- I’m new to sprouting. What is the easiest sprout to start with?
Most of them are really easy. Perhaps the easiest is a mix like Spicy Lentil Crunch or Crunch Bean Mix. They’re ready in just three days, and very trouble free. Red clover and alfalfa are also easy to grow.
- What are the nutritional benefits of sprouts?
Nutrition of sprouts is an exciting area. New information is being released all the time, as scientists continue to study the health benefits of this ancient food. There is basic information (on some sprouts) in a searchable scientific format available from the USDA here.
3. I am growing radish sprouts, but the roots are covered with fine white hairs that looks like mould. Should I throw them out?
Your sprouts are just fine. Radish and some other related plants (such as broccoli) will send out fine white root hairs searching for moisture if conditions are a little dry. Try watering a little more. If you see green or black fuzz though, discard the area with a good margin around it.
4. Is it necessary to remove all, or most, of the hulls from my sprout? Is there an easier way than picking them off by hand?
There is absolutely no problem with leaving the hulls, other than looks. They just add fiber. A good way to remove most of the hulls easily is to stir the finished sprouts in a large sink of cool water, then skim off the hulls and lift out the sprouts with some rinsing. If the sprouts are going to be in the fridge for a long time, removing most of the hulls will improve keeping quality. Drain the sprouts well before storing (a salad spinner is a quick way to do this).
5. If I buy more economical amount of sprouting seeds, they will lose their germination.
Sprouting seeds are very durable, as long as they kept cool and dry. Most seeds will keep for years. Some seeds like onion and leek, and perhaps sunflower, are more delicate, with a lift of about a year at room temperature. This time can be greatly extended, though, if you can keep the seed in a moisture proof container in a freezer or refrigerator. Freezing is a good idea for any of the more expensive seeds that you won’t be able to use in a few months.
6. What is the difference between short sprouts and shoots?
This usually refers to seeds like peas. They can be sprouted for two or three days until the sprout is about
0.5 cm (1/4’’) long, or they can be grown on paper towels or baby blanket until they reach 3 to 6 inch tall shoots. The taste and uses are quite different. Short sprouts can be eaten out of hand, added to salads, or cooked. Shoots are eaten as snacks, used as garnishes, or added to sandwiches, etc.
- Where to get safe soil to grow my sunflower and pea shoots?
You don’t need soil to grow sunflower and pea shoots, or buckwheat lettuce and grain grass crops for that matter. Just grow in a tray type sprouter, watering well twice a day. If you do want to use oil, make sure it’s free of pesticides or artificial fertilizer. Some smaller seeded plants do seem to do slightly better when grown with soil. We now carry Baby Blanket, a natural felted mat, that can replace soil as a substrate for seeds. In combination with SeaSpray natural kelp fertilizer, you can have the advantages of soil sprouting without the mess.
- What is the best way to store finished sprouts?
· Like any nutritious food, always store sprouts cool, in the refrigerator.
· Make sure your sprouts have some time to air dry after the last rinsing, before storage.
· Most plastic containers will work well for storing sprouts, especially if you can leave a small crack under the lid for excess moisture to evaporate. Plastic bags don’t work well because it’s difficult to leave a small opening. For really long term storage you can put some paper towel or other absorbent material on the bottom. Excess moisture is the biggest enemy of stored sprouts.
· The SproutMaster sprouters, and some other tray types, come with a top and bottom and can be sued as a crisper in the fridge, if the sprouts aren’t taller that the tray. You can allow jars to drain well after the last rinsing, then cover loosely with poly and store diectly in the fridge.
· Store up to 10 days or longer, but discard if any signs of mould, bad smells, or deteriorated sprouts shop up.
- When is a sprout a microgreen?
Microgreens is a new and trendy name for sprouts farther on their way to becoming plants. Usually they are grown for a longer time than sprouts, 10 to 15 days. They may be grown with water or with Baby Blanket, or soil substitute.