2019-01-09 / Community

Consumer Q’s

Gary W. Black, Commissioner

Flowering Dogwood Tree Flowering Dogwood Tree Question: How tall does our native flowering dogwood grow?

Answer: Size will vary with location and conditions, but generally our native flowering dogwood grows 20 to 30 feet tall with an equal or greater spread.

Q: I want to grow sprouts for salads. Can you offer advice?

A: Perhaps the easiest and most reliable method for raising edible sprouts is with a wide- mouth jar and screen of some type. Screw-on screen lids are readily available at health food stores and other companies. (You can make your own screen with cheesecloth and a rubber band, but it is messier and ultimately more expensive.) A wide-mouth quart canning jar is a good choice. A quart mayonnaise jar also works well.

To start the sprouting process, place two to three tablespoons of small seeds (such as alfalfa) or one-fourth to one-half cup of large seeds (such beans) per quart into a glass jar. (It is best to start with a smaller amount of seeds to see how the process goes.) Fill the jar two-thirds full of lukewarm water, place the screen over the mouth of the jar and soak seeds for eight to 12 hours or overnight.

After soaking, drain the seeds and lay the jar on its side. During the next three to five days, rinse the seeds with lukewarm water once every morning and evening. Drain off all excess water after each rinsing. Keep the jar at temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees F. Some people like blanched sprouts that develop in darkness or indirect light and are not exposed to any sunlight. Placing the seed-sprouting jar on top of the kitchen counter and covering it with a small towel will provide an excellent environment during the sprouting process. To create green sprouts place the jar of sprouted seeds in a sunny window for a few hours. If in the sun too long, they can become tough and bitter.

The eating size of the sprouts will vary with the type of seed and with your individual preferences, generally one-quarter inch to two inches long. Once the sprouts have reached the desired size, place them in a bowl of water. The seed sprouts will sink to the bottom and the loose seed hulls will float to the top. Skim the hulls off. Remove the sprouts and allow them to drain. You can use them immediately or store them in closed glass or plastic containers in the refrigerator for later use.

Some of the seeds you can use for sprouting are alfalfa, broccoli, buckwheat, cabbage, clover, fenugreek, mustard, radish, sesame, sunflower, millet, chickpeas, lentils, green pea, wheat, rye, triticale, onion and various beans including adzuki bean, soybean, kidney bean and mung bean. Seeds for sprouting may be purchased from mail-order seed companies, health food stores and some garden centers. Do not use seeds that have been treated with fungicides or other pesticides.

Because seeds have different sizes and growing habits, experiment to find the best way to handle each kind and to suit your tastes and needs. If you become really involved in sprouting, there are devices for quantity production.

Sprouts need not be limited to salads but can be used in sandwiches, soups, stews, omelets, bread (mixed into dough) and stir-fry dishes.

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