Fit with the sprouts

If we do not have a vegetable garden or terrace where we can grow our vegetables, we can try to grow sprouts, which are easy to prepare and produce, they are an excellent source of vitamins, rich in flavor, very simple to obtain, always fresh and tasty, very fun also for children, that we can approach the world of seeds and the vegetable garden.

What seeds

We can prepare sprouts virtually as needed edible plant, from salad to herb plants, from fenugreek to mustard, from mung beans to watercress; each plant has particular characteristics that make it interesting, you want the delicate taste, you want the aroma, you want a touch of spice. The important thing is that our seeds are of a type that germinates quickly, to avoid that our efforts to obtain a portion of sprouts last several days; generally all leaf salads sprout very quickly, and even the small plants that make up the grass.
In addition to this it is important to use seeds not treated with fungicides or pesticides, to increase their survival; therefore we buy specific seeds for the production of sprouts, and therefore for raw consumption.
In nurseries there are many seeds available for sprouts, generally they are alpha alfa, fenugreek, atzuki, mungo, sunflower, rocket.
In addition to the undeniable advantage of not being treated, these seeds are generally sold in large packs, at an economical price, this because the seeds for producing plants are carefully selected to obtain identical seedlings of the same variety; the seeds from sprouts instead do not need to be all selected, also because we will never see the plants that should give rise, but we will eat them before the leaves are seen.
If we know the origin we can also use any seed of edible plants, such as mustard, basil, watercress, tarragon, even taking the seeds from the plants of our garden.

How to prepare them

When we have obtained a good quantity of untreated seeds we are ready to make them germinate; we consider that for a portion to be added to a mixed salad we will need a couple of spoonfuls of medium-sized seeds, and a spoonful of tiny seeds.
These seeds should be germinated in a humid, not particularly sunny and sheltered from the wind.
The simplest way to make the seeds sprout is to prepare a large glass jar, in which we will soak the seeds for a few hours; we fix a gauze on the neck of the jar and after 4-5 hours of soaking we raise the water; then we place the jar lying on its side, trying not to leave all the seeds piled up, in a fairly dark and sheltered place. To get a perfect place we can place the jar in a corner of the kitchen, covered with a dark cloth or a paper bag of bread.
Every day we take the jar again, fill it with water and then drain, so as to always keep the seeds moist.
Within 2-3 days we should get some shoots at least half a centimeter high, we can begin to consume them when they begin to emit the first two leaflets; to avoid that they continue to grow once we reach the ideal size, we can put them in a pasta dish, wash them thoroughly, possibly with water and bicarbonate, and then dab them and put them in the refrigerator; avoid keeping the sprouts in the fridge for a long time: since we have prepared them fresh, let's eat them fresh. In a short time we will be able to evaluate a correct rotation of sowing and harvest, so as not to have to keep the sprouts already ready in the refrigerator. This is because the shoots tend to deteriorate rapidly, sending all our "work" into smoke.

Sprouts: Alternative techniques

In reality it is not necessary to prepare the sprouts by force in a jar, we can use the method we prefer, as long as they remain moist, in a sheltered place, and it is possible to rinse them easily.
There are special germinators on the market, or even small trapped holes where a thin layer of seeds is placed; a deep dish with some house paper can be perfect: let's place the wet house paper on the bottom of the plate, place the wet seeds on top and another layer of wet paper on top; every day we will pour a little water into the dish and drain it, keeping the seeds between the two layers of paper.
Even a clean saucer can be perfect; the important thing is to prevent our plants from receiving excessive sunlight, this because with too much sunlight the plants will begin to develop the foliage, which can sometimes be much more tasty than the leaves obtained in the dark: practically in the dark we will get bleached shoots, as with celery or fennel.