There is a long tradition of sprouting in cultures around the world. The Chinese serve mung sprouts stir-fried with any meal. Health food fans sprout any edible seed and toss them into salads or top homemade pizzas with them. Children can get into the act and sprouting quickly becomes a home science project that is edible, too (with some adult supervision regarding the cleanliness of the environment, sprouting jar and storage).
Why sprout? It increases the amount of vitamins C, B, E, according to the late Ann Wigmore in her book, Recipes for Life (Rising Sun Publication, 1978). It also increases the amount of enzymes and creates a raw food that is easily digested for most people.
Use only organic seeds as you are going to harvest these sprouts and most likely eat them raw. Pesticides are used on conventionally grown seeds and cannot be rinsed off. Start small with 1 to 3 sprouting jars. Experiment with alfalfa, oat, peas, radish, red clover, rye, adzuki, sunflower or even wheat berries.
Begin by washing three or so sprouting jars and their matching mesh covers in hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and sterilize them by submerging them in boiling water in a large stock pot. Allow it to steep for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove, drain and let it cool. (If you are using cheesecloth, launder it and dry it thoroughly. Mesh coverings are preferred as they remain cleaner during the sprouting process.)
Select the types of seeds you would like to sprout. If you are using smaller jars, perhaps use only 2 to 3 teaspoons of seeds per jar. If your sprouting jars are much larger, adjust accordingly. For a quart-sized jar, use about a tablespoon of seeds .
Rinse the seeds and tilt the jar upside down on a dish rack so that the jar is at an angle and air can freely circulate around the jar. Rinse it daily 3 to 4 times for up to five days. Sprouts should appear in a few days, according to the type of seeds you have chosen. Once you are satisfied with the growth and maturity of your sprouts, store them in a clean, dry plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Eat sprouts raw on salads or in pita bread with other raw greens and steamed vegetables. Or grind them and create a kind of raw seed spread for sandwiches. Or steam them with other vegetables if you prefer eating cooked foods. Read the caution in the link below to avoid salmonella.