Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Sprouting foods from my pantry

Sprouting foods from my pantry

A lot of the foods in our pantries come from plants. Think about what you had for breakfast this morning. Perhaps you ate Weetbix or porridge? Maybe you had some toast or pancakes. Did you have some jam or peanut butter? Fruit or fruit juice? All of these foods come from plants or contain ingredients from plants.

But did you know that some of the foods in our pantries can be sprouted? It's a great way of making the connection between the foods in our cupboards and the plants they come from.

Here are three different experiments to try. Sometimes the food you choose will sprout - but, sometimes, it won't. Remember that, with all science, a negative result tells us as much as a positive one. If the food you chose didn't sprout, think about why that might be. And if, excitingly, you do get little green shoots, can you say why you think it worked? 

Seeds, beans and lentils

Some of the foods we eat are actually seeds. Do you have any beans, lentils or other seeds in your pantry?

I tried to sprout these foods: popcorn, pumpkin seeds, green lentils, black lentils and fennel seeds.

I put a double layer of kitchen paper on each plate and sprinkled on the seeds. Then I made sure that they were wet. I left them on my kitchen counter and sprayed them with water a couple of times each day to keep them damp.

After one week, my popcorn, fennel seeds and pumpkin seeds had not sprouted at all. 

My green lentils began to show signs of sprouting.

But I was very excited to find that, after just three days, my black lentils had made little curly, white shoots the were about 5 mm long - hooray!

Fruit and vegetable tops

Carrot and parsnips are ideal for this experiment. Potatoes, pineapples and onion tops can also work, too.

Cut the tops off your carrots. In this experiment, I tried a potato, too. Place them in about a centimetre of water.

My carrot tops started to sprout after three days.

This is what they looked like after one week. You can see that the green shoots are getting quite tall.

My potatoes did not sprout, though. Next time, I will try leaving them whole and putting them in the light.

Seeds and pips

Sprouting seeds from fruit takes a little longer, but it's definitely worth a try. Apple, lemon and orange seeds can all work. What else could you try?

Take the seeds out of the fruit and plant them in a small amount of potting compost.

Cover the seeds with a sprinkling of compost and then moisten it with a little water. Place your pot somewhere bright like a window sill. Keep the compost damp. It may help to cover the pot with a plastic or cling film. You may have to wait two weeks or even longer for your seed to sprout.

Be patient: if it works, you will be able to replant your seedling in a bigger pot and then into your garden. You never know, one day you might be able to pick yummy fruit from the tree that you sprouted!

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