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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Sprouts: gardening in a jar

By MARY MCCLINTOCK

If you’re like most vegetable gardeners I know, you’re busy planning this year’s crops and are eager to start gardening. Many folks are starting seeds indoors or in hoophouses.

Last week, I mentioned the salad green seeds, soil, and flats I got at Ashfield Hardware and planted with friends as part of an equinox celebration. I knew the long winter had taken its toll on me, but I didn’t really understand how big of a toll until I saw those first tiny little seed leaves poking up out of the potting soil. I almost burst into tears with delight and relief as I gazed at the leaves.

And I find myself checking them a LOT to see how they’re growing.

Seeing those little leaves reminded me that I can have a garden in a jar any time I want. All it takes is some sprouting seeds, a quart canning jar, a screen lid for the jar, and water. You can get seeds and sprouting supplies at Green Fields Market or Greenfield Farmers Co-op Exchange.

The basic process is to soak the seeds (usually 8-12 hours works well), pour off the water (drain off as much as you can), put the jar somewhere with some light (doesn’t have to be lots of direct light, but some is good), and rinse the seeds 2-3 times a day (fill the jar with water, swirl it around, drain it well). To learn more about sprouting, I recommend “Homegrown Sprouts: A Fresh, Healthy, and Delicious Step-by-step Guide to Sprouting Year round” by Rita Galchus. You can get it at the World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield.

Many different kinds of seeds work well for sprouting, from tiny alfalfa and broccoli seeds to brawnier bean and pea seeds. I’ve enjoyed sprouting salad mixes and bean mixes. I like to eat sprouts as is, on top of salads, as a crunchy topping on soups, and in sandwiches (especially in grilled cheese sandwiches).

How do you enjoy sprouts? See below for one of my favorites.

Impatient and want to eat sprouts NOW? Franklin Community Co-op’s two stores, Green Fields Market and McCusker’s Market, carry several varieties of locally grown Gill Greenery’s sprouts.

Want to learn about the newest food co-op in the area? Consider:

Amherst Community Co-op Membership Drive Kickoff Event, Saturday, April 12, 4 to 6 p.m., Immanuel Lutheran Church, 867 North Pleasant Street, Amherst. Amherst Community Co-op is a new food co-op that will be owned by both workers and consumers and will provide the Amherst area with wholesome and affordable groceries, with a focus on locally-produced goods and products whenever possible. The ACC steering committee has spent three years gauging community interest and building support and this event will be the first chance to buy founding member shares. Free food, music, and child care provided. The event is free and open to the public. Taste samples from Real Pickles’ cooperatively-produced pickles and sauerkraut, Apex Orchards locally-grown apples, Bart’s Ice Cream, Backyard Bakery bread, Rao’s coffee, and popcorn popped by UMass Five College Credit Union. Keynote speaker: Gary Hirshberg, chairman and co-founder of Stonyfield Farm Organic Dairy. For information and to RSVP, email amherstcommunitycoop@gmail.com.

This week we’re eating ...

Sprouts and Greens Scromlet

By Mary McClintock, Conway

Chop onions or leeks, then saute in butter, oil, or water until translucent. Rinse fresh spinach, chard, or kale. If chard or kale, slice out center ribs of leaves, chop, and saute with onions/leeks. Slice the rest of the leaves into one-inch strips. Saute. After onions/greens are well-sauteed, stir in sprouts (any variety, crunchy lentils or bean mixes are great). Crack eggs into a bowl, stir until well-mixed, then pour eggs over sauteed vegetables. Stir until eggs are cooked to your satisfaction. If you wish, you can add thyme/basil/rosemary or curry powder or chili flakes to sauteing veggies.

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