Month: July 2016

Gardening on a Boat!

Gardening on a Boat!

Yep, you heard me.  It doesn’t matter how small a boat, as you’ll soon see.  It’s really a deep subject and one that needs lengthy examination if you plan to be “out there” for any length of time on your boat.  The more food you […]

Sprouting and a Small Garden!

Sprouting and a Small Garden!

Even a small garden helps offset my nutritional needs.  We just moved a month ago, right into the major heat of Houston, Texas.  Sad to leave our kitchen garden behind. Fortunately, our new house has wonderful gardens in place and is producing some food each […]

Juicing Sprouts!

Juicing Sprouts!

My sprouts book gains much of its strength in the simple process of continual sprouting.  I emphasize that the most because that’s what shot me down the most in years past.  I can’t recall how many times (well, like, EVERY time!) I starRevised Front Coverted a batch of sprouts, got them harvested, and then put the sprouter away.  Too soon forgotten.

A week later, a month later, next year, I would get a reminder to try to eat better.  Then I’d go digging around the galley looking for my sprouter.  The longer the dry period of no sprouts, the deeper the sprouter would be hidden.

So my process today, and for the past three years has been to maintain ongoing sprouts… often 2 different batches at a time, usually harvesting on different days, too.  I adjust the quantity of sprouts to fit my household needs for the time it takes to renew them.

Pics 8 22 2015 141For me, I’ll sprout about 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of larger sprouts, like lentils and/or 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of smaller seeds like alfalfa, clover, or broccoli seeds.  When they are harvested, I’ll have enough to use with each meal until the next batch is done.

Pics 8 22 2015 003But, there are lots of times I have some left… sometimes a lot, like when I end up eating out a bunch.  When the new sprouts are ready to harvest, I simply toss the current batch into the juicer to add that much more fresh, home-grown nutrition to my juices.

Ready to juice! Just add sprouts!
Ready to juice! Just add sprouts!

I’m a kitchen sink juicer, meaning that I will juice whatever is laying around the kitchen:  generally tidbits of remaining veggies and fruits.  Usually I can clean up some cabbage, celery, carrots, parsley, cilantro, lettuce, kale, spinach, squash, tomatoes, and the like… And, of course, I’ll toss in sprouts.

Keep in mind that I juice sprouts as a part of my regular juicing, too. The quantity goes up at times that new batches are ready to harvest.

I don’t know how good or bad the various things are for juicing. I just juice veggies and drink it.  There are no ingredients, per se, as the veggies are just that, veggies.  I also know that the more of them I get via fresh juices, the better my health seemed to get.  Maintenance involves the same commitment to real food.

I shy away from nutritionism products like dried powders and concentrates that promise the world.  Been there, done that.  If it’s got ingredients, it’s not gonna end up being the fresh, whole nutrition that has cured me of my six chronic illnesses! Simple.

Pile the sprouts into the juicer!
Pile the sprouts into the juicer!

So, plan to use your sprouts in every way possible: raw or cooked; at every meal; in soups, casseroles, and loafs; in sandwiches, burritos, and tacos; by themselves; and even on french toast and pancakes! AND be sure to add them to your regular veggie juicing regimine.

I’ve been posting a lot about juice lately.  It’s a part of my life and my recovery from the American industrial food complex.  And, it’s a way to increase my raw veggie intake substantially without having to chew raw veggies all day!  And, the juice is almost always delightful in some way!

Jim B 7 9 2016 Galveston BeachHere’s to your health, my self-help, self-health friends!  – Jim B!

Cantaloupe Juice! Another Euphoric Drink on These Hot Days!

Cantaloupe Juice! Another Euphoric Drink on These Hot Days!

All that talk about watermelon juice got me refreshing for several days from the juice of a half a seedless watermelon!  Then, it was still hot and humid here south of Houston, Texas. It was so hot, that just stepping outside the front door was […]

We Are Past Due for Watermelon Juice!

We Are Past Due for Watermelon Juice!

Watermelon Juice!  Ahhhhh! My favorite juice in the summertime!  Oh, it’s great any time, but summertime is the best! Quenches thirst, cools me down, and gives me some nutrients to treat the heat! I enjoy juicing so many things, but on these hot days of […]

Sunflower Sprouts!

