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Sprouting methods on trail
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non yep
(yep) - F

Locale: sonoran desert
Sprouting methods on trail on 08/08/2010 18:46:53 MDT Print View

Anyone have good methods/containers for sprouting on trail?

i have tried different bags in my pocket for warmth when cold and outside pack pocket when warm, but i usually crush them too much, stunting their sprouting. and this crushing didn't happen sleeping warm with them in my fartsack...

i met a pct'er a few summers ago, she sprouted in a flat rectangular tupperware with dampened layers of cheesecloth (or something) separating different days/stages of sprouting. i can't figure out how to give that enough air even when puching holes in the lid, b/c how could i keep them warm and sprouting?

i like that baggies can go in my pocket and stay warm and sprout, but i crush them. i hear of other people sprouting in their pockets when they walk. maybe some kind of pouch near body warmth? i trying not to soak them in my sweat though. any ideas or experiences?

Edited by yep on 08/08/2010 18:49:58 MDT.

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
ok I'll bite on 08/09/2010 13:37:51 MDT Print View

What are you talking about? Sprouts for food? Is this just for fun or are you trying to gain some weight/calorie advantage?

You can spread chia seeds all over your pack and walk in the rain a lot.

Does anyone make freeze dried sprouts?

I got a better idea. Put a baby chicken in your pocket and feed it some corn meal while you hike. After treking for about 8 weeks the chicken will be eatin size.

............ just pokin fun at something I don't understand. Carry on................

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Sprouting methods on trail on 08/09/2010 20:45:48 MDT Print View

Take a look at the sprouter they sell. It is designed for it.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
sprouting... on 09/06/2010 18:05:36 MDT Print View

I use a Nalgene but it works with a ziploc freezer baggie just fine. Here's an "aerial" shot of my Nalgene sprouts on the 3rd day...

Sprouts in a Nalgene

These are broccoli sprouts but I've sprouted all kinds of things including chia (salba) which is very good for you.

I put a piece of cheesecloth over the open lid of the Nalgene. I secure the cloth with an elastic and bineer the bottle to my pack. At night I seal up the lid and toss it in the sleeping bag with me. Ya, it's weighty carrying the Nalgene... but crunchy fresh greens throughout a multi-week trip makes it totally worth it (for me at least).

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 09/06/2010 18:08:58 MDT.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Sprouting - Getting Started on 09/06/2010 18:15:18 MDT Print View

I like sprouts (esp on sandwiches), but I've never cultivated them. How does one go about getting started? Just purchase some broccoli seeds and immerse in water?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Sprouting - Getting Started on 09/06/2010 19:27:20 MDT Print View

Take a look at the link I posted above awhile back to Frontier. You want to be careful where you buy your seeds - organic is preferred.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
sprouting on 09/12/2010 10:11:07 MDT Print View

I buy my seeds from an online place called

Here are the instructions from my backcountry cookbook...

"Water Bottle Sprout Garden

Dehydration Time: none
Makes 4–5 servings

This recipe always makes me think of my preschool years—do you remember putting a seed in a cup and watching it come to life? Well this works on the same principle. A variety of different sprouts can be used for this type of trail gardening. Among our favorites are broccoli, adzuki beans, peas, lentils, and alfalfa. Packed with nutrition and flavor, they make great additions to salads, wraps, and sandwiches, and a delicious garnish on soups. You’ll want to start your sprouts 3 to 4 days before you plan to eat them.

2 tablespoons organic sprouting seeds
Potable water

At Home
Pack a wide-mouth 32-ounce Nalgene water bottle with a small carabiner attached to the lid strap. Place a few rubber bands and four layers of cheesecloth cut about 2 inches larger than the size of the top of the bottle in a ziplock freezer bag. Pack the sprouting seeds in another ziplock freezer bag and place that in with the rubber bands and cheesecloth.

At Camp
One morning about three or four days before you want to eat the sprouts, place 2 tablespoons of sprouting seeds in your water bottle and add a cup of filtered water to the seeds. Seal the bottle and let the seeds soak for 4 to 6 hours.

Open the bottle and place two layers of cheesecloth over the opening. Secure with a rubber band. Drain the seeds well and if you are still on the move attach the bottle to the outside of your pack with the carabiner.

