by Eva Cabaca
Pull out the old preserving jars, buy a little cheesecloth or gauze, and you can start to grow your own garden right on your kitchen counter.
As for the seeds themselves, the rule of thumb is that the smaller and softer the grain the quicker and safer (yes, there is a danger of growing mould). Try all kinds of grain, lentils, small beans, seeds (sunflower, alfalfa, fenugreek). They all have to be in their most natural state, hulled, but not polished or cracked.
Soak the seeds for a day, drain and put them into a jar (1-3L), filling approximately one fifth of the selected jar. Secure the mouth of the jar with gauze and elastic and roll it gently to let the wet seeds stick to the sides of the jar, place on an angle in a shallow bowl to allow for drainage and wait for the performance to commence. For another three to five days your role is going to be caregiver since your miniature garden will need a tap-water bath once or twice daily to provide moisture and prevent moulds from growing. In return, your sprouts will thrive to full glory and allow you to make a tasty and healthy salad by just adding some olive oil and Tamari or sprucing up the contents of your regular salad.
For more serious enthusiasts, here is another alternative:
(Similar to the health food store Manna bread)
· Sprout 2-5 cups - wheat, kamut, rye, hulled barley or lentils (for several loaves/buns)
· Spices, nuts, dried fruits (optional)
· Usual ingredients for bread dough
Sprout your favourite combination as above. This will require 2 - 4 days depending on the desired texture.
To perform the next step, you or your neighbour will have to own a suitable kitchen appliance for grinding: the Champion Juicer, a quality food processor, an electric wheat-grass juicer or a cast-iron 'meat' grinder. At the time of grinding, the sprouts should be well-drained and only a little moist (rinse 4-5 hours before).
The next steps will be familiar to all bread bakers - kneading (optional), flavouring (with spices, nuts, dried fruit) and shaping. If the mixture seems too mushy add some freshly ground oat flour.
Bake or "dry" the loaves at a very low temperature of 200-250¡F for 2 to 3 hours - you want to preserve the goodness of live matter. Don't make them higher than 1-1/2 inches. To prevent them from sticking, dust the sheet with seeds or corn meal. Enjoy and spend your sprout energy wisely.
More ideas are sprouting from the heads of the organizers of the Simplicity special interest group, so call the TVA to see what's growing.