Spring has sprung! If you are like me, wrapped up in your work week, hustling kids to and fro, you might have missed it. But alas, March 20th came and went this past Monday and it is officially time to see something green. Finally, in what feels like decades, we had a semi-normal winter in Alaska, hence the 2 feet of snow on the raised beds in the garden. If you are anxious to get something in the ground, be patient, we have a few more weeks (err months) to go. But, have you played with sprouting? What an easy way to pull some spring green into the house and add some much needed flavor to the blah spinach salad we have existed on all winter!
Sprouts contain an amazing amount of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. The nutrient content can be thirty times that seen in the mature plant! Many of these nutrients are associated with health benefits including cancer prevention and heart health. Adding sprouts to your daily salad or sandwich boosts your micronutrient intake for the day without adding to your waistline. The most common sprouts include pea, sunflower, wheatgrass, mung bean, lentil and clover.
So, we have covered that sprouted seeds and baby greens are nutrient dense powerhouses packed with flavor. But did I mention that they are easy and cheap to grow? Sprouting is a simple process that can occur in a jar or in a dirt filled planter. Using a jar requires a bit more care and time as you sprout the seeds in a damp environment. I prefer and recommend planting your sprouting seeds in a couple inches of soil in a container that fits in a windowsill or wherever you have space and some natural light. Harvest time rolls around quickly for these greens, about 10 days is all it takes (when the plant reaches 4-6 inches tall). You can cycle 2 trays to have a consistent supply of greens. For detailed instructions on sprouting in jars or soil, visit Vertical Veg or Sprout People .
Locally grown, nutritious, super low carbon foot print, how can you go wrong? The ultimate in farm to table, transport these gems from your windowsill to your table in minutes.
Sherrill Collins, MS, RDN