Sprouts are crunchy and tasty additions to sandwiches and salads. Beginning with a small amount of seed, a jarful of sprouts can be grown in about a week. Because they aren't dependent on sunlight, sprouts are a perfect vegetable to grow in a small basement apartment. They take almost no work to grow, and are a good project for homeschool science lessons.
Choose which seeds to sprout. Alfalfa sprouts are the most common type for sandwiches and salads. Mung beans can be sprouted into the classic bean sprouts found in many Chinese dishes. No matter what kind of seed you decide to sprout, make sure that you get seeds that are labeled for sprouting. Seeds sold for planting in gardens might have chemicals on them that could be dangerous to eat.
Put about 2 tbsp. of small seeds like alfalfa, or about 1/4 cup of larger seeds like mung, into the canning jar. Place one layer of cheesecloth over the opening in the jar and screw on the ring to hold it in place. Fill the jar about halfway with water through the cloth, swirl it around a bit, then drain it to rinse the seeds. Add water back into the jar to about an inch deeper than the seeds, cover with the dish towel to keep out the light, and let the seeds soak for eight to 12 hours.
Drain the soaking water from the jar and lay the jar on its side, gently shaking the jar to spread out the seeds over the jar surface. Three times a day, fill the jar halfway with water to rinse the seeds. Drain the seeds and lay the jar back on its side. Keep the jar covered with the dish towel when it is laying down. Continue rinsing three times a day until the sprouts begin to fill up the jar. This should take three or four days.
Place the sprouts in a bowl and fill the bowl with cool water. Swish the sprouts around in the water a bit to remove the seed hulls. Most of these hulls will float, but some will sink. Rinse the sprouts in a strainer, and put them into a zip-top bag. Place the bag on a counter in the light, but not where the sun will shine directly on it. Allow the sprouts to stay here for 24 hours. This will cause the sprouts to get a little green and improve the taste.
Rinse the sprouts one last time, drain, and put in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator. They are now ready for serving in sandwiches, stir fries, salads and any other way you wish.