Growing sprouts for good nutrition

I have been growing my own sprouts for many years.  I use fresh sprouts basically as a substitute for lettuce in salads because I have trouble swallowing, especially lettuce, due to my throat surgery. Sprouts provide tastier, more flavorful variations on traditional fare and absolutely outshine lettuce nutritionally.  Sprouts are up to 600 times more vitamin and mineral packed than even the mature vegetables they represent.  Talk about all the vitamins one needs in a luncheon, or snack!

Sprouts are easy to grow and they are a fun conversation starter when company stops by. I grow mine in mason jars which I keep in a wine rack in the dining room. When asked about the mason jars in the “wine rack” I say it’s my indoor garden.  I’ll often have as many as six different varieties growing, in various stages, at the same time. Sprouting an indoor garden is easy to do. The kids can do it. (A healthful idea for a child’s science fair project could be a wine rack full of delicious sprouts and a nutritional comparison chart).

A bunch of tiny seeds take little storage space in a cabinet or drawer. I buy my seeds from different outlets, Spices,, even the local grocery store sells lentils, peas and beans. They are all sproutable.  However, I do suggest you try to buy organic seeds for purity and quality.  It seems also that organic seeds have a higher germination rate. When sprouting organically, you will notice less empty hulls in the jar when rinsing.

Once my seeds arrive, I transfer the seeds to glass jars with sealable lids. They store nicely in my herbal cabinet, I have quick access and I am reminded daily to keep some sprouting seeds ongoing for continued use. The seeds will keep for years stored this way.

Sprouts provide perfectly healthy, inexpensive nutrition, especially when times are tough. They are perfect as a ‘survival’ food as they take up little space when growing and take little time to grow, (as little as 48 – 72 hours for most). Beans and larger seeds such as Lima and Fava take a bit longer.

Steps to Creating Sprouts in Your Own Kitchen

If you would like to try sprouting, assuming you have some sprouting seeds, such as a bag of lentils or whole peas in your kitchen, start by taking a clean jar, wide mouth mason jars work best because of the ring and lid, although any large mayonnaise type jar will work. You will not need the mason jar lid part, just the ring.

Several Jars ready for sprouting

Next, cut a 5 inch square of cheese cloth or other “gauzy” material to fit over the opening of the jar. Even a 4 inch surgical gauze pad works nicely.

Jar ready with black eyed peas and cheese cloth covering


Then add approximately 1 TBSP of the selected seeds in the bottom of the jar. (Yes, you can even make up blends of varieties of seeds in one jar).

Next step is to cover the seeds with enough water for a good soaking.

Cover the jar opening with the cheese cloth and place the ring from the mason jar over the opening to attach the cheese cloth as a screen covering over the opening of the jar.

Now don’t be impatient, let the seeds soak for 8 hours in an upright position, (overnight is best).



After a good soaking, don’t open the jar,  just empty the water by straining the seeds through the attached cloth.  Try to rotate the jar as you pour the water out as to leave the wet seeds clinging to the sides of the jar. This gives them room to “grow”.

Radish seeds clinging to the jar

Lastly, let the jar rest in a horizontal position on its side to let the seeds absorb the residual moisture in the jar. This maximizes the growing space inside the jar. (This is where the wine rack comes in handy).  The cheese cloth allows the living seeds to breathe.

The seeds have to be watered at least once a day. Water them by filling the jar through the cheese cloth and swirling the jar gently to ensure a good soaking. Then strain the water off again, leaving the seeds coating the sides of the jar as in the above picture. (I also like to use the rinse water to water any other house plants you have nearby).  Place the jar again on its side or back in the wine rack.

Seed radicle

By the second day you will notice the sprout developing as the ‘radicle’ starts to split the seed and protrude. This is where all the concentrated nutrition lies.  The radicle is the first part of a seedling (a growing plant embryo) to emerge from the seed during the process of germination.

Continue this procedure daily until the desired length of the sprout is presenting itself. (Yes, you may reach inside the jar and remove a pinch to taste as the seeds are developing into sprouts).


My favorite seeds to sprout are Lentils, for their flavor and vitamin quality, thick fleshy almost meaty consistency. I like Radishes for their hot spicy flavor and Cabbage seeds for their mild flavor and great nutrition.

Get creative in using sprouts. I use them in omelets, stir fry’s, and on sandwiches, (my favorite is a tomato/ lentil and radish sprouts and cucumber sandwich). Just enjoy the results. Happy sprouting!

The TinMan

**   A really great article on sprouting by Sherry Ackerman in Natural News

*** For a good source of sprout seeds and additional info on alternative methods of sprouting and sprouting paraphernalia, go to



Growing Herbs for Good Health

I received a letter today from friend expressing an interest in growing his own herbs for health.  It is an interest that I encourage everyone to share.  What most people don’t realize is that most of the herbs used in healing grow wild….and I know how to find and harvest many of them, an art called “wildcrafting.”    In response to his query for information I sent him a list of herbs that everyone should be growing for their health, you can find this list at the end of the article.

