A number of years ago we met a couple on a portage and noticed this weird bottle hanging from their backpack. Turns out they were growing their own sprouts and had the bottle attached to their pack so it was getting lots of light during their travels. Simply Brilliant!
We asked them a bunch of questions and looked closely at their system. We couldn’t wait to try it. What’s better than fresh, “home grown” veggies on the second week of a canoe trip?
We bought a clear, BPA-free Nalgene bottle and cut a hole in the top to match the one we saw on the trail. Then we glued in a stainless steel screen, picked up some mixed seeds and we were instant canoe farmers. TIP: some bulk stores sell sprout growing kits, that you can modify.
We like a mix of seeds that includes some radish and broccoli so it adds a bite to our little salads.
Sprouts are nice on the side of any meal and great on sandwiches, wraps and of course Avocado Pita.
We will often start the seeds at home because it takes several days before they are ready to “harvest”. On a long trip you can usually get two batches if you get things started at home.
NOTE: Only use filtered water!
- Add 4 tbsp. of seeds to the bottle.
- Fill the bottle with filtered water, swirl and then dump the water slowly through the screen so you don’t lose the seeds – do this twice. Only use Filtered Water!
- Add 1 cup water and soak for 4-8 hours.
- Dump out water – you want the seeds damp but not wet.
- Shake the bottle gently and store it on its side.
- You want the seeds spread out evenly along the side of the bottle for good exposure to the air.
- Then twice a day fill partly with water, gently swirl the mix and drain – did we mention that you should only use Filtered Water?
Use fresh seeds. If you have seeds leftover from last year, don’t be tempted to use them – buy fresh!
Keep the seeds in a bright area, but not the direct sunlight. If they are in the direct sun or it’s hot you will need to rinse the seeds more than twice a day.
When you are traveling hang the bottle on your pack, but in the canoe tuck the bottle out of the direct sunlight.
If you want to green up your sprouts, increase the amount of light exposure.
In camp we hang the bottle on a rope clothesline, so we can leave the lid off – this way it gets more air. Too much moisture and not enough air exposure leads to moldy seeds.
To hang it on its side, we use a couple of elastic bands on the top and bottom of the Nalgene bottle and hang the bottle from those. Before we started hanging the bottle we left it on the ground with the lid off only to find a mouse in the bottle checking things out. ICK!
Dump out any sprouts that are left after a few days and start the process over again.
For more information about growing your own sprouts we like the “Sprout People” site.