Simple Sprouting Tips
-by Charise Mixa
I’m not a domestic goddess by any stretch of the imagination. I prefer to grab a snack and run, and rarely do I sit down for a meal. And if my husband wants something special, he’s on his own. But I do love to cook for my birds, and I’m especially fond of sprouting for them as well. And the birds love it, too! (I’ve even sprouted for my friend’s six, free-range chickens that have a hard time finding live foods to eat this time of year.) There’s something satisfying about watching the birds chow down on little live plants, like they would in the wild. And it’s really easy.
Now, there’s the traditional way, using a big jar with a screen on top, but I prefer to simplify as much as possible. Enter the Easy Sprouter (http://www.sproutamo.com/). It really is easy—just follow the directions. I fill the sprouter about 1/3 with my mix of dry legumes and/or seeds and grains and fill with water. The mix will swell as it rehydrates, so make sure to leave room for expansion. I let this sit over night, drain and rinse, and keep rinsing a couple of times a day for a couple of days. And low and behold, little roots start, well, sprouting! Once they’ve reached the desired length, I store them in the refrigerator. I continue to rinse the sprouts, and even though they are in the ‘fridge, they will continue to grow, only a bit slower. Make sure to give your sprouts a sniff check often, and if they smell foul, toss them. For my flock, this amount will last a few days. I’ll either sprinkle the sprouts on the birds’ dry food or mix it with their mash. It’s really a healthy and fun addition to your bird’s diet.
Some quick tips: try to use ingredients that have the same sprout time. I’ve found that a mix of mung, adzuki, French green lentils, sprouting peas, quinoa, millet, wheat, and rye all sprout with equal speed. Also, only use quality ingredients. In my experience, older ingredients oftentimes have longer and less consistent sprout time. In fact, a seed mix consisting of millet, sunflower and safflower should sprout, but if you pull some Hartz off the shelf and try to sprout it, chances are it will rot before anything happens.