre-packaged in the grocery store they cost between $2-$3 for a small package. I purchased a 16 oz. package of organic alfalfa seeds from Amazon for under $15. I’ve made at least 10 batches of sprouts (approx. the same size as what you’d buy ready made at the store) and I still have more than half the package of seeds left. I think that’s a pretty substantial savings for very little time spent. Sprouts are pretty fun to grow with kids too. They get a little bigger each day, so it’s easy to the see the progress. Most kids could probably do the whole growing process on their own, start to finish.
To get started, we need a clean pint sized jar. I like to use a wide mouth mason jar and I purchased a set of sprout toppers that screw on top of the jar. They come in a set of 3 and have different sized holes for sprouting different sized seeds. They are fun and easy, but not necessary. A piece of cheesecloth inside a mason jar ring will work just as well. Or, you could use a recycled glass jar and cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.
Add 1 Tablespoon of sprout seeds to the jar and cover with cool water.
Let this sit overnight. In the morning, drain off the water.
Rinse with fresh water, and drain. Then let the jar sit on the counter for the day.
In the evening, rinse the sprouts with fresh water, drain, and let them sit on the counter again.
Continue this process for the next 4-5 days – rinse with fresh water and drain, morning and night for 4-5 days. At the end of this time, you’ll have a whole jar full of sprouts, ready to eat. On the last day, when the jar is full, I place it in a sunny window so that the sprouts get nice and green.
On the instructions that came with the little sprout lids, it says to rinse the hulls away, but I usually just leave them in there. They don’t bother me and I figure it adds a little extra fiber.
Store the finished sprouts in the refrigerator.