Food
Gardening

Growing Greens In The Winter

Story and Media by
Wendy Wesser
Media by
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Written by
Wendy Wesser

"I’m not a rabbit!” my gramma firmly stated when I asked her if it was OK if I added sprouts to our salad while she was visiting our home in Juneau. I’d asked her because salads at Gramma’s house were always the same—iceberg lettuce, tomatoes chopped fine, and cucumbers chopped fine. I, on the other hand, love variety. In the winter, when we can’t grow our own salad greens, sprouts are an easy and economical way to still provide a fresh and very healthy addition to our salads. 

I also chuckle when I remember another episode involving sprouts at one of my daughters’ basketball tournaments. A long day of games was anticipated and, knowing that middle school girls might not think to pack a lunch, I decided it would be easiest if I just made a meal for the whole team. I noticed a few of the girls looking quizzically at their sandwiches and overheard one asking the others, “What are these?” as she pointed at the sprouts. They all had puzzled looks on their faces and another teammate responded, “I have no idea.” They were skeptical when I assured them that they were safe to eat and healthier and tastier than most lettuces. Kids today are even less likely to be familiar with sprouts because they aren’t as common to find in stores after the salmonella problems commercial growers had a few years ago. It’s safest to grow them ourselves.

To grow sprouts you don’t need any special containers or lids. A quart-size mason jar works great. I have a plastic lid with drainage holes, but cheesecloth and a rubber band works fine too. Put 1-2 tablespoons of seeds into your jar, cover with a cup of water, and soak overnight or 8 hours. Drain, add more water, and rinse seeds once or twice. Place the jar where it won’t get direct sunlight and tilt it so any excess water can drain into a bowl. At this stage they will even grow in a dark cupboard. Rinse and drain twice a day for 3 to 5 days or until the sprouts are about an inch or two or longer and ready to eat. If you kept them in a dark place then put the jar in a window sill for a time so the small leaves can turn green. This can be a challenge on our dark days, but it doesn’t take much. Rinse your sprouts and store in a container lined with a paper towel. Eat within a week. This is a good time to start your next batch. 

I’ve experimented with different types of seeds over the years and my family’s favorite is the reliable alfalfa, but the list is long of seeds that are appropriate for sprouting so have fun experimenting. 

Sprout Salad

1 c. sprouts

½ T. fresh lemon juice

¼  c. avocado, cut in small pieces or mashed

1 T. sunflower seeds, hulled

Mix together and enjoy. Add chicken, shrimp, feta cheese, Craisins, or any other ingredient you like.

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Growing Greens In The Winter

Food
Gardening

Author

Wendy Wesser

Writing, history, gardening, and traveling are a few of Wendy Wesser’s interests. She grew up in Alaska, living as far south as Metlakatla and as far north as Fairbanks. Her family’s history of six generations in Alaska reaches back to the Gold Rush years. She loves reading, hearing, and sharing Alaskan stories of newcomers and oldtimers alike—Last Frontier Magazine has provided her the opportunity to work in this very venue.Alternate bio for articles: Wendy currently resides in Wasilla, Alaska, but has also lived in Metlakatla, Ketchikan, Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. She enjoys sharing her life experiences of hiking, skiing, gardening, winter camping, etc…, as well as helping other Alaskans (old, new, current, or past) to share their own tales. Since she always says, “Yes!” to the next adventure, her backlog of stories is varied and almost endless. 


"I’m not a rabbit!” my gramma firmly stated when I asked her if it was OK if I added sprouts to our salad while she was visiting our home in Juneau. I’d asked her because salads at Gramma’s house were always the same—iceberg lettuce, tomatoes chopped fine, and cucumbers chopped fine. I, on the other hand, love variety. In the winter, when we can’t grow our own salad greens, sprouts are an easy and economical way to still provide a fresh and very healthy addition to our salads. 

I also chuckle when I remember another episode involving sprouts at one of my daughters’ basketball tournaments. A long day of games was anticipated and, knowing that middle school girls might not think to pack a lunch, I decided it would be easiest if I just made a meal for the whole team. I noticed a few of the girls looking quizzically at their sandwiches and overheard one asking the others, “What are these?” as she pointed at the sprouts. They all had puzzled looks on their faces and another teammate responded, “I have no idea.” They were skeptical when I assured them that they were safe to eat and healthier and tastier than most lettuces. Kids today are even less likely to be familiar with sprouts because they aren’t as common to find in stores after the salmonella problems commercial growers had a few years ago. It’s safest to grow them ourselves.

To grow sprouts you don’t need any special containers or lids. A quart-size mason jar works great. I have a plastic lid with drainage holes, but cheesecloth and a rubber band works fine too. Put 1-2 tablespoons of seeds into your jar, cover with a cup of water, and soak overnight or 8 hours. Drain, add more water, and rinse seeds once or twice. Place the jar where it won’t get direct sunlight and tilt it so any excess water can drain into a bowl. At this stage they will even grow in a dark cupboard. Rinse and drain twice a day for 3 to 5 days or until the sprouts are about an inch or two or longer and ready to eat. If you kept them in a dark place then put the jar in a window sill for a time so the small leaves can turn green. This can be a challenge on our dark days, but it doesn’t take much. Rinse your sprouts and store in a container lined with a paper towel. Eat within a week. This is a good time to start your next batch. 

I’ve experimented with different types of seeds over the years and my family’s favorite is the reliable alfalfa, but the list is long of seeds that are appropriate for sprouting so have fun experimenting. 

Sprout Salad

1 c. sprouts

½ T. fresh lemon juice

¼  c. avocado, cut in small pieces or mashed

1 T. sunflower seeds, hulled

Mix together and enjoy. Add chicken, shrimp, feta cheese, Craisins, or any other ingredient you like.

No items found.

Author

Wendy Wesser

Author & Media

Wendy Wesser

No items found.

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