Crunchy Mama's Urban Homestead

Come learn about awesome plants on my homestead

Sprouting Towers — avoiding trouble with them

A few years ago I purchased what I refer to as a sprouting tower.  Sprouting towers can be trouble but you might be able to get yours to work for some seeds.  Some of the complaints about them is that seeds don’t sprout well in them or the seeds start to rot.

Victorio VKP1014 4-Tray Kitchen Seed Sprouter

You might think that this is a magical little contraption into which you just put seeds in, pour water in the top tray twice a day, empty the bottom tray of water, and in a few days, you will have sprouts.  Well, it doesn’t quite work that way — at least for some people and some seed.  You have to give the seeds in a tower a little more attention than those sprouting in a jar.

I actually do like the tower for alfalfa seeds. However, when using a tower, I have found that I can’t just pour water into the top and remove the water from the collection bin at the bottom. The seeds need to get some air and need to get stirred (with my finger) when I put the water in. So, twice a day I take the tower apart to give the seeds in each tray air while I am giving each of the trays some fresh water. I pour the water in, sniff the trays to make sure that the sprouts smell as they should, swirl the water and seeds around with my finger. (I plan on posting about using 4 of your 5 senses when you are growing sprouts).  Then I stack the tower trays back up until the next rinse/drain cycle HOWEVER I DON’T snap the lid on (that would prevent good drainage).  I simply place the lid on loosely.

I also make sure to watch closely for when the trays need to be cleaned with soap.  They can start to get slimy around the underside rims.  Also, the tiny holes can get clogged.  You can use a paper clip end to clean them out or use your mouth to blow out the clogging seed or hull.

I hope that that helps.

These towers are about $20 each.  I’m not sure that I’d buy one again but since I have it and I’ve learned how to make it work for me I do use it — pretty much exclusively for alfalfa seeds.

Lastly, if you have one of these and need the instruction manual, here it is: http://www.rawnutrition.ca/img/product/description/Victorio%20Seed%20Sprouter%20VKP1014%20User%20Manual.pdf

I’d love to hear from you.  Do you use one of these towers?  If so, what has been your experience?

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On wild foods and food allergies

A quote from one of my absolute favorite wild edible books, Nature’s Garden by Sam Thayer.

A must-have book for foragers in temperate climates

“There is a slight possibility that you could be allergic or intolerant to a plant that is normally edible.  Thousands of people are affected by allergies to familiar foods such as peanuts, almonds, mangoes, and cashews…the forager is exposed to new foods on a regular basis…Food allergies are an inescapable and unpredictable fact of life. To use wild foods you must assume this risk.  However, such reactions are rare” (30-31).

 

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Amazing Tapenade Recipe – a flavor delight in your mouth

My mouth is so happy right now!  I made this amazing tapenade (pronounced tah-pen-AHD) and it is so delicious I just had to share.

I was asked to make some artisan bread for my sister-in-love’s surprise birthday party.  I figured that it would be good to make a spread to go with it and I remembered that tapenade was delightful.  It’s not in my regular rotation of foods that I make but I need to change that!

artisan bread and tapenade

I looked up a few recipes online and then came up with my own with the ingredients that I had on hand.

Most recipes called for a combo of olives, anchovies, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, capers and some herbs such as oregano, thyme and rosemary.

Here is what I threw into my food processor:

  • 2 c. kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 oz. tin of anchovies in olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • the leafy tops of three oregano stems growing in my garden
  • the leaves off of 2 thyme stems growing in my garden

I usually have capers but I ran out a few weeks ago and I haven’t purchased more yet.  Boo-hiss!  They would have been great in this spread.

I just love the salty, savory and tangy flavor or tapenade!  I’d love to hear from you.  Do you have a favorite tapenade recipe that you’d like to share?

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Today’s Savory Green Smoothie Combo

Today’s green smoothie is savory and warm; it was my first time making this combo – it included:

  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup torn Swiss chard (stems removed)
  • 1 cup torn collard greens (stems removed)
  • juice of one lemon
  • a few sprigs of parsley (no stems)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water

savory smoothie     savory smoothie in blender

I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel that I needed to add any salt or hot sauce or seasonings to this smoothie.  The chard is naturally salty.

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Lambs Quarter: A great edible plant

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