Introduction: Counter Top Winter Gardening A.k.a. Sprouting

Here in Southern Ontario Canada, winter is a nasty business. It can go from -30c with 30cm of snow to +5c with rain, over night. It's impossible to plan ahead. Plan a winter fest and you get a mud fest. Plan a drive to the big city and you get a blizzard. A lot of time is spent looking out the window, day dreaming of gardening. The greens we became used to are now a grocery store lottery. Where will it come from this week? Is there a recall due to e coli again? Why did lettuce just go up to $5 a head? I've started a few projects to help get me through to next gardening season. I've started growing lettuce in my workshop with a Costco led grow light. I'll have to do an Instructable on that next fall when I start it up again. The other project is counter top winter gardening a.k.a. sprouting. This is so simple. A child could do it. Actually if you have children they should do it. What better way is there to encourage healthy eating than having them grow their own food?

This project is very easy. I've tried my best to create an interesting Instructable out of very few steps. I apologize if it feels as exciting as watching grass grow. But hey, were watching grass grow! Well not exactly grass, but you get the idea.

So here we go. Let's get sprouting!

Step 1: Ingredients

There are very few items needed to enjoy sprouting.

I use a Classico pasta sauce jar. It has a volume of 650ml.

I buy these when on sale and keep the jars for future use.

I figure the jar is worth a buck. They go on sale for $2.50 at times, you can't go wrong.

They have a canning jar thread so my lids and rings fit perfectly.

The company doesn't suggest canning with them.

They could get scratched while on display and that could cause them to break while processing.

My vacuum sealer jar attachment works great with them as well.

A piece of window screen and an elastic band or a sprouting lid. I chose the cheap piece of window screen method.

A tablespoon to measure the seeds is helpful as well.

Last but not least, you will need sprouting seeds.

I have chosen Mumm's Sprouting Seeds.

I mix broccoli and broccoli Raab (rapini), 1tbsp of each.

I bought 1kg of each for a total of less than $60, with free delivery.

I've been sprouting weekly for more than a year and still have lots of seed to go.

When I see the little container at my grocer priced at $4.99 I feel warm and happy inside.

So let's get started.

Step 2: Measure Seed

One tablespoon of each will do.

They don't look like much down there do they?

Just wait, day 7 will wow you.

Step 3: Cover and Add Water

I add water, swirl it around and drain a few times.

OK, 3 times for those who require more structure in their Instructables.

Then add half a jar of water and let it sit for a while.

OK, at least 6 hours for those who.............. .

I usually set this up in the morning and drain it at dinner time.

I've forgotten to drain them in the past.

Finding them the next morning worried me.

Don't freak out if this happens to you, it still works.

You just wasted some sprouting time.

Step 4: Rinse, Drain and Set Asside.

Drain and rinse 3 times (-;

These seeds have a bit of a funky smell, don't be alarmed.

I find that three rinses usually washes the smell away.

Now I like to tap the jar vertically to knock the seeds off the screen.

I don't want sprouts to grow through the holes in the screen.

I then try to spread the seeds around the sides of the jar by rolling it around in my hand a few times.

Why? You may ask. I have no idea. I answer.

I just like the way it looks.

You must set the jar on a rack to drain and leave it that way to avoid water pooling in the bottom.

There are professional racks on line of course.

My first attempt at this, I drained, and then set the jar upright on the counter.

The funky smell I mentioned earlier became stronger every day and the end product became compost.

Not that compost is a bad thing, Just not what I was aiming for.

Step 5: Day 1

So here we have day one. A morning shot and an afternoon shot.

Rinse three times in the morning and evening and redistribute the seeds.

Off the screen and around the walls of the jar.

Step 6: Day 2

Here we have day two morning, before and after rinsing.

Now this rinse takes a bit more agitation.

The roots are clinging to the jar.

I like to make sure everything is loose then I distribute as before.

Off the screen and spread around the jar.

The afternoon rinse won't be as involved.

Now that the roots have been loosened they shouldn't stick again.

Step 7: Day 3

Day three morning rinse.

You will no longer be able to distribute seeds around the jar.

There will be a core of sprouts that will lay clumped together.

You still rinse them twice a day to avoid them stagnating.

You don't want smelly sprouts.

Step 8: Day 4

Now here are three pics from day four morning.

The jar on the rack this morning is much more crowded.

After rinsing I set it upright to show you how much progress has been made.

I do my best to rotate the jar but not much clinging going on now.

Step 9: Day 5

Here we go with day five.

Same pics as yesterday.

Notice how much greener and fuller the jar is.

This is when I take note of the sprout situation in the fridge from last weeks batch.

It may be time to have a few extra with breakfast, on a salad, or even tossing them into soup.

Maybe its time to break out the rice paper wraps and do up some spring rolls.

Step 10: Still Day 5

I was doing my evening rinse and thought I would add the pics.

The sprouts were really kicking in today.

The jar looked full when I rinsed and even after, it looks pretty full.

The looseness of the sprouts says were not there yet.

Another day should do the trick.

Step 11: Welcome to Day 6

This morning our jar is full.

Even after rinsing it's pretty much full, less than 1 inch / 2.5cm of head space.

This will be our final day of rinsing.

Can you feel the anticipation building?

Step 12: Day 7

Here we are, it's day 7 and time to harvest the crop. As you can see the jar is full and firmly packed. Now lay a paper towel down in your chosen container and start digging. These fresh sprouts will last a week in the refrigerator. If you don't eat them up quicker than that.

Step 13: Lets Eat!

Time to partake in some of this wholesome goodness. I do this in the morning, so breakfast it is. I love a hearty mushroom and veggie egg on a toasted English muffin topped with Swiss and sprouts.

Now after you eat. Wash the Jar well and repeat the process. You don't want to run out.

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