Sunflower Sprouts!

IMG_0455Sunflower Sprouts! My faves! I tend to say that about a half-dozen different sprouts.  Why? Because they are!  Sunflower sprouts have the taste, texture, and nutrition I crave.

I was relegated to buying them from dealers at farmers markets for years. But, after a year of searching, reading, and experimenting, I finally came up with a good system to grow them myself. Here ya go!

Sprouting Sunflowers: Sprouting in Dirt

Getting a good system for sprouting sunflowers has eluded me. I kept trying to do it without dirt. The results were always the same, twisted sprouts, poorly formed yellowy leaves, and roots that taste bitter.

I went searching.   YouTube gave me some good answers, but I didn’t want to hear it. I thought I should be able to sprout everything without dirt. Wrong!

To get great sunflower sprouts, the only solution I could find that worked simply and was easy to reproduce, was to sprout them in dirt. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on the subject. Each looked to work well. But none fit my criteria of simple, easily reproducible, cheap, and with consistent results.

Trial and error. I looked at hydroponics for a while. That meant that I spent countless hours pouring over everything I could find on the subject on the internet. And there’s a lot to pour over on that subject on the internet!

I almost bought a bunch of shallow tubs, coconut grass mats, chemical fertilizers, pumps, and grow lights. What a mess. How complicated a setup was that? And the expense was way more than my cheap-natured perspectives on feeding my self whole and healthy food.

At the same time I began researching Wheatgrass and Barleygrass sprouting. I love the healthfulness of those greens when juiced.   I had the right juicer to juice them.   But, like sunflowers, how could I do it when sprouting in a jar just didn’t get it done anywhere near what I’d hoped for.

Then I watched a nice Midwesterner who showed me how she grows her sunflower sprouts in dirt. It was simple. It was reproducible. It was fairly cheap. It looked like it needed some tweaking to get it to work in the winter, when there’s not much sun in my windows. She used foil cookie sheets with raised edges and poked holes in the bottom to let the water drain out. I thought that was good and could get the trays, new, at the dollar store at the rate of two for a buck. Not too bad.

But those trays wouldn’t be durable enough to continuously rotate new crops of sprouts. I needed something stronger for that.

Repurposing Refuse Plastic into Micro-Mini Greenhouses!

Greenhouse2Then came Christmas.   We had a party. Yes, I served tons of fresh home-grown sprouts. And a friend brought a deli-pack of fresh veggies already cut for dipping. It was a large black square plastic bowl with a clear lid that snapped firmly in place, the kind you see everywhere these days.

GreenhouseI didn’t think about it until afterwards when I was cleaning up, washing up, and tossing out the trash.   I picked up the big container and rinsed it out prior to putting it in the plastic recycling container.

Then the vision of a micro-mini greenhouse hit me! I could see dirt in the bottom and sunflower sprouts about 4” long smiling up at me!

Of course!

I didn’t poke holes in the bottom. Why? I wanted to be able to place this on my kitchen counter without seepage problems. Well-soaked seeds wouldn’t need to be swimming in water. I figured that if I put enough water in them that would dry out in a day or so, they might be fine. They were!

It’s winter. No sun in the window. So as they began to sprout up I put them in the back yard on a cool day in the low 40’s. A while later I looked out and saw to my horror, a squirrel was enjoying MY sprouts!   I went out and shoo’ed him away.

0130161023dI simply snapped the lid firmly in place on top to keep him out. Voila! A terrarium of sorts was created. The sun heated up the inside causing the water to vaporize and condense on the lid. Then it would rain periodically inside.

It was a micro-mini greenhouse of sorts. Portable! Durable! FREE! Re-usable!

And they grew! And they grew so nicely! And I tried a few and they were as wonderful as the pricey ones I’d bought in stores and at farmers’ markets, when I could find them. I was finally onto something!

The plastic container kept the dirt in and my kitchen counters clean. I could set them outside to green up during sunny winter days and bring them in at night. I could resist adding water until the container felt as if it had nothing in it, meaning they were dry. And, the true test, they tasted great.

Once a batch was done, as defined by the sprouts having their second sets of leaves just budding up between the first 2 leaves. I would cut them off, rinse them, and eat them.   It’s just like picking asparagus and trying not to eat them all before you get in the house! Wonderful!