My friend stated that he has concerns regarding infections and fighting them.  I have some absolutely remarkable herbal antibiotics in my cabinet.  One of which is Thieves Oil, an absolutely remarkable combination of essential oils that basically stops the flu in its tracks.  Another is Colloidal Silver.  Colloidal Silver is the only broad spectrum antibiotic allowed by NASA on the space station and shuttle flights.  I make my own using a small generator that I made myself.  The battery powered Ionic generator along with distilled water and silver rods make a Colloid Suspension.  I have also brought back some old timey (pre-pharmaceutical) antibiotics of herbal origins.  Like Extract of Olive Leaf and Desert Parsley.  These are remarkably effective in treating infections.

Right now the big worry globally is with MRSA (Methycillin Resistant Staph Aureas).  It has been running rampant in hospitals, schools and prisons.  There is not a true cure for MRSA as the Bacterium has become resistant to most antibiotics and the IV antibiotics that will treat it are very toxic to your system, especially kidneys and liver.  MRSA will kill you if left untreated.   However, I have a treatment that has been very effective.   A daily dose (1 shot glass full) of Colloidal Silver with 2 DROPS of Oil of Oregano added.  Yes, Essential Oil of Oregano is that powerful.

I have also recently developed a treatment for my own arthritis and lower back pain.  I have some herbs for acute pain that will knock you on your ass….and they’re all legal, all Non Narcotic.  Chronic pain, however, is different from acute pain and it requires other treatments besides Pain Killers.  Chronic Pain is mostly caused by inflammation or damaged tissues.  I primarily treat the inflammation and the pain will most often literally disappear.  I have occasional lower back and sciatic pain, especially at night and it keeps me awake, which is how I have come to develop these teas and treatments.

I have also developed an anti-inflammatory balm that when I massage it into my lower back, the Sciatic pain disappears in 15 minutes.  This works by treating the problem (inflammation) and not the symptom (pain).  This anti-inflammatory balm also works on sore, swollen knees, feet, torn rotator cuffs, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and most connective tissue damaged joints.  Take away the inflammation and the pain recedes or is eliminated.  Right now, using this concept, I am working on a treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy.

Herbal, natural medicines and treatments have been used for thousands of years by ancient man, Native Americans and the first settlers in this country.  These old timey remedies, folk lore and information should not and cannot go by the wayside.  This natural way of healing must be brought back to the fore front as in Eastern/Chinese medicine.  The Medical establishment here in the USA is not telling you full truths.  This medical establishment has a defined agenda…money.  Their primary concern is NOT your well being or your disease being cured.  With Western medicine, it’s about managed health care.  Someone else is managing YOUR health.  Someone to tell you what, where, when and how to do everything in relation to your health and wellbeing.  Whose main focus is in keeping you coming back for more treatments (often unnecessary) and or more dangerous drugs.

There are alternatives to popping pills just to alleviate symptoms.  Diseases can be cured.  And not by taking pills that just quell the symptoms and complaints.  Disease happens for a reason and that reason can often be defined and treated successfully, naturally. I  don’t have all the answers, but I have a lot of them.  Can I help you?


A small list of Healing Herbs to have in your garden: This list is by no means the extent of what you might consider growing….in fact it is a very minimal list.  There are quite a few others that could be added and we may discuss those in the future, especially the wildcrafted ones.  For now, this is a good start to your own healing garden.  Please be sure that when you are searching for seeds for your garden that you look for Heirloom seeds or seeds that are Organic and not genetically modified, for the best results.

Arnica Montana (Arnica) used throughout Europe and North America since the 1500’s as a cream or ointment, effective for soothing muscles, reducing inflammation and healing wounds. When brewed as a tea, this amazing herb has been used for stress, sleeping problems, emotional trauma making it an excellent “meltdown herb.”

Actaea Racemosa (Black Cohosh) a traditional Native American discovery from the root of the cohosh plant known for relieving menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, irritability, mood swings and sleep disturbances. The root of cohosh is an excellent remedy to provide comfort during times of hormonal changes and menstrual periods. It has sedative effects, making it useful for calming nerves, and has been used for assistance during childbirth, which is a particularly high-energy, depleting and traumatic time for the body.

Eupatorium Perfoliatum (Joe Pye Weed, Boneset) an herb traditionally used by Native Americans, who called it “Ague Weed,” now commonly called “boneset.” It’s a great remedy for treating the symptoms of influenza, and helpful for treating aches and pains and fever. Occasional use of boneset leaves brewed as tea helps detoxify the body, removing excess uric acid. It also acts as to expulse other toxins. In a survival instance, this herb can mean the difference between life and death in high fever or poisoning.

Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) is one of the most widely used herbs for relieving an upset stomach, ulcers, menstrual cramps and is known for having anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial effects.  The most helpful use of calendula is as a tincture made from leaves or flowers, used as soak for poultices to help heal wounds. It is a great, natural antibacterial agent.

Nepeta Cataria (Catnip) has a long history of being used as a digestive aid. It’s a natural sedative that also helps to ease digestion, colic and diarrhea. Dehydration caused by diarrhea, and high body temperatures caused by fevers can be life-threatening. A tea brewed from its leaves may help alleviate these symptoms. Catmint is also a mild sedative that naturally helps calm the nerves during stressful situations.

