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Digital Subscriptions > Kitchen Garden Magazine > February 2018 > GET SET, SPROUT!

GET SET, SPROUT!

Fast, fresh and famously nutritious, sprouted seeds give you a crop within the week – whatever the weather. Gaby Bartai tells you all you need to know

Gaby Bartai

This can be a difficult month. Allegedly, a new season is under way, and gardeners are itching to get growing. Unfortunately, very little else is.

It was February – a cold, dark, Scottish February – when I discovered seed sprouting. It’s the perfect therapy for frustrated green fingers, and gives you a garden within the comfort of your kitchen on days when the actual garden is less than enticing. You don’t need any special equipment – though upgrading to a proper sprouter is satisfying and inexpensive – and the process itself is child’s play. It is, in fact, an excellent project for children, offering both hands-on activity and instant gratification.

Weight for weight, sprouts have many times the nutrient content of the mature plants – they have impressive levels of vitamins and antioxidants, and many are also an excellent source of protein. They transform winter salads and sandwiches, can be added to soups, stir-fries, casseroles and rissoles, and are ready inside a week.

Sprouts are often found in catalogues alongside microgreens, but are distinct from them in that there’s no substrate involved. They are sprouted using only water, and all you need to do is rinse them, drain them and watch them grow.

SEEDS TO SPROUT

The original sprout was the mung bean or ‘bean sprout’, and that’s still the most useful all-rounder – but seed catalogues now offer a whole range of alternatives, from the micro alfalfa to the macro chickpea, and specialist sprouting websites suggest dozens more. Some are more successful than others. My own favourites are mung beans, aduki beans, lentils, sunflowers, fenugreek and radish.The easiest ones to start with are the first three; sunflowers are easy to grow but need to be dehulled by hand, and smaller seeds can be more fiddly to rinse and drain.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden... - Win gardening goodies Instant garden borders & more worth £1325 - Curry night grown by you - For the love of veg 10 pages of red hot growing advice - 27 big crops for tiny plots - Veggies from a jam jar - Prepare for spring 3 pages of essential top tips - 10 ways to boost your harvest - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall