by Jaimie Jusczyk, Co-op Marketing Specialist and Wellness Co-ordinator
If you feel like this hasn’t been much of a winter here in NH and are itching to get back out into the garden, you are not alone. To tide us over until the ice melts and temperatures are more reliable, Co-op Garden Manager Stacey Cooper presented a class last Tuesday night on Growing Shoots & Sprouts at home to bring a little early spring into our homes and meal plans.
To start the workshop off, Stacey gave us a presentation on the difference between sprouts, shoots and microgreens and why we choose different growing methods for different varieties of seeds, some safety precautions and nutritional information.
So what is the difference between Sprouts, Shoots and Microgreens?
Sprouts are seeds which are germinated just to the point of initial leaf development and without any growing media. Shoots are seeds which have been germinated and allowed to grow primary leaves (embryonic leaves), they tend to be long and slender and are grown in media of some type to anchor their root system. Micro greens are seeds that are fully developed to include true leaves (post embryonic leaves) and roots. These plants are harvested at the soil surface as baby plants and used for salad mix, cooking, or garnish.
Stacey made a great point about making sure that when you are looking for seeds to consume as sprouts and shoots, make sure they are coming from safe, reliable source specific to the purpose. All sprouting and shoot seed should be labeled for use as such, having been tested for the presence of dangerous bacteria. Stacey’s top recommendation is High Mowing Seeds which you can find in the produce department at the Co-op along with cheese cloth to help get you started.
For Stacey’s presentation she demonstrated then gave us the chance to prepare a jar of sprouts and an egg cartoon for shoots.
For the sprouts we were all handed a mason jar with seeds, cheesecloth, and a rubber band. When we got home we were to soak the seeds in water for 8-10 hours then start the process of rinsing the seeds at least twice a day until they are sprouted and ready to eat. Depending no the variety of seeds it could be anywhere from 2 – 7 days.
For the shoots, Stacey has pre-soaked pea seeds for us and placed soil as a medium into the bottom of egg cartoons. We planted about 3-4 seeds in each of the “egg compartments” in the cartoon. When we got home we gently watered the soil just enough to make it damp and made sure it stayed damped by watering at least twice a day. We also closed the egg cartoons to keep the peas in a dark space. The shoots started to sprout after 2 days and will be ready to enjoy in 8 – 12 days.
To end the class Stacey had prepared some raw shoots for us to taste the difference along with some crackers to dip into a mixed sprout hummus and a sunflower pesto made with her home grown shoots and sprouts. So easy and so yummy! You can search online for recipes and use your favorite homegrown shoots and sprouts for a delicious spring flavor.
To download a copy of Stacey’s presentation for more information, click here.