I must admit, I’ve not been that interested in sprouts since the 80’s when my mom got on the alfalfa sprout bandwagon and snuck those boring little stringy things into practically everything.
But I’ve recently shifted my thinking when I started eating microgreens which I was buying at my local upscale grocery store, for the cost of their weight in gold. Being ever practical and in need of new hobby, I decided to look at growing them myself and then the whole world of interesting sprouts and microgreens literally germinated and grew in front of my eyes!
Sprouts are merely germinated seeds. They are soaked in water for a specific period and then usually rinsed twice a day. They are harvested at 4 – 6 days. Both the seed and sprout are consumed. The nutritional content will be similar to that of the seed, but it will be easier to digest than the unsprouted seed.
I’ve been sprouting both larger mixed beans/seeds and the smaller mixed brassica (cabbage family) seed blends. I have difficulty digesting large beans and pulses so after I’ve sprouted them, I add them to a soup or stew and cook them. The mixed brassica seeds are small and once they are sprouted, they are perfect for adding to a salad or a slaw.
Microgreens are to sprouts as infants are to babies. They are grown until the first two sets of leaves have emerged, usually 10 – 14 days. They are then harvested and the root and seed is not eaten. Microgreens are the trifecta of food perfection: tasty, pretty and extremely nutritious! They pack more flavor and have been tested to contain 4 – 40 times more nutrients (such as vitamins like A, C and E and carotenoids) than their mature plant counterparts (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2012).
I decided I wanted to grow my own microgreens indoors in my apartment-style condo. I decided that I wanted to do this hydroponically so that I didn’t have to deal with soil indoors. After spending some time on the internet watching YouTube and searching for Canadian suppliers, I put together my little microgreen and sprout farm.
My first two pilot crops failed.
I did not give up and I am so glad I didn’t. I’ve been enjoying red cabbage, bok choy and flax microgreens. They are very flavorful! I add them to grated carrot and apple for my version of a slaw salad.
I am by no means an expert but if you want some help or encouragement – let me know!