lentil sprouts

Group Project!

The stuff only looks peaceful

Don't know if you've been hearing about the uproar in the sprout world. You wouldn't think those little alfalfa sprouts could get people going, but they've done just that.

The sub sandwich chain Jimmy John's (a favorite with my 2nd grader) recently announced they would be switching to clover sprouts from alfalfa, following a widespread Salmonella outbreak linked to the innocuous-looking little buggers. Clover sprouts might not do it, though, because they themselves have been tied to outbreaks in the Pacific Northwest.

And even if you get Salmonella-free alfalfa, soon we will have to be careful that it's not genetically-modified (read Roundup-resistant). Instead of blocking GMO-alfalfa altogether, now the USDA and courts are niggling over what sorts of restrictions to place around it and how to prevent GMO-alfalfa from contaminating organic alfalfa. Check this Food Safety News article for the details. You might hate sprouts and think yourself not impacted, but our dear dairy cows love the stuff, meaning you will be eating the sprouts sooner or later. I'll be very interested to talk to our dairy farmers when the Market opens in May to get their opinion on this.

In the meantime, I'm sticking with my Organic Valley dairy products. They issued a statement this morning clarifying their position on the sprout schism (duh--they came out against).

If you do happen to love the fresh crunch of sprouts in salads and sandwiches, may I recommend you grow your own lentil sprouts? (Thank you to Janette for teaching me this.) I have zero green thumb and can't even grow my own herbs, but I can manage lentil sprouts. Which means you can manage lentil sprouts.

(1) Firstly, you will need a jar and a 1/4 cup of organic lentils. Plus one of those funny net things they bag some produce in, like green beans or brussels sprouts.

 (2) Dump the lentils in the jar. Pull the net over the jar and secure with a rubber band. Add enough water to cover the lentils and then drain most of it out until they're just wet and glisten-y but not floating.

 (3) Place the jar of wet lentils in a dirty windowsill where it can get a little light. The windowsill can be clean, but you take your chances. I've always grown mine in a dirty windowsill and it works like a charm.

(4) Whenever the lentils look dry, add water and drain. I do it at least once per day.

(5) After a day or two, you'll see tiny sprouts!

(6) When the sprouts look like sandwich- and salad-size, they're ready to eat. (You can tell I just started this project a couple days ago, so I don't have a picture of the finished product yet.) I usually refrigerate them, once they're "done."

Voila. Salmonella-free and non-genetically-modified. Happy organic farming!