Homegrown Sprouts

July 2, 2016

 

Gelatinous Seeds

There are a few seeds that form a gel-like sac around the seed in the presence of water.  The seeds are Flax, Chia, Psyllium, Arugula, and Cress.  Mustard can be slightly gelatinous, too.  Because of the gooey substance the cannot be sprouted the usual way in jars or trays.  They need a little bit of special attention to get past the gelatinous phase and into the actual sprouting.  Once you know how to grow these sprouts they will become a regular addition to your sprouting schedule.  

 

Nutritionally, gelatinous seeds are very close to the leafy green sprouts.  Arugula sprints have a very distinct and sharp taste, just like arugula leaves.

 

FLAX is an ancient seed from the Fertile Crescent and the Mediterranean.  It has been used to produce fibers and ca be spun to make linen. 

 

Flaxseed oil, or linseed oil, is made by pressing flaxseed.  It has a high content of alpha-linolenic acid (a form of omega-3 fatty acids) and is used as a nutritional supplement.  

 

Another way to get the benefits of omega-3 is to grind the seed into flax meal because the seed itself is not digestible.  It will pass through the digestive system whole and will swell up in the intestines as it absorbs water, acting like a bulk laxative, sweeping through the intestines.  Be sure to drink an extra 8 oz of water when ingesting flax --- either the whole seed or the flax meal --- because it absorbs liquid in great quantities.  

 

CHIA is an ancient seed cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian Mexico.  It was a food crop that was economically important.

 

The seed itself is very nutritious and easily digested by the body without further processing.  One ounce of the seed has 9 grams of fat and is a no-cholesterol food.  It is a great source of dietary fiber (11g / oz) .  Each ounce also contains 4 grams of protein.  It is a good source of calcium, too.  

 

Chia seeds, either whole or ground, can be added to smoothies or sprinkled on top of any dish.  Use them as a substitute for flax, sesame, or poppy seeds in recipes.  Mixed in with water or juice it acts like a bulk lasative, sweeping through the intestines.

 

PSYLLIUM is best known for its use as baulk laxative, both as a stand-alone supplement and a part of processed break fast cereals and breads.

 

HOW TO SPROUT GELATINOUS SEEDS

The easiest way to sprout gelatinous seeds is to mix them with other regular sprouting seeds in small quantities.  e.g. If you are sprouting  20 ~30 g of alfalfa or clover, substitute 5 ~ 6 g of chia, arugula, cress, psyllium, or flax.  This way, the gelatinous substance is diluted through the other sees and all will sprout normally.

 

 

HOW TO SPROUT GELATINOUS SEEDS IN SOIL

Soil absorbs the gooey substance that surrounds the seed when it gets wet and allows the seed to sprout naturally.  Use a good-quality potting soil.  You do not need much of it because you are growing a sprout, not a fully mature plant.  There is no need to soak these seeds before sprouting because they do not behave well when wet.

  1. Follow safe food-handling procedures and use clean water from a reliable source; wash your hands before touching the seeds.

  2. Fill a pot with the soil.

  3. Sprinkle some dry seed on top of soil.

  4. Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet.

  5. If you want to use fertilizer you can put some fertilizer in a spray bottle and mist some on the sprouts as they grow.

  6. The seeds will sprout through the soil.  After 5 ~ 7 days they should be ready to harvest.

  7. Before the harvest, green up the sprints by exposing them to ordinary daylight for a few hours.  

  8. Pick the sprouts from the soil and rinse well.  Alternatively, you can cut the sprout above the soil line and rise well.

You can compost the soil and then reuse it to sprout again.

 

 

HOW TO SPROUT GELATINOUS SEEDS IN A TRAY SPROUTER WITH GROWING MEDIUM

It is possible to sprout these seeds in a tray sprouted with a little assistance from a growing medium.  Growing mediums are substances that replace soil and can hold many times their weight in water.  There are many brands available at some nurseries and specialty stores that cater to growing plants hydroponically, or without soil.  You may wish to experiment to find one that you like.  The Sure to grow brand is an easy and effective growing medium that is inert and will not cause mold or mildew to grow.

