Brussels are not the only sprouts

I have signed up for the 52 Week Salad Challenge over on the Veg Plotting blog. The idea is to grow or forage salad ingredients every week of the year. This has been on my ‘Must Do’ list ever since I arrived in France, but, while during the summer it is easy, my good intentions slide quickly away as the nights grow shorter and colder. So I welcome this as an opportunity to try new things and learn what other people are doing.

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If you want to read about the challenge you will find the first explanatory post here. You can also follow our progress on Twitter via the #saladchat hash tag.

My contribution so far to the challenge is to sow seeds of mixed salad leaves, spinach and celery. These are sitting on a shelf just under a Velux where it should be both bright and warm. In addition I have restarted sprouting, something I have done intermittently for many years. For anyone who doesn’t know about sprouting there is an excellent introduction to it here on the Veg Plotting blog.

Sprouting

I have tended to be rather conservative in my choice of seeds to sprout, using mainly chick peas, mung beans and alfalfa. Chick peas are probably the easiest of all to do, being ready to eat within 2 days. At this stage the shoots are tiny but, in my opinion, at their best. The taste is like pea pods. I also prefer mung beans when the shoots are tiny, not like the Chinese bean sprouts. The sprouts of the tiny-seeded alfalfa, in contrast, need to be much longer when harvested. These are the ones in the jar closest to the camera in this picture

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and they have been growing for three days. I will probably leave them for a further two days. My favourite way to serve them is this salad, which probably came from Rose Elliot’s ‘Not Just A Load Of Old Lentils’ (which, sadly, I no longer have):

Carrot and Alfalfa Sprout Salad

Mix together equal quantities of grated carrot and alfalfa sprouts. Make a vinaigrette using grape seed oil and orange juice, add a small amount of acacia honey, mix and pour over the salad.

The other jar in the picture contains fenugreek seeds, which is a new one for me. We ate some at lunch and I found them a little underwhelming. But I do have a cold so perhaps the flavour couldn’t get through. I shall be trying other new sprouts such as lentils, beetroot and broccoli in the coming weeks. Sprouting is the simplest way to put something fresh on your plate. They are quick to reach harvest and you don’t even have to get your hands dirty. Why not try it for yourself?

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13 responses to “Brussels are not the only sprouts

  1. What a lovely blog post Gill well woth waiting for i must a mit i only done mustard and cress on a papper towel but will try this new way of spouting method

  2. patientgardener

    Good luck. I hate sprouted seeds although I have tried time and again to like them. Sowing some salad leaves this weekend in the greenhouse but not taking part as I dont generally eat salad all year

    • There is no point growing what you don’t eat. We are not huge salad eaters, OH not too keen and I blow hot and cold, but I am glad of the discipline of the challenge, making me think about how to produce something over the cold months. Also, I am tired of buying supermarket salad and throwing half of it away.

  3. we used to eat tonnes of sprouted seeds but have also fallen out of tthe habit – love the idea of sprouting chick-peas tho not sure the sprouting will happen so fast here with our freezing cold house not much warmer and certainly less light than our bitterly cold green house.

    LOVE and happy blogging
    gxxxxxxxxx

  4. It looks as if this year may not be as hard as some. Leaves like dandelion are already large enough to pick, and wild garlic shouldn’t be too far behind. There’s so much else to forage: the question is, what? And what does it look like? Who’s the French equivalent of Richard Mabey?

  5. We used to sprout a lot too, but I don”t think we ever did chickpeas and I am never certain whenvto eat some of the bigger ones. There is a fabulous Bread recipe of Dan Lepard’s which uses sprouts to make a soft loaf packed with nutrients that I haven’t made for ages either. Today the bright cold has been replaced with milder, wetter weather so maybe it’s a day to sow. I’ve seen radish sprouts and sprouted broccoli as seeds in the past too! I want to tru and join in too. X Joanna

    • Jo, glad you got here at last. I must find that Dan Lepard recipe. As for when to eat the big sprouted stuff, I think that, as long as the sprout has started, you can eat them, then it’s down to personal preference. Try the chick pea just sprouted as a nibble. I love them, reminds me of chewing pea pods as a kid.

  6. Thank you for this post. I have just started browsing through all of the links via #saladchat. I love the idea of the different sprouts given here. I think many people have been put off sprouting because they have had too many less than averge bags of beansprouts from the supermarkets, as I have myself. I was given 2 different sprouters a few years ago, but really feel inspired to get them out now for the first time.

    That bread also sounds brilliant, even more of a reason to start sprouting.

    Mel

  7. Pingback: Tabouleh or not Tabouleh? | ediblethings

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