Micro Greens and Sprouts
WORDS BY ELIZABETH SNIEGOCKI
RECIPE PHOTOS BY KATHRYN BRASS
Full of concentrated fresh flavor and dense with nutrients, sprouts and microgreens are the perfect addition to soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. Once limited to alfalfa sprouts, the concept of growing sprouts has progressed to a new level in recent years. Now, a wide variety of vegetables, beans, seeds, grains, and herbs are being cultivated for their first shoots—sprouts—and harvested as tiny, young plants—microgreens (think larger than sprouts, but smaller than baby greens).
While sprouts and microgreens are increasingly available at specialty markets, they are also easy and affordable to grow right in your own kitchen! Follow this step-by-step guide to growing your own, and enjoy delicious, nutritious homegrown greens year-round.
How to Grow Sprouts
Sprouting indoors is simple and quick. Because it doesn’t require any light, you can grow sprouts in jars on your kitchen counter.
- Glass jars (wide-mouth canning jars work well, or recycle peanut butter or pasta sauce jars)
- Sprout jar lids (these can be purchased, or you can make your own with cheesecloth and a rubber band, or window screening from the hardware store, cut to fit the rings of canning jars)
- Organic seeds (see below for a list of suggested seeds)
Growing & Harvesting:
- Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of seeds in each jar (use a separate jar for each variety of seed). Add about two inches of warm water and let the seeds soak overnight.
- After soaking, rinse the seeds with cold water and strain them through the lid. Drain all the water out of the jar (if seeds sit in water, they will rot).
- Lay your jar on its side, out of direct sunlight. Rinse and completely drain the seeds twice a day, laying the jar back on its side each time.
- Watch for sprouts to emerge (about 4 to 6 days), and eat them before they make their first set of leaves.
- Once ready, you can store your sprouts in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Wheat Berries ~ Quinoa ~ Sesame Seeds ~ Beans (Garbanzo, Mung) ~ Peas ~ Lentils
How to Grow Microgreens
Microgreens can be grown just about anywhere, as they don’t require much light—a sunny windowsill or kitchen counter is ideal. Supplies:
- Shallow seedling trays (available at garden supply stores)
- Potting mix (look for a seed-starting mix)
- Seeds (see below for a list of suggested seeds)
Growing & Harvesting:
- Fill trays to the top with potting mix, creating a level surface. Moisten lightly with water.
- Sprinkle handfuls of seed liberally, in a single layer, across the soil surface. Add a thin, light layer of soil just to cover the seeds. Water lightly with a spray bottle or kitchen sprayer.
- Place the tray in indirect, very low sun light. Mist daily to keep the soil moist (don’t allow it to dry out).
- When the seeds begin to germinate (about 3 to 5 days) place the tray in bright, indirect sunlight for 12 to 14 hours per day.
- Continue to water gently, as needed, keeping the soil moist.
- Harvest your microgreens once they have about two sets of leaves, or at 1 to 2 inches tall, by snipping with kitchen scissors.
- Wash and use your microgreens immediately, or store them in a resealable container, in the refrigerator, for up to one week.
Kale ~ Radish ~ Clover ~ Mustard ~ Beets ~ Arugula ~ Broccoli
Tip: If mixing seeds, select ones with similar germination rates so they can be harvested all at once.
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