Introduction: Your Nutrition Genesis: Growing Sprouts
There are many different types of sprouts out there, but for our project, we went Lentils and Garbanzo (Chickpeas) for our experiment because they are easily accessible by the general public at grocery stores such as Walmart and Food Lion.
Sprouts are the little, baby shoots that emerge from the seed, and the potential of an entire plant is packed into that seed. Sprouts are ‘more nutritious’ to humans simply because they are easier to digest than the seeds themselves (even after they’re soaked), and thus we absorb more of this potential nutrition (proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, etc.)
Step 1: Materials
Empty 1-Liter Soda Bottles (3).
Styrofoam Plates. (3).
Egg Carton. (1).
Jelly. (1 jar).
Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas).
Paper Towels. (3).
Dish Strain to put underneath the bottles.
Step 2: STEP 1
The first step in our sprouting adventure was to soak our seeds - Lentils and Garbanzo Beans - of which we grabbed a bag of each from Walmart. We poured them into a pot and let them bask for 10 hours in soothing room temperature water (65 - 75 degrees). At the completion of those 10 hours, we drained the water from the pots using the lid. A typical pasta strainer would have let the seeds escape down the drain, so the lid method was preferred.
Step 3: STEP 2
After the long soak, we gathered our upcycled, household materials to create the container and growing medium (a.k.a. ‘Soil’). We cut off ⅓ of the 1-Liter bottles long-ways, and then cut slits on the other side to allow the water to drain through when we rinse the sprouts. In hindsight, drilling holes instead of slits, would have been more efficient in draining the water, and is recommended for future attempts. Our three mediums included, 1) Paper Egg Carton, 2) Styrofoam Plates and Shredded Paper Towels, and 3) Grape Jelly with Shredded Paper Towels for stability. We half-way filled the containers with each of their mediums, then poured in the seeds half and half as seen in the picture, and finally covered the seeds with the remaining medium materials. Fortunately for us, we had a convenient dish strainer to put these containers into.
Step 4: STEP 2 Continued....
This drained into the sink which limited the mess created from draining (which the jelly medium was most responsible for), and which was directly under some T12 fluorescent lights. We also kept some of the seeds in their pots as well to compare their growth to the other seeds in their differing mediums. As for the lighting, we allowed the lights to be used as they normally would by the other residents.
Step 5: STEP 3
After everything was set up as in the pictures, we rinsed and drained each container 2-3 times a day. We would hold the container under the faucet until everything in it was underwater, and then we would ensure that all visibly standing water was drained out through the bottom before returning it to its place in the dish rack. Again, drilled holes would have made this a faster procedure. Using transparent containers allowed us to see the growth of the sprouts’ roots and stems as seen in the pictures. After a few days we saw that the jelly medium was making no progress, so we trashed it. It made the most draining mess anyway.
Step 6: STEP 4
The progress of the little sprouts stretching past the mediums was really fun to see! Even in the medium-less pots the growth of the lentils was easy to identify. This is day 4 since the overnight soak.
Step 7: STEP 5
This is day 5. Remember: Rinse and drain 2-3 times a day!
Step 8: STEP 6
This is day 6. Notice the significant difference in growth between the different seeds. The Lentils are faring much better than the Garbanzos in every medium (or pot). There is a hand and a finger provided for your reference (~1 to 1.5 inches tall). Since the Garbonzos are not faring that well (and perhaps more because they are starting to rot and stink), we decided to discard them at this point.
Step 9: Step 7---- LAST STEP
This is after 1 week since the long soak (Day 7). The Lentils in the pot actually keep rising higher and higher due to the increase of biomass (a.k.a. Organic/plant material). Although there are some greens peeking through the Styrofoam/Paper Towel medium, we could see that it’s not doing nearly as well as the Paper Carton medium. We believe it’s because the paper carton can hold more water for a longer amount of time, and thus keep the sprouts moist. If a more traditionally tender sprout is preferred, one can stop at this point and consume the fruits (sprouts) of their labor. We however, wanted to keep growing for one more week. They are about 2-2.5 inches tall by now.
Step 10: DAY---8 (Observe)
They are about 3 inches tall after 8 days and we could see a vast root system being developed in the transparent containers.
Step 11: DAY 11
After 11 days, they were about 5-6 inches tall.
Step 12: DAY 14
After 2 weeks (14 days), the sprouts (at this point, otherwise now referred to as ‘Greens’) are ready for consumption and peaked at towering height around 6-7 inches tall!
Step 13: WAYS to ENJOY !!
There are many ways you can enjoy sprouts! We tried out two venues of enjoyment -- pizza and a smoothie. To harvest our sprouts we took a pair of scissors and cut them near the base at the medium. Then we cut them up into very small pieces to top the pizza and poured the rest into the smoothie. Salads would also be a great option to enjoy your sprouts!