Yields approximately 4 Cups (1/2 lb.) of Sprouts
Seed Prep Measure out 2 Tablespoons of seed* Rinse your seeds to remove dust or debris.
Soak Transfer your seeds into your Sprouter (if necessary), or a bowl. Add 2-3 times as much cool (60-70 degree) water. Mix seeds up to assure even water contact for all. Allow seeds to Soak for 8-12 hours.
Sprouting Empty the seeds into your Sprouter (if necessary). Drain off the soak water. You can use it - it has nutrients in it.
Rinse thoroughly with cool (60-70°) water. Drain thoroughly.
Set your Sprouter anywhere out of direct sunlight and at room temperature (70° is optimal) between Rinses. This is where your sprouts do their growing. We use a counter top - in the corner of our kitchen, but where the sprouter won't get knocked over by cats, dogs, kids or us. We don't mind the indirect sunlight or the 150 watts of incandescent light, because light just does not matter much. A plant can only perform photosynthesis when it has leaves. Until a plant has leaves, light has little if any effect. Sprouts also happen to like air-circulation, so don't hide your sprouts. When leaves do appear, this will be plenty of light for them to green up!
Rinse and Drain again every 8-12 hours for 3 days. As long as you grow you have to keep the sprouts happy!
Always be sure to Drain very thoroughly. The most common cause of inferior sprouts is inadequate drainage. Even the best designed Sprouting Device holds water, so pay special attention to this step.
Greening On the 4th day relocate your sprouts if necessary. If you've been keeping them away from light, move them. Avoid direct sun - it can cook your sprouts. Indirect sunlight is best but virtually any light will do. Experiment - you will be amazed at how little light sprouts require to green up. Photosynthesis is a marvel!
Continue to Rinse and Drain every 8-12 hours. Your last Rinse/Drain will be either at the end of day 5 or the start of day 6 Always Drain Thoroughly!
Finishing Your sprouts will be done about the end of day 6. The majority of sprouts will have open leaves which will be green. You'll recognize them.
De-Hull You may De-Hull your sprouts at any time during day 5 or 6.
Before your final Rinse; remove the seed hulls. Leafy sprout hulls are not a real concern. They can conceivably lessen the shelf life of your sprouts, but we usually consume them too fast for that to be a concern, so it is, to us, more a matter of aesthetics. We think they look better with their sprout hulls gone - so we remove them thusly:
Transfer the sprouts to a big (at least 2 times the volume of your Sprouter) pot or bowl. Fill with cool water. Loosen the sprout mass by pulling it apart with your fingers or a fork. Hulls will rise to the surface. Keep pulling your sprout mass apart and move them around slowly, pulling them down - under the water - to make room for the hulls to rise. Skim the hulls off the surface of the water and compost them. Return the sprouts to your Sprouter for their final Rinse and Drain. You can also use our Dehuller (a small salad spinner with an excellent design that minimizes the sprouts that escape in the dehulling process). That's the short course - here is the full lesson. Better yet, here is our video on de-hulling.
Harvest If you Dehulled with our Dehuller, or used a salad spinner after dehulling in a bowl, you can go right to refrigeration. If not... Your sprouts are done 8-12 hours after your final Rinse. After the De-Hulling and the final Rinse we need to Drain Very Thoroughly and let our sprouts dry a bit. If we minimize the surface moisture of our sprouts they store much better in refrigeration, so we let them sit for 8-12 hours....
Refrigerate Transfer the sprout crop to a plastic bag or the sealed container of your choice. We have Produce Storage Bags that will extend shelf life substantially.
*Seed to Use
* If using Sproutpeople's Single Harvest Pack - use the whole bag (for a one-quart Sprouter). It will produce a crop of approximately 8 ounces.
These seeds yield approximately 7:1 - which means the sprouts will weigh 7 times as much as the seed you start with, but, they will increase even more in volume - so don't start with more than 2 Tablespoons per quart/litre of sprouter capacity.