  1. Follow safe food-handling procedures and use clean water from a reliable source; wash your hands before touching the seeds.

  2. Line the growing medium on the bottom of the tray.  you may need to cut it to fit your tray size.

  3. Sprinkle dry seed onto the growing medium

  4. Wet the tray with the growing medium and seeds and let the water drain out.  There should be only wet seeds and the wet growing medium in the tray and no standing water.

  5. If you want to use the fertilizer, you can put some fertilizer in a spray bottle and mist some on the sprints as they grow.

  6. Some tray sprouters come with solid trays underneath and lids to cover.  Some sprouters stack trays.  These methods are used so that the seeds do not dry out.  Assemble and cover your sprouter accordingly.

  7. Approx. every 12 hours, at least twice / day, rinse and drain the seeds, making certain that there is no standing water left.  Be consistent.  Inconsistent watering habits can cause changes in growth patterns.  Do not rush; give them some time with the water running over them.

  8. After 5 ~ 7 days they should be ready to harvest.

  9. Before the harvest, green up the sprints by exposing them to ordinary daylight for a few hours.  

  10. Cut the sprouts above the growing medium and enjoy.

Most growing mediums cannot be reused.

 

 

HOW TO SPROUT GELATINOUS SEEDS IN A TERRA - COTTA CLAY SPROUTER

  1. Follow safe food-handling procedures by washing the sprouter in warm sudsy water and then rinsing in hot water; use clean water from a reliable source. Wash your hands before touching the seeds.  Make certain the holes in the tray are cleared and not clogged.  You can use a needle or paper clip end to poke out any debris left over from a pervious sprouting event.

  2. Prepare the terra-cotta clay sprouter by presoaking the tray in water for about 5 minutes (up to 15 minutes).

  3. Remove the tray from water

  4. Sprinkle dry seed onto the terra-cotta tray.

  5. Rinse the seeds in the tray with fresh water and let that water drain.  This may take several minutes because the clay will absorb some of the water.  There should be only wet seeds in the tray and no standing water.

  6. If you want to use fertilizer you can put some fertilizer in a spray bottle and mist some on the sprouts as they grow.

  7. Assemble your sprouter according to the manufacture's directions.

  8. Approximately ever 12 hours, at least twice each day, rinse and drain the seeds, making certain that there is no standing water left.  Be consistent in your rinsing and draining.

  9. After 5 ~ 7 days they should be ready to harvest.

  10. Before the harvest, green up the sprints by exposing them to ordinary daylight for a few hours.  

  11. Remove the sprouts from the sprouter and enjoy.

 

Types of Sprouter / Mixing Seeds / Storing Seeds

JAR

1.  Beans and grains with their shorter growing times do well in jars.   Not all leafy sprouts get to see daylight --- just the ones at very top.

2.  Greater chance for mold and mildew at the bottom.

3.  Cannot sprout the gelatinous seeds, grasses, or shoots.

4.  Plastic jar sprouters travel well

 

TRAY

1.  Used for all types of seeds --- beans, grains, and leafy greens.  Leafy sproutsgrow straight up and down like an oak tree.

2.  Less chance of mold and mildew

3.  Able to sprout gelatinous seeds, grasses, and  shoots

4.  Not always easy to travel with tray sprouters.

 

BAG

1.  Beans and grains do very well in bags.  Leafy sprouts are not suitable for bag.  Leafy green won't get enough light. 

2.  Minimal chance of mold or mildew. It should be hung.

3.  Can sprout gelatinous seeds on top of the bag, not good for grasses or shoots.

4.  Travel easily to work or play.

 

MIXING SEEDS

Do not be afraid of mixing seeds that they have different maturation dates.  It it is only by a day or so, it may not matter very much.  Lentils when sprouted, take only about 2 days to maturation.  When in a mix with alfalfa, clover, and radish, they will be sprouted longer to match the other leafy green seeds.  The taste of the lentils mixed with the other seeds is great and still nutritious.

