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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Indoor gardening - Sprouting Seeds, Cress & Mustard

Growing cress or mustard and sprouting seeds or pulses in the kitchen could not be any easier and the outcome is a lovely and very nutritious addition to salads, sandwiches, soups or omelettes.

The seeds are relatively cheap to purchase but we have found they are even cheaper if you buy in bulk (E-Bay - 8000 cress seeds for 99p) or even sprout organic pulses purchased from health food shops.

Sprouting is simply the process of germinating seeds and there are many suitable to choose from - alfalfa,  soya bean (which are sold as bean spouts), fenugreek, aduki or mung beans, rocket and onion - just to name a few.

We have found the best container to use for sprouting is a wide mouthed large glass jar which can be covered easily with a cloth and secured with an elastic band. Place you seeds in the jar, normally about one tablespoon is enough, and clean the seeds by rinsing in water. After rinsing, seeds are left to soak in warmish water and depending on the type of seed this can take from 20 minutes to 12 hours. After soaking, rinse again and pour out, whilst swilling the seeds around, as much water as possible to ensure the seeds are not too wet.

After soaking, which increases the seeds water content, they left somewhere at a temperature of between 13-21°C to germinate. Seeds will begin germinating within a day or two and have to be rinsed, depending on the seed used, between 2-4 times a day to keep them moist but not soggy. Depending on which seed is used, after 3-5 days they will have grown to 5-8 cms in length and will be ready to eat.

Growing cress or mustard (or both together) is an even easier process. Simply place some kitchen towel in the bottom of any suitable container such a shallow bowl or saucer (or a good use for those disposal plastic containers) and dampen the paper towel with water. Sprinkle seeds all over the surface and place somewhere warm but not in direct sunlight. Everyday just add a bit more water to keep paper and the seeds moist but not too wet and your cress will germinate in 2-3 days. The cress or mustard is ready to use when it's 8-10 cm tall after about 5-7 days. For continual supply, start a batch once a week.

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