Eleanor Deckert
Putting the green in winter

If there is a way for me to eat fresh, homegrown greens in mid-winter, I want to know how.

Lettuce in my sandwich and salad on my supper plate, these are easy to have in the summertime. The garden is producing and the store is full of fresh veggies.

In the middle of the winter, the prices get too high for me. Plus, when the highway is hazardous, frequent trips to the store are out of the question.

Alfalfa sprouts satisfy my appetite for something fresh, green and nutritious, and they are so easy. (You can find the seeds in a health food section of most stores):

Day 1: Scoop about 3 spoonfuls of alfalfa seeds into a quart glass canning jar. Cover the seeds with about 2 cm of water. Leave them overnight.

Day 2-7: Use a piece of cloth, a nylon stocking or fine mesh screen to drain the water (good for your house plants) and keep the seeds in the jar. The ring from the canning jar works great to hold the cloth or nylon stocking in place as you drain.

Leave the jar tilted on a plate or bowl so the seeds are not sitting in water. You will see the seeds split, the tiny white root begin to grow.

Rinse the seeds a couple of times a day, drain, keep the jar in a warm-ish place. Unlike yeast in bread or yogurt culture, the exact temperature does not matter. Cooler will slow the growth. Warmer will rot the plants. If you start too many seeds in cramped space they smell sour.

About Day 7 the green leaves open. That is when it is time to harvest and enjoy. All you have to do is add a pinch of sprouts to your sandwich, top a bowl of soup, garnish your salad, or eat right out of the jar.

You just saved some money, used zero packaging, gave yourself a burst of vitamins and minerals, and became an urban homesteader!