 

Gelatinous seeds like chia, flax, arugula, and cress mix well together and can be mixed with other seeds in small quantities.  If you are going to mix these seeds with the non-gelatinous variety, make sure they are only about 15 ~25 % of the total mixture.  The gel-like substance that forms around the seed in the presence of water will spread over the other seeds in a very thin layer and still allow them to sprout.  Too many of these seeds, however, and none at all will sprout.

 

Buckwheat and sunflower mix well together, but not so much with other seeds due to their longer maturation dates and the length of the sprouts.  

 

The different types of grains for grasses mix well together 

Grains that are sprouted for a day or two can mix with beans and legumes for a chewy, sweet sensation.  

Radishes and mustard add a bit of heat and spice to milder, sweet sprouts.

 

PUMPKIN, SESAME, SUNFLOWER, and NUTS

Sprouters eat some seeds because they are a good unprocessed source of particular nutrients.  Good fats and proteins are readily accessible in shelled pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (hulled and unhealed), shelled sunflower seeds, and some nuts.  These seeds will not sprout into something that is green and you will not always see any change, but they help complete a diet that includes a wide variety of sprints. 

 

For easier digestion they should be soaked overnight in a jar or bowl of water.  The rinsing water should be drained out and the seeds or nuts rinsed again with fresh water, with a final draining so that only wet seeds or nuts are left without any standing water.  In this way, the seeds absorb water and through this physical process a chemical reaction starts that allows the proteins to break down into amino acids and the fats to break down into fatty acids for easier digestion. 

 

Some people enjoy the taste of hulled sesame seeds when making nut milks or butter, but it is the unhulled sesame seeds that will sprout.  Keep it a very short sprouting time after the soak, about a day or so, or they will turn bitter.  Either type of seed makes a nice crunchy addition to top salads or soups.  

 

Shelled sunflower seeds are silver in color and sprout in just a few days into a small silvery, crunchy sprout.  These are not the larger green sprouts you can harvest from growing sunflower seeds in the black shell.  They do not have any chlorophyll, but  they add a different type of nutrition, flavor, and texture to any dish.  Try them with some seasoning on them instead of reaching for chips and dip.

 

Pumpkin seeds that have been shelled are green in color and delicious when soaked and sprout.  Soaking them overnight can aid in digestion.  You can dry-roast the seeds (not asked) in a skillet without any oil for several minutes; they will pop as they cook and turn a little brown.  Dress them up with some tamari for a great-tasting treat to be enjoyed by all.  This also woks with unsoaked sunflower seeds.

 

Nuts will not sprout but can be soaked overnight for easier digestion.  Soaking often makes them a bit sweeter as well.

 

STORING SEEDS

Seeds should be stored at 60 F (15.6 C) or below.  Storing seeds in the refrigerator or freezer is fine.  Refrigerators are typically set above 32 F (0 C) , frequently at 40 F (4.4 C), and freezers at -17.8 F (0  C).  Seeds stored properly at these temperatures will last for about 1 ~ 2 years.  Germination rate go down with time and temperature.  Storing seeds in a pantry or kitchen closet may bring bugs (especially if they are organic seeds), and the germination rates will go down over time.

 

You can store seeds in plastic or glass.  Vaccum-sealed bags also work well.  But the true key to long-term storage of seeds for sprouting is key to keep them at or below 60 F (15.6 C)

 

If you have seeds, either old or new, and you want to find out whether they will sprout, you can test them.  Count 100 seeds and put them on a wet paper towel.  Keep the paper towel moist but not soaking for a few days.  These seeds will absorb the water and start to sprout.  Count out how many seeds sprouted and find your germination rate.  If 90 seeds sprouted, then you have a 90% germination rate.  You want to keep seeds at about the 80% germination rate. The seeds that don't sprout will rot and that will make the ones that do sprout rot along with them.

 

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