Sprouted peas ready for the pot. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Sprouts will get David to eat his greens

After one spends a few decades training a husband it makes sense to keep his body in decent shape

By Mary Lowther

After one spends a few decades training a husband it only makes sense to keep his body in decent shape. After all, the time and effort you spent teaching him how to look after you will be wasted if bad diet and a sedentary lifestyle carry him off while you still need someone to mow the lawn, take out the recycling and dispose of the small rodents the cat drags in.

Humans are much more trainable. That’s why the wise woman makes her man eat his greens. This can be a challenge, since many of them are vegetable resistant. An American humourist once noted that “If Iraq’s chief export had been broccoli we would never have invaded.”

My own husband believes that iceberg lettuce is “just cellulose wrapped around water,” and that he might as well be eating “marinated cardboard.” I would describe his opinion of kale as unprintable, but I have mentioned it in this column already. In his early training this posed a seemingly insurmountable problem until I introduced him to sprouts.

David actually likes sprouts! They have a more pleasing texture, come in many flavours and are much more nutritious than the leafy greens he has been avoiding since birth, so I pulled my old sprouting trays into plain sight, bought some alfalfa seeds and got him started. Once I had him acclimatized I worked in mustard and garlic sprouts as well. I have to admit I felt pretty smug about it.

Then came the day I was organizing the seed I save from my own garden and discovered I had way more than I needed for next year’s crop. All of my mother’s Highland genes kicked into high gear as I realized this surplus could be converted to good use. Some, like the nightshades, wouldn’t be good to eat, so I started with ones I know are fine, like the onion and cabbage family, radishes, squash and sunflowers.

Some internet sites claim raw sprouted seeds may harbour e coli and recommend that pregnant women, the very young and those with compromised immune systems should only eat them cooked. I hadn’t read that when I was pregnant and had young children so we ate them raw and never experienced any ill effects.

As a precaution, I wash my hands and sprouting containers, then rinse off the seeds before putting them into the trays. After they sprout I put them into a large bowl filled with cold water, agitate them well until the unsprouted seeds sink to the bottom, then fish out the sprouts with a strainer and repeat the process two more times. By then almost all the unsprouted seeds have washed off, so I put the good ones into my salad spinner to get rid of some water and then store them in a container in the fridge. They’re good for a week, which is about how long it takes to ready the next batch.

I never use bleach to clean sprouting utensils because when it washes down the drain it can harm biota in the water. I don’t use hair dye for the same reason, but I do use henna because David says a little makes me look 10 years younger. This begs the question of how young I would look if I used a lot, but I digress.

I recently sprouted some peas, let the shoots grow to about one inch long and then turned them into soup. The peas cooked up in half an hour, had more nutritional value and tasted great. If I had wanted to grow the peas for their shoots I would have put some soil into a flat container and grown them to a few inches high, then cut them to add to salads, saving a bundle of money. Sunflower sprouts can be grown this way too.

Since seeds are so easy to grow and we need only a few for our gardens, it seems a shame not to use the rest.

Here’s how I made the pea soup:

½ cup dried peas for sprouting

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 cups chopped vegetables

1 T. oil or butter

3 cloves garlic,

crushed salt and pepper to taste

1 cup chopped, cooked meat (any kind)

Sprout the peas for about five days, or long enough for roots and shoots to appear. Rinse them off well and put them in a blender with one cup water. Blend completely. Heat oil/butter in large saucepan, add the vegetables and fry for five minutes, then add the garlic and scrape all these vegetables into a bowl. Pour the pea/water mixture into the pot, add two more cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for half an hour, then add the vegetables and meat, bring to a boil and simmer for another half hour. Season to taste.

It is entirely unnecessary to tell your husband it is good for him, and may be counterproductive.

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

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