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SALAD GREENS & SPROUTING

In my last article I stated that growing most vegetables doesn’t work well as survival food because of the cost of time and water for the caloric return you get back. Rather than low calorie greens it would be better to spend limited space and water on high calorie vegetables like peas, corn, winter squash, potatoes and yams.

 

Salad Greens
If you just have to have salad greens in your garden, I suggest spinach. Spinach is an early spring, cold weather crop. Hot weather and long days trigger spinach to seed so begin sowing seeds 6 weeks before the last frost or as soon as you can work the soil. Make successive plantings every week until mid-May. Spring rains and snow will lessen the water you will need to provide. Maturity is 40-50 days after planting. Each 100 gram or 3 1/2 oz. serving (a little less than 1/2 cup) provides 25 calories.

 

Sprouting
An additional way to get greens for salads is by sprouting seeds. The great thing about sprouting is that it takes very little water, can be done all year long and, and is done inside. Alfalfa, Mung Bean, and Radish seeds all make great sprouting greens. Two tablespoons of alfalfa seeds makes two cups (1/2 lb.) of sprouts in only 5-6 days. Each 100 gram or 3 1/2 oz. serving (a little less than 1/2 cup) provides 24 calories.

 
Mung Bean seeds are available at Chinese food stores. One-third cup yields 2 cups (1 lb.) of sprouts in 3-4 days. Each 100 gram or 3 1/2 oz. serving (a little less than 1/2 cup) provides 31 calories.

 
Two tablespoons of Radish seeds makes two cups (1/2 lb.) of sprouts in only 5-6 days. Each 100 gram or 3 1/2 oz. serving (a little less than 1/2 cup) provides 42 calories.
Alfalfa and Radish seeds are available online for about $7 per lb. One pound Alfalfa seeds will produce seven pounds of sprouts. One pound Radish seeds will produce five pounds of sprouts.

 

Sprouting can also increase the nutritional value and volume of some food you should already be storing. Lentils and Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas) can be sprouted and both pack a nutritional wallop. One pound of either Lentils or Garbanzo Beans will produce two pounds of sprouts. Each 100 gram or 3 1/2 oz. serving (a little less than 1/2 cup) of Lentil sprouts provides 106 calories. Each 100 gram or 3 1/2 oz. serving (a little less than 1/2 cup) of Garbanzo Bean sprouts provides 165 calories.

 
Wheat Berries can also be sprouted and will yield a 2:1 volume when sprouted. Each 100 gram or 3 1/2 oz. serving (a little less than 1/2 cup) of Wheat Berry sprouts provides 106 calories. The great thing about Wheat Berry sprouts is that they can also be use to increase the nutrition of homemade bread.

 
So what do you need to start sprouting. Just a simple home-made sprouting jar and some basic information.

 
For the jar you can use any glass or plastic jar. Just take a piece of tulle or mesh and cover the jar mouth. Hold the cover in place with a rubber band.

 
Here are some links to free Sprouting Guides.
http://www.provident-living-today.com/support-files/basic-sprouting-guide.pdf
http://www.wheatgrasskits.com/basic_sprouting_guide.pdf

 

In addition here is a good YouTube video on basic sprouting.

 

Next time, look for information on edible weeks.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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