For the next few days all you need to do is rinse the seeds/sprouts at breakfast and dinner. To rinse just pour in about 1 cup of potable water and gently swirl the sprouts in the bottle. Then drain well. Carry the bottle with the top open and the cheesecloth in place; replace the cloth if it gets dirty. By the third or fourth day, depending on the type of seeds you’re growing, you will have crunchy sprouts.

If you will be going on a short trip, you can start the sprouts at home a day or two before you leave. If you have leftover sprouts, keep watering them and save them for the next day."

Yes, it takes a little time and effort but, for me, it's worth it to have the fresh crunch of greens on longer trips. We are often out (well not this year - lol) for a week or two at a time. Sometimes I do the soaking overnight if I don't want the water weight on my pack. Once you are at the water and rinse stage it's super light. They pack a ton of nutrition and flavor especially the daikon radish and mustard sprouts.

And if you want to practice at home... all you need is an elastic, mason jar and piece of cheesecloth. Buying a sprouter isn't necessary. Here are some links with photos of the growing process at home... it's the same on the trail provided that you have moderate to warm outside temperatures.

Day 1

Day 3

Day 4

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 09/12/2010 10:16:44 MDT.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Sprouting!!! on 09/12/2010 15:24:40 MDT Print View

I NEVER would have come up with this!
As perfect as a good pot of soup and a sandwich wrap are for trail dinner, it will be even better with fresh sprouts.
Thanks so much for the Sprouting and Frontier sites.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
sprouting on 09/14/2010 10:07:04 MDT Print View

One can also sprout items like quinoa and sunflower... for a little variety. Pea sprouts are awesome but need to be sprouted with a soil sprouter so are best grown at home and carried in for use on the first day or two of a trip.

non yep
(yep) - F

Locale: sonoran desert
farming in your backpack! on 09/15/2010 22:55:27 MDT Print View

i've been using a caldera caddy the past year with nylons over the top during the warmer part of the year. sometimes i stick it inside the hipbelt tensioner webbing on the side if it is cool outside as i still provide it heat. i still need to figure out something for cold mountains/winter though. and the pocket is the only way that i can figure to keep them warm enough to grow. i've heard of people doing this, but still i crush em to death. if i could figure out an appropriate container (thin, wide, protectively hard and not air tight) i would keep them along my back like people carry hydration systems.

hey Chris: online sites have nice selection but very pricey compared to health oriented markets in town (co-ops are usually an extra markup over markets due to amount of sales). if you don't live in a city, maybe the next time you pass thru just stock up. i regularly find organic seed from bulk section at 1/4 to 1/5 the cost of better online sales.

Edited by yep on 09/15/2010 22:57:36 MDT.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: farming in your backpack! on 09/16/2010 04:04:38 MDT Print View

Could you not use one of those spring water bottles.... perhaps trim the top off and maybe poke some holes in it? As long as you can attach a piece of cheese cloth to the opening and it can get air it should work.

If you experiment and come up with anything let me know. The only thing is that they also need light to grow so I am not sure how this would work out in the cold temps.

Kristina Nethaway
(kneth) - F - M

Locale: 10,200'
Scary Sprout Warning on 01/08/2011 17:13:43 MST Print View

I loved sprouts, ate them, grew them, great! Until I bought a sandwich at my local deli and came down with fever, diarrhea, and cramps. Weak as a kitten for 3 days with Campylobacter from the sprouts. Salmonella can live on sprouts too. Safe if you grow your own? No, the bacteria can be in the seeds. Do not give sprouts to kids, elderly folks, or people with weakened immune systems. I don't eat them at all anymore, and I hope I'm never that sick on a backpack. We desperately need better legislation insuring food safety in this country, right now it continues to get worse. More info about sprouts from the Feds here:

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
sprouts on 01/08/2011 17:17:23 MST Print View

Kristina, was there meat in your sandwich? Its a lot more likely to make you sick than sprouts.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Scary Sprout Warning on 01/10/2011 10:05:13 MST Print View

Kristina... the key is in the seeds and it is very important to choose an organic variety. They are perfectly safe if you use seeds from a good source and clean water. The bacteria can come from the soil in which plant was grown in and the seeds harvested from. Sometimes it can be as simple as that water quality too. I NEVER eat sprouts from the grocery store especially after the eColi issues with the store bought mung beans a few years back. I purchase my seeds from I am very confident on growing my own because I have treated the water myself and grown them in a monitored way.

