A Tool for the Frugal Homemaker
by Nikki Willhite
This article is being written during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of current conditions, people have developed a new respect for both food and money. Basic staples, like flour, yeast and even simple soups have been difficult to find, and money has been limited to buy them.People have taken to hobbies to be more self-reliant with food. Sprouting seeds is an easy way to make food. Our ancestors knew how to sprout seeds. I read a book many years ago that told of a family’s struggle farm on the early American plains. When they had a bad year, and their crops failed, they lived on sprouts. It kept them alive.
In the 1970s it became popular to eat sprouts. Alfalfa sprouts were sold in the produce department of the grocery store. Sprouts were put in green salads and were a popular sandwich addition. Around 2010 grocery stores started removing the sprouts due to the risk of contamination and food safety.
We can still enjoy sprouts if we grow them ourselves. Sprouts are still a wonderful heath food. Sprouting seeds dramatically increases the nutrients in the grain. In addition to vitamins C and K, sprouting seeds give us folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.
I use to have an emergency food storage plan that consisted of 4 items- wheat, powdered milk, honey and salt. These 4 food groups could sustain life. Where do you think the vitamin C in this plan came from? It came from sprouting the wheat! When you sprout wheat it has vitamin C.
Sprouted wheat is easy to eat, because the body processes it as a vegetable instead of a grain. Many people who have trouble eating wheat can eat sprouted wheat. You can find sprouted what flour in health food stores. It is made by taking wheat which has been sprouted and grinding it up into flour. (You can do that at home also).
You just can’t muff up sprouts. You can grow them in a jar, right on your kitchen counter. No sun? No problem. They don’t need it. They only way you can go wrong is trying to sprout a genetically altered seed.
Recently I purchase a couple packets of grains by mail order. One was rye, and one was barley. The rye came with a label that said, “good for sprouting.” The barley, on the other hand, said nothing about sprouting. That is because I purchased hulled barley. The grain had been altered.
The beauty of it is that sprouting is so easy. You soak the grain overnight, and then you just rinse them a couple times during the day until they sprout. There are a few rules to follow, such as keep them in the dark and letting them drain while they are sprouting. You also need to rinse them a couple times a day.
You can keep sprouts dark by either putting a towel over the jar or putting the jar in a paper bag. Put the jar in a small bowl at an angle, and it will drain. You can buy lids with a mesh screen for draining that fit canning jars. If you don’t have canning jars they sell them at the Dollar Store. Attach some cheesecloth at the top with a rubber band to easily rinse the seeds, or if you can get it tight enough, you can cut some needlepoint fabric for the canning jar lids. Some people just grow their sprouts in a strainer so they are easily rinsed.
When the spouts become 1/4 - 1/2 inch long they are done. Set the sprout jar in the sunlight for a few hours and the sprouts will green up. Most people start with alfalfa seeds. It only takes a couple teaspoons to make a bunch of sprouts. The unbelievable part…it only takes 3-4 days. In four days you will have a healthy bunch of sprouts.
Sprouting is a great tool for the frugal homemaker. Watch a few videos and go for it!
About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at www.fortfrugal.com - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money!