Capsicum Annuum (Red Pepper) is a powerful pain reliever when applied topically, and is used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and shingles. Use this pepper to help with everything from seasickness to a fever. It is easy to grow, and versatile in use, which means it should be a staple of your survival medicine cabinet.

Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) one of the oldest and favorites in any herb garden for its soothing power and calming effect is also known to prevent nightmares. Use a tea brewed from the leaves and flowers of chamomile to help ease stress–including anxiety and panic attacks. The detoxifying and anti-anxiety benefits make this easy-to-grow herb a must-have. It promotes overall health and strength.

Cichorium Intybus (Chicory Root) was traditionally used as an additive to coffee, or as a substitute for coffee. It’s a natural sedative and anti-inflammatory that treats jaundice, helps the body resist gallstones and liver stones, and aids in reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood. This herb is particularly useful to rid the body of parasites, which are held mostly at bay by modern medicine.  The flowers, used as a poultice, help with wound healing.

Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) a great first aid for external treatment for wounds and to reduce inflammation associated with sprains and broken bones. Keep this herb growing in the garden so it is readily available for external salves and poultices to help broken bones heal faster. (The plant can also be tilled back into the soil as a natural fertilizer, as it contains high levels of nitrogen in its tissue.)

Echinacea Purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is one of the most popular herbal medicines today. It has been used for more than 400 years to treat infections, wounds, even malaria, blood poisoning and diphtheria. Drinking tea from Echinacea helps the body regain strength, and helps rid the body of the common cold up to three times faster than doing nothing. Growing your own is a perfect alternative to paying for expensive over-the-counter remedies.

Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) is great for eczema, dermatitis and skin allergies.  It can also reduce inflammations, ease bloating of menstrual discomfort, and strengthens liver functions. One of the most interesting uses of evening primrose is to help alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis and other nerve disorders.  It is one of the few herbs that can help with nerve problems.

Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) used by the Chinese for centuries to treat hernia, indigestion and abdominal pain.  Adding fennel to tea or to a recipe that could cause digestive upset can prevent the digestive upset. Tea brewed from the fennel plant alleviates chronic coughs.  It can also act as a cough syrup and an expectorant to help clear mucus from the lungs.  Oil of fennel can be used as an external pain reliever for sore muscles.

Tanacetum Parthenium (Feverfew) native to southeastern Europe, feverfew is now widespread throughout Europe, North America, and Australia.  The migraine-relieving activity of feverfew is believed to be due to parthenolide, an active compound that helps relieve smooth muscle spasms. In particular, it helps prevent the constriction of blood vessels in the brain (one of the leading causes of migraine headaches). Medicinally use the feverfew leaves, but all parts of the plant that grow above ground may also be used for medicinal purposes.

Hyssopus Officinalis (Hyssop) mentioned in the Bible, is an excellent expectorant and stimulant. It is also frequently used for relief of muscular rheumatism, for bruises and contusions. Tea made from the flowers of this herb is good to have on hand for people needing assistance with breathing problems.  It has positive affects on the lungs, and can be helpful for asthmatics.

Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) is popular in soaps, shampoos and fragrances, but is also a natural remedy for insomnia, anxiety, depression and is known for its soothing effect. Never use lavender on an open wound, but otherwise it is an excellent and soothing herb. It is one of the few herbs that helps combat hair loss. Essentials from the lavender plant have natural anti-depressant properties when used aromatically.

Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) a member of the mint family, is used to help treat sleep disorders when brewed as a tea. Potentially, the most useful application of lemon balm in the realm of the home is that oils from the lemon plant are a natural mosquito repellant. It can be rubbed on the body as a repellent. This helps aid in comfort, but also helps to repel mosquitoes that carry infectious disease.

Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) the root of this plant traditionally used to treat asthma, bronchitis, sore throat, cough and even the common cold. It aids in production of milk for breast mothers who breast feed. In emergency situations, this plant has medicinal properties that help dissolve kidney stones and improve kidney functions, when a tea made by boiling the root is consumed. The roots, when boiled with onions, are also an emergency food source.

Valarian Officinalis (Valerian) has been used as far back as the 2nd century A.D. to treat insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, seizures and epilepsy. Valerian is a natural anti-anxiety remedy.  It is also useful for treating headaches, even migraines.  A definite must for the herbal remedy garden.

Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) named after Achilles who had used this medicinal to stop the bleeding wounds of his soldiers.  Used today to treat minor bleeding, inflammation fever and infection. Use this herb topically to ease discomfort of hemorrhoids, stop bleeding, as an anti-inflammatory to ease swelling.  Tea brewed from the flowers and leaves will help stop diarrhea, and its potential disastrous dehydrating effects, and helps purge the body of bacterial infections.

Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) used for indigestion, to treat muscle pain and arthritis, and to improve circulation. Tea brewed from the leaves and taken internally can slow brain degeneration due to Alzheimer’s disease.  It can also counteract nerve degeneration due to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

This list is compiled from