I've been enjoying using the Easy Sprouters that I got for Christmas. So far I've use them to grow alfalfa, broccoli, and buckwheat sprouts. These sprouters are easy to
move around which is handy as I have a very cool kitchen in the winter and my seeds sprout much faster when I keep them in the living room where the wood burner keeps things nice and cosy. The Easy Sprouter (amazon.com) is also really good to take away with you when your travelling.
guide to growing broccoli sprouts in the easy sprouter
Here's how to grow broccoli sprouts in the Easy Sprouter. Other small seeds for sprouting that you can grow this way include alfalfa, cabbage, clover, fenugreek, black mustard and radish. The sprouts will be ready in 5 to 6 days.
Broccoli seeds like to float so give them a good bop with your finger to make them behave and sink to the bottom.
Make sure the small plastic alfalfa insert is pushed securely into the bottom of the inner container of the Easy Sprouter. If you don't use it then the seeds will fall out and go all over the place. Simply push it straight down and it should gently click into place.
Add 1/4 of a cup of broccoli seed and rinse under the cold tap.
Next place the inner container inside the solid outer container so that it sits flat and cover the seeds with drinking water. Some of the seeds will want to float and you can encourage them to sink to the bottom by giving them a tap or two with your fingers. As long as most of them sink a few floaters won't matter.
Now pop on the clip-on lid (see top of page) and leave to soak in a warm spot for 6-8 hours or overnight. Ideal room temperature is a cosy 70 °F or 21 °C.
step 2. Drain and rinse
Remove the inner container and drain away the soak water. You can use the drain water to water your plants, or if your short on water you can drink it or use it as stock. The soak water contains some nutrients and usually some tannins.
Rinse the inner container under the tap and drain thoroughly (see below). It's important that the seed is not left sitting in water as this can cause it to rot and prevent it from sprouting.
Put the inner container back into the outer one and clip the lid back on. Place in a well ventilated spot out of strong direct sunlight that is ideally around 70 °F or 21 °C
Day 4: The harmless white fuzz of the broccoli roots.
The harmless white fuzz of the broccoli roots is a sign that the sprouts are ready for a rinse. After rinsing the roots will be invisible until they dry out again.
After rinsing: The broccoli roots are invisible when wet. These sprouts now need placed in bright indirect light such a as a north-facing windowsill to green up.
Step 3. rinse and repeat
Full the Easy Sprouter with drinking water. Soak the sprouts for 3-15 minutes once a day until the leaves emerge and the hulls can be removed. When the weather is very hot you will probably need to do this twice a day. You want the seeds to never totally dry out.
Once the sprouts have grown longer they will clump together and you can gently loosen them using a blunt fork to break them up and give them room to grow. You want to do this during the daily soak while you have water in the container to support them.
By day 4 or 5 you should start to run out of room in the container. It's then time to eat them as they grow. This will create more space for them to expand into the next day. It reminds me of the magic porridge pot when the sprouter is magically full again the next day.
Drain the sprouts thoroughly. Pop the inner container back into the outer one, and snap on the lid. Place in a warm well ventilated spot out of bright sunlight.
How to drain thoroughly: After rinsing give the sprouts a thorough drain. Hold the top of the inner container firmly
between your thumb and fingers and using a circular motion of your wrist let the
centrifugal force spin most of the water away. You don't have to go
crazy, 20-30 little spins seems to work just fine. Works best with an empty sink!
step 4. Remove the hulls (Optional)
If you want to store your sprouts then it is important to dehull them as the empty hulls can hold water which can lead to rot. If your going to eat them straight away then you can miss this step out, just watch out for the hulls sticking to your teeth!
How to dehull and store broccoli sprouts
Around day 4 or 5 the sprouts reach the leaf stage and the hulls start to fall off. You can skim off the hulls that float to the top during the daily soak using your fingers or a fork.
Many of the hulls will be at the bottom of the container. To clean these out first use a fork to remove all the sprouts from the Easy Sprouter. Remove the alfalfa insert from the base of the inner container and clean out the hulls and any hard seed that hasn't sprouted. I find the small brush that came with my juicer handy for this. After cleaning the container you can either return the sprouts for further growing and greening, or store them in the fridge and start another batch.
Broccoli sprouts are delicate and MUST be dry if you plan to store them successfully in the fridge so don't soak or rinse them first. If they are damp then return them to the sprouter and let them dry out for a day before storing them. Once dry store in an airtight container and use as soon as possible.