When the summer heat burns our lettuces, we like to keep things fresh in the salad department with home grown sprouts! There are plenty of new-fangled sprout gadgets on the market for the aspiring sprouter but the humble DIY sprouter, made of a jar, string, muslin and rubber band, is our favourite as it can be entirely made of recycled materials, for free. Certified organic sprouting seed also doesn’t come cheap, so we like to be a bit sneaky and grow our own. Radish, broccoli, mustard and basically all brassica seeds make delicious sprouts: if you don’t follow strict seed saving principles they won’t grow true to type, but that doesn’t really matter in the world of sprouts, where the plant won’t be growing long enough to produce the veg it’s “supposed” to. Enthusiastic sprouters can try growing mung beans and lentils for sprouting, but as we already grow a wide array of brassicas at home, we like to leave a couple to go to seed for cheap and cheerful spray-free sprouting purposes.
To make your own DIY sprouter you will need:
Twine, a jar, seeds to sprout, muslin, rubber band
Tie a small piece of twine securely around the base of the jar, wrapping it round twice for extra tightness. Repeat this with the top of the jar. Join top twine and bottom twine in the middle to create a hanging handle.
Cut a square of muslin to fit easily over the top of the jar. Pop seeds in jar – around one tablespoon will be plenty – add water and cover with the the muslin and elastic band. Let them soak for 6-8 hours (longer time is for larger seeds).
Invert jar so seeds drain through muslin. Add water and rinse 2-3 times more. Hang jar on your kitchen draining rack so that it drains freely. A peg or small piece of wire will do the trick if your draining rack doesn’t have hooks.
Repeat rinsing once a day, until your sprouts are ready to eat (4-7 days depending on what you’re sprouting and how green you like them!)