One of the big challenges of living off of emergency food for any length of time is that in certain survival situations, you may not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and, as a result, may find your diet lacking in vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. Consequently, it’s important to find creative ways to ensure you have fresh vegetables even when you’re living off your food storage reserves. Sprouting may just be the answer to this problem.
Sprouting is the process of germinating dormant seeds in order to eat them while still young shoots. It’s an easy practice to do, costs little money, and provides a wealth of nutrients. Sounds like the recipe for a perfect survival food, right? If you’re still not convinced that sprouting should be the next survival skill you pick up, read on.
1. Growing sprouts indoors is a great way to get super nutritious, fresh foods no matter what the conditions outside. Added bonus: You can grow sprouts in the dead of winter and keep yourself connected to the growing vibe that the winter season often lacks.
2. Sprouted foods are filled with nutritional benefits. That’s because the process of sprouting foods multiplies those foods’ nutritional profiles. According to many sources, sprouted foods contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants, and they are good sources of saponins and phytochemicals.
3. Sprouting is easy to do in survival situations and offers a great source of food when food supplies are short. All you need is dry beans, seeds, or grains, which are easy to store for long periods of time and are common food storage items, and some water. In addition, sprouting will help you ensure a nutritious diet in a survival situation.
4. Sprouted foods make for delicious, interesting flavor when added to meals, soups, salads, smoothies, and more. Or you can eat them by themselves for a healthy, crunchy snack.
5. Sprouting foods is a cheap way to get a lot of food for a little money. Buy cheap dry beans and seeds and grains and do your sprouting from those. It’s an economical habit during any time of life.
6. You can sprout a huge variety of foods: grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, vegetables, leafy greens, and more.
If you’re interested in getting started sprouting at home, the good news is you don’t need to go out and spend a lot of money on supplies. All you’ll need is your seed of choice and a suitable sprouting container. One of the most common sprouting containers is a simple glass jar with a breathable cloth or screen across its mouth. Other popular containers are sprouting bags made out of breathable material and, for bigger jobs, sprouting trays that hold a large quantity of sprouts. Most of these containers cost less than $20 and can be purchased online or at local gardening stores. For one good resource, check out Sproutpeople.
It’s not hard to experiment at home with sprouting your own foods. Start with something easy like mung beans or adzuki beans, two common sprouts, and grow your expertise from there. Check out the following easy steps to get you eating your own home-grown sprouts in less than a week:
1. Soak your seeds. Mix 2-3 parts water to 1 part seed. Mix your seeds around in the water to ensure even distribution and then let them soak for their required time. Most foods need to soak for 8-12 hours, but some don’t need nearly as much time. Look up your particular seed for appropriate soaking times. After soaking is done, drain the water and rinse your seeds.
2. Place seeds in your sprouting container.
3. Rinse. This is a step that will be done frequently until the sprouting process is complete. Rinse 2-3 times a day with cool water. (Experts recommend water that is about 60-70 degrees.)
4. Drain. Draining as much water as you can after you are done rinsing will ensure sprouts are healthy and happy. You don’t want your seeds sitting in a puddle. For the majority of the day, they should be nice and moist, but not wet. Every time you rinse your seeds (2-3 times a day, as mentioned earlier), you should drain them very well.
5. Repeat. Repeat the rinsing and draining process 2-3 times daily until your sprouts are the desired length. Most sprouts take under a week to grow.
Sprouting is a rewarding activity that yields super nutritious foods for your family no matter what the season or situation. Get yourself some basic sprouting supplies, start experimenting, and add sprouting the your list of growing self-sufficiently skills that will save you in a survival situation.