Monday, April 16, 2012

It's a sprouting miracle!

I've tried sprouting in the past, but with no success. But after many years, I thought I'd give it another go. And I was met with success, but after a rather random and hodge-podge process...

I have a mason jar with a sprouting lid (screen), which always gives me drainage issues. No different this time. The gelatinous membrane that surrounds the soaked seeds plugs up the screen before I can fully drain them. Not helpful. I've tried various ways to get the water out of the jar (from the angle I tip the jar, to gently tapping on the screen to remove the stuck seeds, to frenzied, vigorous shaking...), but inevitably I can't get all the water out, and the seeds are always sitting in water. Even so, I did notice after some days that little sprouts were starting to emerge from some of the seeds. So they were germinating, but they needed better aeration.

We were going away for Easter weekend, and I was tempted to bring the sprouting jar with us so I could tend to them twice daily (not kidding), but instead we decided to pour the entire contents of the jar onto a paper-towel covered plate and leave it in the sun. We added water until there was a good puddle, to minimize the seeds drying out, but unsurprisingly, when we returned three days later, the seeds were baked onto the paper towel. It looked and felt very much like a large flatbread cracker. We were both certain that we'd killed the delicate sprouts, but thought, what the hey, we've got nothing to lose, so we added some water and somehow... impossibly, a day or so later, there was this:

And then a few days later, this:

Perhaps it only seems miraculously to me, because I don't know what I'm doing, and I wasn't expecting much to happen. But I was flabbergasted. I wish I understood the process more so I could replicate this success, but in a more intentional way. But, no matter how I got here, I've got tasty arugula sprouts! Delicious on salads, wraps, burgers... anything!

We've been re-watering the plate when the paper towel gets dry, and they've been doing great for a good week now! I'm not sure if I should expect them to grow any taller (currently about an inch high). I would love to hear any and all sprouting stories! Please share any sprouting wisdom/tips/hints; I could definitely use more info.

UPDATE: After a minimal amount of internet searching, it turns out that arugula seeds are "mucilaginous" which means they form that gelatinous membrane around them, and they shouldn't be sprouted in a jar (though my seed packet directed me so... argh). So now I know why I was having so much trouble and am encouraged to try again.

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