In my quest to become more self-sufficient and rely a bit less on the outside world, I’ve begun to look into options for fresh produce. It’s abundant at the moment, but winter is coming, and with Brexit on the horizon, I can’t be sure the supermarket shelves will be stocked. What can I grow in autumn and winter in Scotland? Chard and kale seem to be my best options, and I’m ready to plant those as soon as the tomatoes, lettuce, and summer squash is harvested from our tiny garden plot. They’ll take time to grow, though, so I decided to look for quick options that don’t need much space: sprouts!
Sprouting seeds is criminally easy, takes only a few days to do, and provides delicious, nutritionally-dense food. All you need is a bit of dark cupboard space, sprouting jars, and seeds and pulses sold specifically for sprouting. It’s important to buy seeds and pulses sold for this purpose as some seeds are irradiated to prevent them sprouting in transit and storage.
The process is easy. Make sure your jar is clean, sterilised (simply fill your jar with boiling water and let it sit for a minute or two), and dry. Fill each jar about 1/5 full of your chosen seeds and then add enough cold water to cover. Put your jar in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight. Wait eight hours and then change out the water. After another eight hours, pour out the water – this is the end of the soaking stage – and give the seeds a good rinse. You’ll need to rinse them 2-3 times a day, but don’t soak them again. Rinsing keeps the sprouts hydrated and also helps any bad bacteria from taking hold.
The sprouts will develop over the next 3-6 days, depending on the type of seeds or pulses you’ve used. When the sprouts are between .5-1cm long, you can place the jar in a sunny spot if you’d like them a bit greener. Once they’re developed, they can be stored in the fridge for about a week. Just be sure to rinse them a rinse every 2-3 days so they stay crisp. It’s also a good idea to give them a good rinse right before you eat them.