Albany John is a sprout master. Master of Sprouts. He finally spills some sprout trade secrets here:
I like the idea of growing sprouts. I think I was assigned to read a book on asian immigrants to the United States at some point in school. I remember her family ran a restaurant and grew vats of sprouts in pots in the basement. That’s the point of sprouts, from a home-made operation the harvest on sprouts from a small amount of seed is surprisingly great considering your only input is time, air, and water.
There’s a lot of literature on sprouts, but a lot of authors tend towards the romantic view of natural eating. I love the taste, but please don’t call me a “sprout lover”. The first guidebook I read was called “The all-about-sprouts book” subtitle; A manual for the (sigh) sprout lover. It came with a “Kitchen Crop” sprouter I bought, a flimsy plastic tub with spindly cd sized trays. This manual warns “Remember, however that the seeds will expand tremendously when wetted and will occupy approximately four times their initial volume.” So I had a non-fiction source for the magic of sprouts.
The problem with this setup was it was a pain to clean. The trays all had siphons that you needed to clean, and you had to empty the basin at the bottom twice a day. I switched to a jar with a screen on the top. Low-tech, but it definitely works.
- You sort out the split or damaged seeds, and rinse once in cold water.
- You soak the seeds in a one quart sprouting jar. (just double the amount of seeds if ½ gallon) at a ratio of two tablespoons seeds with three times as much water as seeds. Soak overnight.
- Drain water, rinse seeds in lukewarm water and drain again. try to keep seeds well drained.
- Rinse and drain twice a day.
Really don’t mess with sprouting seeds more than that unless it’s really hot outside. Then maybe rinse a third time. It’s kind of like cooking an egg, you don’t want to work on it until it’s ready to flip. At the Schenectady Green Market I saw a farmstand selling sprouted almonds and other unusual sprouts. I found out I can do more sprouting without a trip to a health food store. Beans will sprout using exactly the same method, just make sure to give them the longer soaking time, seeds only really need 5 hours. Mix ½ cup for a quart jar.
My other suggestions. Don’t try recipes from manuals to sprouting kits. There is no way that eating alfalfa sprouts on a hot dog is more appetizing than it sounds.
– Albany John