Sproutpeople and Micro-Greens
We first grew Micro-Greens back in 1994. We were way ahead of the curve. Nobody was interested in them - not our farmers market customers, not our food stores (co-ops, natural food stores and grocery stores we delivered to every week), not our restaurants, nobody! That did change some as the years passed, but we were always Sprout People first. Frankly, we prefer Sprouts to Micros, but we keep working with them. We want to like them more.
There are varying opinions of what constitutes a Micro-Green. Traditionally it is just a plant grown to the Cotyledon stage, and cut above the medium upon which it is planted. When we grow to this stage; we either grow on Baby Blanket or soil (any kind will do). Baby Blanket is less messy and works fine and dandy. We cut a piece to fit a plate, then we follow our own instructions for keeping the medium and seeds-sprouts thoroughly moist. We use another of the same size plate - inverted - as a cover. We uncover our plants when they are about 1/2 inch tall, or when they are hitting the covering plate. We then expose them to all the light our kitchen has to offer. We even use direct sunlight when available. We have to water them more often when we do this. When it comes to watering, We mist them with a Spray Bottle until the seeds have firmly rooted. After that - when growing on a piece of Baby Blanket on a plate; pour water directly onto the plate. We gently tip and turn the plate so as much water as possible gets soaked up by the Baby Blanket, and then pour off most of the excess. When growing on soil; we continue to spray with the Spray Bottle, but we keep the medium moist by adding water directly to the plate or solid tray it is sitting on. We allow the medium to drink up what water it can, and then gently pour off the excess. Leaving a little water on the plate is fine - it will get sucked up before your next watering. If it doesn't, you are leaving too much water behind.
There are some nowadays who want a Micro-Green to be a plant which puts out a True Leaf before they'll call it a Micro-Green. We find that concept Very interesting, so we have worked to make that happen.
The first thing is to plant less seed. Just how much is the question. The general rule is this: The more space your plant has to grow roots - the bigger it can grow. We are currently using 1/4 teaspoon in a 5x5 inch tray. That leaves quite a bit of room between the seeds-plants, but gives them enough space to grow to the True Leaf stage. This can take 2 weeks or more. The main thing that is needed is More Light. Plants get "leggy" when they need to reach for light. We use that to our advantage in all other circumstances in the Sprout World, but here we want to minimize the legginess of the plants. If you can put a light right above your crop - or keep it in direct sunlight, that will help. Keep everything adequately moist. Remember - the more light the faster the medium and plants will dry. This may sound like a lot more work, but really it isn't much more than usual. We cover the seeds only until they have sprouted when growing this way. We plant on soil which has been enriched with 20% Earthworm Castings, which add nitrogen that a plant uses to grow leaves. When making up the soil, do not exceed 20% Earthworm Castings as too much nitrogen can burn your plants (they actually whither and die when the soil is too "hot" - which means it has too much nitrogen). Mix the castings into the base soil (anything will work, though we do not advise mixes that are heavily peat moss as we find it hard to work with and we don't find the crop turns out as well) - it is the roots that will need access to the rich soil medium. If growing a mix, not all of the plants will grow True Leaves at the same time. Keep growing until most have them. Harvest then and eat them up. Though you can store Micro-Greens, they degrade quickly, and since you have put so much work in these - you should enjoy them at their peak.
The Next Variation
The next obvious step (to us anyway) we find really exciting. It is to grow even fewer seeds into even fewer plants. Those plants will grow more leaves. They will be more like Baby-Greens than Micro-Greens. They will require more time. They may re-grow more quickly because they'll have a bigger root-mass. The container (tray, pot, etc.) they grow in will likely be too small for that root-mass to live long, but it's possible. When it comes right down to it, we're talking about an indoor-garden. All the other stuff we offer is about indoor gardening, but this is more like a garden. Not many of us have space in our homes to Garden inside, but we love the idea. We're working on this, and we'll tell you what we find out as soon as we know something. It was gardening that eventually led us to sprouting. We feel like this is closing that circle started so long ago - now it is sprouting leading back to gardening @:-)