Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sprouts, sprouts and more sprouts!

From the country...

As a project for the off-season I have been sprouting micro greens/sprouts for market and CSA customers (through Kawartha Ecological Growers which is a multi farm CSA, check out the website Trying to make a buck on the farm especially in the winter can be a daunting task. So instead of sourcing an off farm job I am sprouting anything I can (and cleaning my Mother’s house for cash- thanks Mom!)

I have been experimenting with sunflower, broccoli raab, arugula, various pulses, radish etc and sprouting both in soil and in a bucket. It has been good for the farmer in me to continue growing through the winter BUT not as nice as spending the day early spring in a warm greenhouse. The growing I currently am doing is of course inside under fluorescent lights (although one day a heated greenhouse for all year growing is a goal…). It is rewarding though, eating local greens in the dead of winter. A first for me this year is growing and eating pulse sprouts (lentils, garbanzo beans, peas). After sprouting (which usually takes 2-3 days) you can eat them raw, in salad, finish a pot of hearty soup with a couple handfuls, and cook them for other preparations. Once sprouted the cooking time is less then half the time as if cooked from dry. I like to mix my sprouts altogether (pulses, greens and sprouts) and toss in a light vinaigrette. They boys even like them too!

I guess you could say I have gone a bit sprout crazy, I’ve been sprouting grains for the chickens and turkeys too! They devour every last grain I throw to them and the next day I might even get another egg or two in thanks.

The sprouting of seeds is one of the most fascinating natural phenomena. From this minuscule appendage, tiny part of a seed even tinier, is born the plant. That this sprout has exceptional nutritional value is thus not surprising. But even more remarkable is the ability of this sprout to produce a whole range of substances- principally vitamins and enzymes- that are completely absent, or present in small amounts, in the unsprouted seed. The seed becomes hardly recognizable and transforms itself into something new, which is less energetic but richer in nutrients. Claude Aubert Dis- Moi Comment Tu Cuisines.em>

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