Are you looking to start growing some food at home? Possibly sprouts and microgreens? Sunflower seed sprouts are an easy way to get started.
I used to grow all sorts of things including sprouts. More recently my focus seemed to shift. I lost sight of the rewarding and mindful experience of tending to these nutritional power-houses.
With the current need to stay home, I've rekindled the joy of growing the simplest of foods. And look how bountiful they are!
They are packed with nutrients and are a juicy treat to snack on. They take up hardly any space so you can grow them even if you don’t have a garden or balcony.
Step 1: Buy sunflower seeds in their shells. Organic is preferable, and just get which ever ones you can afford.
Step 2: Start by soaking some seeds, say one cup in a big bowl of water for 8-12 hours.
Step 3: Drain the soaked seeds and place in a colander. Rinse twice a day for 1-2 days until their little tails grow into little shoots. I keep them in my kitchen up to this step.
Planting the seeds
Step 4: Use any containers that you have to grow your sunflower sprouts. These could be plastic food containers, old plates, the drip trays from pots (my personal favourite) or even unused flowerpots. Sprinkle a little potting soil into the container and then generously scatter the seeds onto the soil. Very gently blend the seeds into the soil so that they are not covered but are also not lying on top of the soil. I find that if they have a small amount of darkness, they tend to shoot upwards towards the light.
Step 5: You may want to experiment where your sprouts will be happiest. They love a bit of light but not full sun. I find they are not too fussy. The ones pictured here got drenched for about 24 hours in continuous rain. When the rain stopped, I poured out the excess water and they were superb juicy sprouts. Lightly water once to twice a day. Keep them damp but not wet.
Step 6: At this stage, I would start soaking a second batch so that the harvests are staggered and continuous.
Step 7: Check them daily. They take just 10-14 days from the start of soaking.
Harvesting your sunflower sprouts
They are ready once they have two big leaves. It’s tempting to start harvesting sooner but and extra day or two to ensure the leaves are big and juicy are worth it. They have the most protein when they have two big leaves because all the energy has been poured into this little sprout.
Once ready you can simply harvest them straight from the pot for each meal. If you prefer to harvest them all at once, keep them in a jar in the fridge and rinse before use.