Safety? Well my nutritionist and my doctor felt that my own home-grown sprouts were perfectly fine to consume during my pregnancy and considering that I had a very high risk pregnancy I was surprised. Many books on the subject suggested otherwise. I'd be more worried about getting into a car accident on the way to the trailhead, frankly.

edited to add... from

"Use certified organic seeds. Organic certification assures that seeds have been grown and handled in a manner that helps minimize possible sources of contamination. Manure used on organic fields, for example, must be composted for a long period. Composting has been shown to reduce or eliminate pathogens in manure. Organic farmers are also required to use rodent and bird proof storage for seeds destined for consumption. Organic sprouting seeds haven't been implicated in any outbreak of food poisoning.

Make sure that any seeds you buy have been handled as a food crop and not a farm planting seed crop. Seeds that have been in contact with animals or animal waste could be contaminated with salmonella or e-coli O157 H7, leading to food poisoning. Reputable sprouting seed suppliers test all lots of seed for contamination."

They also suggest refrigerating sprouts once the growing stops but we use a smaller amount of seed so that the sprouts are consumed as soon as they are ready. That negates the need to refrigerate. We will save some for the next day but we continue the growing process for that as I mentioned in the instructions.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 01/10/2011 10:15:19 MST.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
this article may be of interest on 01/10/2011 10:22:16 MST Print View

"AMA JOURNAL SCARES CONSUMERS WITH 'OLD NEWS'- Incidence of Salmonellosis from Sprouts is Not Significant in Comparaison to Other Foods

by Steve Meyerowitz

In its January 10th 1999 issue, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) described two incidences of Salmonella contamination from alfalfa sprouts that took place in 1995. The objective of the study was to identify the source of the outbreaks. Yes, scientific investigation takes time, but by reporting it now, JAMA gives the impression that this is current news and, as a result, has unnecessarily scared consumers away from this famous healthy food. Their reporting of a probable "20,000 affected" people when by their own admission there were only "133 reported cases," adds fuel to consumer fears. The problems highlighted in the report have since been corrected and today, in addition to being one the healthiest foods, sprouts are also one of the safest.

Since 1995, many new regulations and changes in the sprout industry have taken place to make sprouts safe. The two 1995 outbreaks were traced to the same source of contaminated seed imported from the Netherlands. Today, all sprouting seeds are subject to a strict screening and purification process and major importers and distributors offer a microbiological test certificate for their seeds. In order for sprouts to grow salmonella, it has to be present in the first place. This is an extremely rare occurrence. But in the unlikely event that the seed is tainted, growers regularly use an EPA approved chlorination process, similar to that of the nation’s water supply, to achieve a 99.8% reduction of salmonella and E. Coli contamination. Put another way, if a rare occurrence of tainted seed should occur, there would be only a 0.02% probability that any such bacteria could survive. And unlike our drinking water, there is no chlorine residue left in the edible sprouts. The environmentally conscious sprout industry is also researching non-chlorine pasteurization methods with the FDA at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology in Illinois. A new "Food Safety Seal of Approval," certified by independent third party auditors, will soon start to appear on sprout products. The sprout industry works closely and cooperatively with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The FDA has since reclassified sprouters from ‘farmers’ to ‘food processors.’ This designation makes strict demands on growers to eliminate potentially infectious conditions throughout the process of sprout growing and packaging. Growers are now inspected by state, federal and/or third party examiners.

Sprouts have made news because they were a previously undiscovered industry. The USDA, FDA and CDC also took notice because sprouts are a raw food not sterilized by cooking and the growing conditions for the seeds are also favorable for growing bacteria. It also makes news when a famous health food causes ill health. Unlike other industries such as meat and poultry which have dramatically higher rates of foodborne illness, the tiny $250 million dollar sprout industry has no public relations firms or lobbyists and is woefully ineffective in telling its side of the story.

Balancing The Risks to Public Health

A salmonella outbreak is scary news and any amount of salmonellosis is too much. But in order to avoid public panic, we need some perspective.

Every year, according to the CDC, 4 million people contract salmonellosis from poultry, meat, eggs, milk and fresh fruit and vegetables. In the last 40 years, there have been fewer than 2,000 cases—from all microbes—linked to sprouts (Calif. Dept. of Health). This, despite the fact that US sprout growers ship 1.4 billion four ounce servings of sprouts every year. While JAMA correctly points out that sprouts have a greater potential to harbor microbes because they are uncooked, this is the same risk posed by fresh produce. In a recent five year period, there were 41 outbreaks due to fresh produce, one of them, a 1989 shipment of cantaloupes from Mexico, caused 25,000 salmonellosis cases (CDC). In this same time, there were 195 outbreaks caused by meat and poultry and 178 by seafood. Yet, in its entire 40 year history, sprouts have had only 12 outbreaks—4 of them traced to same 1995 tainted seed.

