Sprouting Up

    “Sprouting Up,” Ensign, Mar. 1994, 72–73

    Sprouting Up

    Since the beginning of our marriage, we had tried to keep a year’s supply of food. I knew that in a time of need we could survive on our wheat, honey, powdered milk, and canned food. But I sincerely hoped we would never have to be totally dependent on what we had stored.

    Our problem was that our family loves fresh vegetables, and so the thought of having to live on canned food wasn’t very pleasant. Then one day I made a wonderful discovery—sprouts! Our food storage blues were over.

    Not only are sprouts an excellent source of important nutrients, but sprouts are vegetables that will grow in any climate. They will mature in three to five days, and they may be planted any day of the year. They require no soil and do not create any waste in preparation, and they can be cooked with little fuel. Also, the seeds and grains needed to grow sprouts are inexpensive and can be stored indefinitely.

    As I learned more about sprouts, I began using them in the food I prepared. At first the children were wary of the strange little things in their salads, soups, and casseroles. But as family members became familiar with the new tastes, they liked them more and more.

    We have tried many different kinds of sprouts in our family. Some of our favorites are alfalfa, mung beans, lentils, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), wheat, rye, sunflower seeds, and dried green peas. Mustard, barley, fenugreek, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and many other beans or seeds also produce nutritious sprouts.

    You can grow your own fresh, crisp sprouts by following this simple checklist.

    1. Rinse beans or seeds in a strainer.

    2. Put about 3/4 cup of beans or seeds (use only two tablespoons of alfalfa seeds) in a wide-mouth canning jar and fill the jar with water. Cover the opening of the jar with a square of nylon window screen. Secure the screen around the top with a strong rubber band.

    3. Let the beans or seeds soak for fifteen hours in a warm place.

    4. Pour out the water.

    5. Add water and rinse the contents of each jar several times, swishing the water around and pouring it out. Shake the jar so that the beans or seeds all lie on the side of the jar.

    6. Set each jar at an angle in a dish drainer or in a flat, slotted storage box. The jar need not be stored in a dark place; in fact, you may wish to place it on a kitchen counter where you can check it frequently.

    7. Add water and rinse the contents of each jar morning and night, pouring out the water each time.

    8. In two to five days, your beans or seeds will have sprouted sufficiently to eat. Most sprouts are ready to eat when the sprout is out of the seed about 1/16 of an inch, though alfalfa takes at least five days and should be nearly an inch long with tiny green leaves.

    9. Rinse, drain, and air dry the sprouts. Remove them from the jars and store them in the refrigerator in airtight containers. Sprouts should stay fresh for about a week.—Bonnie Brown Marshall, Provo, Utah