We've had some lovely weather this weekend. The mornings have been cold but by the afternoon it's been sunny and warm, in the 70's - in February. I'm tired of cold winter weather, and this weather is just making me itch for spring. I want to plant something, even though it's weeks too early.
I'm also hungry for fresh food. When I was recently contacted by the folks at Mercola.com about trying some of their sprouting products I was glad to have a reason to grow something green. I've sprouted seeds in Mason jars a few times before, but I tend to forget to rinse them often enough and usually end up with dried-out dead sprouts, or at the other end of the spectrum, moldy sprouts. They wanted me to try sprouting seeds in soil instead. It's supposed to be easier and less time-consuming. I read their informative article on sprouting and was ready to give it a try.
They sent me a set of sprouting trays - a top tray with slots that fits inside a second, solid-bottomed tray for easy watering - and a package of broccoli seeds from High Mowing Organic Sprouting Seeds. I like the fact that High Mowing Seeds grows their own non-GMO, certified organic seeds.
I followed the simple directions, and soaked a tablespoon of broccoli seeds in water for 24 hours, then rinsed them well. Then I placed about an inch of organic potting soil in the top tray, the one with the slots in the bottom. I knew that sprouting a whole tray would be way too many sprouts, so I just filled half of the tray with soil. I placed the soaked seeds on top of the soil. I might have soaked too many, they covered the soil thickly in clumps. Well, I learn by doing. If I planted too many seeds, then next time I'd use fewer.
Next I lifted the top tray and added about three cups of water to the bottom tray, and replaced the top tray on top. It was really that easy. (The recommended amount of water is four cups, but since I didn't plant the entire tray, I used less water.)
I put the tray in an unused bedroom on a table in front of the window. It's a north-facing window, not ideal, but my cats aren't allowed in this room so it was the best location I had.
|Day One - the seeds sprouted the day after I planted them!|
This whole process was so easy. I just watered them once a day - and took photos. On the first day after planting, I didn't even water them because I felt there was plenty of water still in the bottom tray. I did turn the tray around each day so the sprouts had consistent light, but that probably wasn't necessary. Watering once a day and turning the tray was so much easier than trying to remember to rinse a jar of seeds several times a day.
On the fifth day I harvested the sprouts by cutting them about half an inch above the soil. I rinsed my sprouts thoroughly with water to remove all the dust and soil, then dried them well by bouncing them in a strainer and then letting them hang out on a towel for a bit. I gave the soil and the roots to my pair of Muscovy ducks; they hunted through the soil for the fresh green roots.
Broccoli sprouts are delicious on salads and sandwiches. I'm looking forward to a chicken salad sandwich topped with sprouts, something I haven't tried before but sounds delicious. I'm going to try them in my daily green smoothies too.
The sprouts were so bright and green, very healthy, and they even smelled fresh like spring. I had no problems with mold or with the sprouts drying out, which was a relief after my previous attempts.
Broccoli sprouts emit ethylene gas which causes ripening and spoilage, so sprouts should be used as soon as possible. Leftovers can be stored in a bowl in the refrigerator for up to a week. Don't put broccoli sprouts in a bag; it will trap the gas and cause them to spoil even faster.
I'm pleased that I was successful at sprouting seeds this time. I'll be using this method in the future; it's so much easier than sprouting in jars. In just a few days I had an abundance of fresh organic green sprouts to eat in the middle of winter. Plus it satisfied my need to grow something when it was still too early to plant garden seeds.
Disclaimer: The products mentioned above have been given to me to review, and without any form of compensation. The opinions in this post are solely my own, and have not been influenced by Mercola.com and/or other parties. I understand that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated any of the statements mentioned above. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health condition. Pregnant women, nursing moms, and people who are taking medications or have a medical condition should consult their physician before using this product.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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