Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Food and Cooking: Unintentional Success

Over-eager transylvanian garlic

 Okay, my new thing (besides apparently being really good at growing garlic) is sprouting.  I bought a sampler from Sprout House through Amazon a couple of paydays ago, and we have been sprouting fools, trying the different mixes.  Radish sprouts are a really, really concentrated kind of spicy.  Like putting ten radishes in your mouth and chewing them all at once.  But it's sooooooo good on a sandwich.

It's so darn easy, healthy, and tasty, it's unbelievable more people don't do it, especially with all the contamination recalls of store bought sprouts lately.

That said, there are a few precautions for your own sprouts.  Rinse only in cool water.  Like the seeds themselves, bacteria need moisture and warmth to grow, so keep them cool when adding moisture.  Rinse at LEAST twice a day.  I rinse mine four or five times a day, but that's because I am right there, and have the time.  When I swish, if there's a tiny bit of foam at the top of the water, I rinse again.  I don't know what it is, but I do it anyway... it reminds me of that protein foam you get when you cook legumes.  Sanitize your equipment between batches.  It may just be a mason jar with a bit of cheesecloth and a rubber band, but run the jar through the dishwasher and dip the other pieces in a solution of one cup water and one teaspoon of bleach.  If you're using the plastic sprouting lids, run them through the top rack of the dishwasher too, no need for bleach.  Store the sprouts in a clean container (that's not the sprouting container) in the fridge, and make sure they're pretty dry before putting them in there.  And always, ALWAYS rinse the sprouts before eating.  This not only rinses away any bacteria, but helps get the seed hulls off the sprouts, too, if you care about that kind of thing.

This is also a very economical way to get green veggies in your diet.  What you see here is the result of two tablespoons of seeds in each quart-size jar.  I have twenty varieties in my sampler pack, and I have barely made a dent after a month of sprouting.  It's quite possible this sampler may last me a year, though I already have favorites and have ordered larger quantities.

I wonder if I could still toast these without grossness.
I have also had unintentional success in sprouting the pumpkin seeds from this year's sacrificial victims, a pair of pumpkins from Froberg's Farm.  I don't know if this is a new variety of pumpkin this year, or they grew them too close to a crop of spaghetti squash, but the insides were just like a spaghetti squash, and quite hard to get clean for carving.  Every time we scraped the inside, we'd come up with a handful of strands.  If we pulled on a single strand, it would circle the inside of the pumpkin six times.

I will NOT be adding these sprouted seeds to my garden, though my husband suggested it.  I mean, maybe the resulting pumpkins would be edible, but ugh, what a mess to process.  I swear my hands still smell like pumpkin.  Happy Halloween!  And try a sprout or two... they are delicious.

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