Sprouting seeds has kind of become my new thing these last few months. It's so easy to do and I love the idea of "growing vegetables" inside, even if it's on a small scale. I've gone through a couple of different seeds and legumes successfully, and my favorite so far is probably alfalfa because it's so quick, although mung beans and lentils are also really nice sprouted.
However there has been one seed which I have wanted to sprout for a while now, but because of ignorance (at first!) and laziness (secondly!) I hadn't been very successful; and that's the sunflower seed.
What I did first was to get organic hulled sunflower seeds which I tried to sprout in my glass jar. It didn't work. Don't even try it.
Secondly I bought unhulled sunflower seeds. On the package it clearly stated that you should grow these on dirt and not sprout in your regular sprouting jar. But since I didn't have any dirt on hand back then, and I really just wanted sunflower sprouts NOW, I figured I might as well just try it in the jar anyway.
And sure, they sprouted. But it kind of became an ugly mess because the hulls never really separated properly and it was a never-ending job to remove the little black hulls by hand, and then rinse and rinse and rinse to clean the sprouts off, which never became that clean anyway. I ended up throwing it all away.
Which leads us up to this point when I finally did it properly... and succeeded! The funny thing is, this is super easy to do. It's not difficult. It's fun. All you need is unhulled sunflower seeds, a tray or plate or something to grow in, and some dirt. Then you can get started.
First off, soak the seeds overnight in water.
Secondly place about 1 inch of dirt in some kind of saucer or plate or whatever. I picked up this clay saucer at the thriftstore for $.20!
Then put the soaked seeds on top of the dirt. Don't push them in, just lay them pretty close to each other on the dirt.
Gather a few paper towels and soak them in water. Place the wet paper towels on top of the pot. You can keep this anywhere, just don't keep it in direct sunlight at this point.
Keep the moist paper towels on top of the pot for the next four days or so (keep the towels wet) until the seeds have started to sprout.
Now remove the paper towels and water your seeds a little every day.
Keep the saucer away from direct sunlight until the sprouts have grown about one inch. This is what my package said, but I'm not sure if it matters exactly at what point you expose them to sunlight...
Well, now I moved my plate to sit next to a window.
And they grew!
Give them a few days and they'll shoot up like crazy. You could cut them at this point.
I love how you could just keep this pot in your window for a few days (and maybe longer?) if you water it every so often. Then you can cut off a few sprouts when you want them for your salad or your sandwich. Or why not dress them with a vinaigrette and serve on top of a nice piece of meat or fish, like I've had on a few occasions in nice restaurants. They're really good that way and their crunchy, earthy goodness come through beautifully. Either way, there are lots of options, I'm just happy they're so easy to grow... inside... any time of year. That is, if you do it right. Now isn't that neat?