With the cooler weather setting in, its time to bring healthy vegetables inside onto the window sill and start to grow your own sprouts.
Give your salad and sandwiches extra crunch with sweet tasty sprouts.
Sprouts, seeds and beans are full of protein and vitamins. Fresh sprouts are available in crunchy combos from your local organic market but you can easily sprout your own seeds at home on the kitchen windowsill. They are nature’s quickest crops - taking 3 days to grow from seed to salad. And they are easy to grow; good for you and its lots of fun to watch them grow.
Photo - Heinz Tschanz-Hofmann/photolibrary.com
Choose from mung beans, radish, broccoli, adzuki, red lentils, chickpea, onion alfalfa, millet, alfalfa, clover, cress, mustard, pumpkin, soybeans, sunflower and fenugreek.
1: You will need a bean sprouter and seeds, available from health food shops or local organic food markets. We’ve chosen mung beans, sunflower seeds, alfalfa sprouts and mustard cress.
2: Soak the seeds in water overnight and spread them over each tray. Place in a dark, warm position. The oven is perfect – just don’t forget them when you turn it on!
3: Rinse sprouts daily, morning and night, taking care to drain carefully. They will be ready from 3 days onwards. Store refrigerated and open to fresh air each day.
Here are some of our favourites
Mung beans sprouts and soya beansprouts have a delicate uniquely crunchy texture that goes well with salads and are often used in Asian stir-fries. Soya beansprouts have a slightly stronger flavour. They are the easiest seeds to sprout. If the seed coats remain attached, soak them and remove.
Alfalfa To sprout, soak seeds overnight, sieve and rinse. You don’t even need a sprouter, just put several layers of moist paper towel in the base of a jar and cover with a 5mm layer of seed.
Fenugreek is a spicy aromatic plant from the clover family is helpful in the treatment of sinus. Seeds are used to flavour curries. The fresh green leaf sprout can be used sparingly in a salad to give a spicy tang.
Sunflower seeds sprouts have a unique sunflower and nutty taste. The kernels can also be eaten in salads or just as a delicious and nutritional snack.
Mustard is a fast and furious crop that will simply sprout on the windowsill. Great for giving a hot bite to salads, use sparingly and don’t germinate too many at once.
Snow pea shoots are an old favourite and very simple to grow to give a watery crunch.
Onion Alfalfa has the distinct taste of onion. Can be sown in combination with radish and broccoli to mix the flavours.
Chickpea seeds just sprouted are crisp fresh and add that much needed crunch to a salad. These are definitely a favourite in the taste stakes.
Radish sprouts have a strong taste of pepper and should be used in moderation.
Broccoli sprouts have a strong taste of iron but a crisp and watery crunch.
Adzuki sprouts sprout from vibrant red seeds and have an earthy nutty taste that makes a pretty addition to the salad or sandwich.
Red lentils sprouts have a soft terracotta colour and creamy nutty flavour. Makes a great snack.
Buy seeds from your local heath food store.