Grow: Sprouts

If you’ve read my twitter or listened to the RSVP podcast you know I like sprouts. I pretty much like most of them, from crunchy bean sprouts to the zip of radish sprouts. I like them as salads or on sandwiches. Before I went to visit my Mom I told her about my recent adventures in sprouts and growing to many of them. After she had a good laugh at my expense she told me she used to sprout, though it was after I’d moved away, and after awhile she was the only one eating them so she put her sprouter away.

When I was visiting her, she gave me her old sprouter. It had a few cracks which I fixed right up. Is there anything food-grade silicone can’t seal? I don’t think so.

The model is from the early 2000s and isn’t made any longer but you can find something similar with the Victorio. It’s the same size, and externally looks the same. The ridges inside look very similar. It lacks a siphon-style drain and instead uses micro holes to drain the water from tray to tray.

The side of the box promises sprouts in 2 to 4 days. I think some larger seeds and grains could be ready in 2 days but my regular zesty sprouting mix won’t be ready but it will be ready in probably 5 or 6 days.

What I like about this style of sprouting set up is that it uses less water than the old mason jar style that required a great deal of shaking and rinsing, which I found resulted in quite a few broken beans and shoots. It also poured a lot of water down the drain. This collects the water at the base, and when you water the next time, you use that to water your plants.

The clear plastic lets you watch the water drain from tray to tray, which I must admit I find satisfying to watch. It also lets you monitor the level of sprouting. A downside to this is that sprouts like mung beans should be in the dark when sprouting or they discolor.

The 6-inch size is perfect for one or two people. It makes about the same amount as a quart mason jar. Unlike a mason jar which I find can be propped or shoved just about anywhere on my countertop, this must have a roughly 6.5-inch spot dedicated to it, and it must be level. But new levels are simply stacked upwards, so if you are growing several types of sprouts or staggered harvest, this becomes more compact.

I like the levels, you can stage when your next batch will be ready by loading up another tray. Stagger the starts to stagger the harvest. It works. You can order more levels on Amazon so you can create a selection of sprouts and also make sure you always have fresh sprouts ready to eat. From my readings you can go 8 levels high with this style of sprouting system. A downside to this system is that it isn’t particularly secure. Knock into it with a bot of force and it could come tumbling down. Probably not much of a problem once the sprouts are, well, sprouted, but a real mess in the first two days. Wet stringy ick. So long as one is careful, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Anyway, I like this setup. Despite its drawbacks, I like that it makes just enough for two people, can easily be staggered, and is compact with vertical stacks. At $20 for the 4 trays it’s not as cheap as sprouting caps for mason jars (which you probably already own) but it’s nifty. (If you search eBay you’ll find some good prices on this system.)

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