Spouting seeds is a great way to have fresh food in winter or any time of the year. Let's face it, when you live in Vermont, lettuce trucked in from California is not that fresh. The lively flavor of sprouts you just pulled from your sprouter is a great source of fresh nutrients. They are delicious added to a salad or sandwich.
Growing sprouts provide a wonderful way to connect with nature. All you need to do is give the seeds fresh water daily and watch the magic happen. In about 1 week, you've got fresh food. No growing lights required.
A sprouting jar is a great gift for a child! Growing sprouts for the family can foster feelings of confidence and contribution. They are a great science lesson and as well as a lesson in where food comes from.
It is important to give your sprouts a cool rinse every day and let the water drain out. If they get too dry or sit in water, they will fail. I like to put mine by the sink which makes it very easy to remember to water them when I do the dishes. A really cool room may delay sprouting.
Growing Sprouts in a Wide Mouth Canning Jar
Place 1 - 2 teaspoons of sprouting seeds in your jar. Fill the jar about 1/2 full of cool water and give it a gentle swish and swirl to rinse and irrigate the seeds/emerging sprouts. Let the jar drain. Repeat daily.
You can also make your own sprouting lid by cutting a circle of a couple layers of cheese cloth or 100% organic cotton fabric a couple inches larger than the lid and use the canning ring to hold it on.
Note: Some cotton fabric may contain chemical residues best kept away from your food.
Seeds for Sprouting - Some seeds meant for growing in soil are treated with chemicals to help them sprout or protect them from insects or disease. Make sure you get seeds intended for sprouting. Many food co-ops or "natural food stores" carry them.
Sprouting seeds are readily available online.
High Mowing Seeds has a great selection of sprouting seeds and is one of my preferred companies for all kinds of seeds. You can also get them at Johnny's Seeds, another great business I know and trust.
Growing Sprouts in a Tiered Sprouter
I love that you can grow in three individual tiers that allow a staggered harvest and the ability to grow several types of seeds at the same time.
Add a heaping teaspoon of seeds to one tray of the sprouter. Assemble the tiers. Add water and allow it to drain. Remember to empty the drain pan at the bottom. Repeat daily. I like to start a new tray every 3 or 4 days for a continual supply of fresh sprouts.
My favorite tiered model is the Bioset Sprouter
Sprout are usually ready to eat in 5 - 7 days. I usually wrap them lightly in an absorbent kitchen glass towel and put that in an airtight plastic container. They tend to retain some water from the sprouter and keep better with the towel in there - keeping them damp but not wet.