Tuesday, September 15, 2009

sprouts: lentil, mung, fenugreek

I do most of the cooking at home because I like it. There was a four-year stretch when I was working nights and the Dear Wife was pressed into service. She did great but I don't get the feeling it was fun for her.

My meal planning isn't bad but for the past year or so I have been aware that we don't eat enough fresh greens. My rough plan to correct this has been:

1. try my hand at gardening (more about this in a future post)
2. shop more often at local stores to pick up green shtuff. This sucks a bit because I hate my local Kroger and the road is torn up between me and Sara Bakery.

Neither have been big payoffs, though I predict my garden will produce more next year. We are eating some tomatoes now.

So I was wandering around youtube one day and saw a video about sprouting various beans and legumes (sprout content starts about 60seconds into the vid). Hmmm. I knew I liked the alfalfa sprouts you get in salads and the mung bean sprouts you get in many Asian foods. Question is, how hard and how expensive could this get?

I had some spare screen scraps and cut them to fit the inside of some mason jar lids. Commercial sprouting lids are about $6/each as far as I can tell.

It turns out that sprouting is stupid cheap and stupid easy. Forget all the hippie "your body loves the owl spirit of the superfood raw enzymes" crapola, they are cheap, fresh foods you can grow on the countertop.

Basic how-to
Put a small amount of seeds/beans in the bottom of a mason jar. Start with a tablespoon full or other small amount until you know how big they will get. Some really explode on you. I do the soak overnight. Cover the jar with screened lid (commercial or homemade). You can also use something like cheesecloth or nylons and secure with rubber band or the lid ring.

8 hrs later (like the next morning) rinse with water, leave inverted or partially inverted. I prefer a 45deg angle which keeps sprouts from blocking airflow. Then 2-3x a day rinse and drain and leave inverted again. I do this in the morning, at night, and if I remember once in the afternoon.

A few days into it (3-4?) your sprouts will be luverly and ready to eat. You can put them in the window if you want them to green up more.

I eat them raw with salad dressing, soy, or vinegar, or cooked into other foods, or stirfried for a very short time (like 60 seconds).

Win: lentil, mung, fenugreek.
Fail: wheat sprouts were weirdly sweet; kids might like them. Garbanzo/chickpea; got weird.

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