Sprouting and growing micro greens aboard
Sprouts and micro greens aboard
I am always keen to find ways to extend our access to fresh green vegetables when out cruising. Sprouting beans and seeds, and growing micro greens are something I have been experimenting with aboard P.O.S.H.
There is lots of information written about the great nutrition benefits of sprouts and micro greens, and in particular benefit to cruisers, is the high fibre found in many beans and micro greens.
With summer approaching and more available sunlight, lets first describe micro greens. This describes the lovely bright green mini plants that grow a few inches tall, and are harvested with scissors. Micro greens are grown in soil or using a sprouting medium. The beans and seeds need to grow in the sun, and must be regularly watered.
I have had success with Mmm seeds, they offer a multi bean mix that includes sunflower seeds and chick peas. Good information on their website for growing tips, and it was easy to order online.
The basic tips to growing micro greens. First soak your beans overnight or longer, until all the seeds and beans sink. Using a container with drainage, this can be as simple as a large yogurt container with holes in the bottom, or a more stylish container. I have had success using coconut coi, this is ground up coconut husks that act as soil. It seems cleaner than dirt, and that has been nice on the boat. Regular potting soil will also work well, and I have even scrapped soil off the foreshore and it worked just fine. After the seeds/beans has soaked, spread them on the soil and moisten, cover with a lid or tea towel with a soft weight for a day or two. This action encourages the plant to root well before sprouting. Remove the cover and you may see little fibrous roots that look like mould, don’t worry about these, sprits with water and place the container in the sun. Water daily and keep the soil moist not soaked, in 5 days or more you will have a lovely crop of micro greens. Trim the greens just before use with scissors, it is quite likely you will get a second crop so keep an eye for new growth.
micro greens look really stylish as they start to green up. I like to look for interesting containers that are decorative, or make something fun out of a reused container, and display the sprouts on the table in the cockpit. Or I am hoping to fix simple white boxes to the back push pit, like window boxes. I am still negotiating with the other skipper about this, ha.
Sprouting beans and seeds can also be done in a jar with just water. This process is a better option if you don’t have a lot of sunshine, or space for a micro green garden. The supplies are simple, a glass jar and screen to correct size to rinse the seeds/beans. The photos will show my favourite set up, using a large mason jar and plastic sprouting lid.
The first bean I had success sprouting, and really enjoy eating, is the mung bean. This is a hardy little green bean, that when sprouted is fresh and ready to eat. I also like sprouting chick peas (garbanzo beans) however I find them still a bit hard, and will blanch in water for a minute before using in a salad or making hummus.
This photo shows both mung beans and chick peas just starting to sprout in the jars. And the beans in the black container are mung beans ready to eat.
The process for sprouting is simple. Add a few tablespoons of mung beans or less for smaller seeds to a jar, rinse and soak overnight. Rinse the beans a few times, leave inverted in the container to drain and leave in a dark place. I don’t know a lot about acceptable sprouting temperatures, however I know that it takes longer when it’s cold and probably much quicker and requires more rinsing when it’s hot. The sprouts must be rinsed at least daily, or twice a day, and make sure it has some airflow and drains. Store the sprouts when fairly dry in the fridge.