The reason a normal sprouter doesn’t work for me with sunflowers is that the sprouts curl up on themselves and the roots are tangled up with the sprouts. The roots, to me, are bitter-tasting. When I buy sprouts at farmers’ markets and at stores, they don’t include the roots. I know why.

I was about to toss out the harvested dirt when I noticed that there were late bloomers just breaking the soil surface. So I watered them and kept them going a couple more days.   Lucky me! It gave me another full batch of sunflowers! Once they were harvested, the dirt/roots complex went out to the garden area to build up the soil for next spring.

As a side note, be careful on warmer days.  I set a batch out on a day when it was in the upper seventies.  I came home after being gone all day and found my sprouts cooked!  They were brown and shriveled up!  They smelled nasty like over-cooked garbage.  Oops!  Important note to self: Keep an eye on them when in direct sunlight!

Sprouting Sunflower Seeds:

  • Measure out a half cup of sunflower seeds

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  • Put them on to soak for over 2 nights.       It takes longer to soak them since they have the hulls that have to get soaked up, too.

 

  • 0127160954aClean your micro-mini greenhouse. You can use the larger ones like specialty platters come in from the deli or smaller ones like they sell whole cooked chickens in.  If you are a vegetarian, just ask your meat-eating neighbors to save you a chicken container.

 

  • 0127160954bSet it out on the counter and fill the bottom with about 1/2″ of organic potting soil (or good soil from your own backyard garden!). Use soil that says it’s specifically made for growing food for people. Not just flowers. Why? I’m not sure why, but it makes me feel less vulnerable.

 

  • 0127160957a_Burst01Spread soaked seeds out over the soil evenly and cover with ¼” or so of more soil.
  • Water lightly and wait. I set them on the kitchen counter or the kitchen window sill.

 

 

  • In short order, they begin to grow!
0130161023d
Snap the lid to keep squirrels and birds out! Careful on warm days not to cook your babies here!

 

  • Set outside on cooler / cold sunny days, covered to keep animals out and warmth in.
0127161014
The Lower Micro-Mini Greenhouse is raining!

The terrarium it creates also rains several times a day! How cool is that?

  • They grow more!

0126161856a

  • Use scissors to cut the sprouts as they begin to bud out their second leaves.

 

  • Rinse them in a colander. Doesn’t take much water. You can wait and rinse them as you use them, too. Just remember which method you choose.

 

  • 0129161717After harvesting, set the micro-mini greenhouse back on the sill for a day or so to see if more are gonna sprout. Harvest as they come.

 

 

  • Clean the micro-mini greenhouse thoroughly. Soak another 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds for 2 days. Repeat this process.  The key is always in repetition. If you maintain a steady supply of sprouts, you’ll always have them and eat them.

 

0129161716b

Above, you see the second leaves just budding out between the first ones.

When you grow enough to have extras, just put them in the fridge just as you would any other sprout. I like to trim them as they grow and keep them growing longer. But some people are better at developing a consistent one-time harvest process. Maybe I’ll get there some day. At least I have a beginning for these, my absolute favorite sprouts!

And that’s the end of the very rough draft of a chapter on sprouting sunflower seeds in soil. The pics need work, the writing needs help, and I need to take some better pics along the way.   I’ll also be adding Wheatgrass and Barleygrass in future posts.

Please send me any comments, criticisms, ideas, enhancements, or impressions you have to share. It will help me do a better job of serving our sprouting friends.

And please share this post where appropriate with friends, family, and other sites that might have interest.

Best health my self-health, self-help friends!    – Jim B!
Amazon Link for My Sprouting Book!

 

Lentils, My Old Reliable Standby Sprouts!

Lentils, My Old Reliable Standby Sprouts!

Lentils: My old standby!  I’ve grown them in all sorts of climates, in all sorts of living situations, and in all sorts of sprouters.  They always seem to come through for me.  I don’t even need to buy organic or special “sprouting lentils,” either.  Versatile, […]

Jim B’s Story!

Jim B’s Story!

Current conventional wisdom says that we should be eating at least 60% raw veggies and fruits in our diet, each day! And many folks believe that up to 100% raw foods is the best way to thrive!  For years I wasn’t able to make that […]


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