According to the FDA, 93% of all bacterial illnesses from human and animal pathogens come from meat, poultry and dairy. While fatalities are rare, in 1995, the same year as the JAMA reported sprout cases, the CDC documented 15 fatalities caused by reactions to foods such as peanuts, milk, eggs and shellfish. There have never been any fatalities from sprouts.

In 1997, Cox Newspapers analyzed a USDA computerized database of meat and poultry inspection records for 1996 and found 138,593 instances in which inspectors said food being prepared in packing plants was "certain" to sicken consumers. The database was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

There are even greater and more troubling infection risks threatening the public today that are not from our food. According to William Jarvis of the CDC, each year about 2 million people acquire infections while under care in U.S. hospitals and nearly 90,000 die of them. (Based on a 1998 survey of 265 U.S. hospitals)

According to one CDC inspector who spoke on condition of anonymity, "The negative publicity this has generated in the press is out of proportion to the risk." Martha Roberts, deputy commissioner of food safety at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is concerned that consumers may deprive themselves of the benefits of fruits and vegetables in the wake of food scares. "Some people will even stop eating a fruit or vegetable if it’s associated with a reported illness. This is especially troubling because research strongly supports fruits and vegetables as essential parts of a healthy diet and one of the best ways to prevent cancer and chronic disease."

Why Eat Sprouts

The National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health want us to eat 5 fresh foods per day. The benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables far outweigh the contamination risks. In a given year, getting hit by lightning (1.29 people per million) is more likely than contracting E. Coli (1.1 people per million) from meat, poultry, shellfish, milk, eggs and produce combined. Since produce represents the smallest risk of these foods (41 outbreaks in 5 years) and since sprouts represent an even smaller risk than produce (12 in 40 years), the benefits of eating sprouts dramatically, statistically and historically outweigh the contamination risks.

Sprouts are a nutritionally concentrated, pesticide-free, locally grown, fresh produce available year round. With the increasing cost of fresh produce, the diminishing acreage of farmland, and the greater dependence on imported produce, sprouted foods from local farmers have become a viable alternative source of nutritious, affordable mini-vegetables. The anti-cancer benefits of sprouts were well documented by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in August of 1997. ‘Kitchen gardening’ is also a fun, nutritious way for consumers to garden year round making families more self-sufficient and saving on the grocery bill.

The U.S. food and water supply will never be completely free of harmful bacteria. Nothing grown in nature is sterile. But most of the microorganisms found naturally on fresh foods are harmless. News stories are sometimes more alarming than the facts justify. Overall, Americans can have confidence that their food supply is safe. To this end, sprout growers are working diligently with the FDA and USDA to ensure that sprouts are not only one of the healthiest foods you can eat, but also one of the safest."

(C) Sproutman Publications. PO Box 1100. Great Barrington, MA 01230. 413-528-5200x4. Fax 413-528-5201.

Aaron J
(lightwalker) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Thanks Sproutman on 06/13/2012 08:54:21 MDT Print View

Thanks for quoting this publication. I myself have been eating raw meat for 5+ years with only health benefits. I buy meat at the grocery store like everyone else, and sometimes it's not even organic. I've eaten thousands of raw eggs, without one instance of dis-ease or discomfort beyond over-eating. People who are sufficiently frightened (which regarding raw meat is almost everyone) keep insisting that their fears are valid. See for yourself by pondering the validity of my food choices. Any interest in having your steak really really rare? So I suppose there's really no point in making a general argument one way or the other; people believe what they want to believe. If sprouts are out to get you, well, that's one way to live.

But! I'm not here to go off topic. I'm planning to hike the Colorado Trail at the end of this month; 500 miles, mostly up around ~10,000 ft, and I'm considering sprouting. I'll need to do tricks to keep the sprouts warm at night, I'm thinking. I know this thread is old, but has anyone ever sprouted at high altitude?


Jeff Gerke

Locale: Utah
Sprouting Bag on 06/13/2012 09:15:53 MDT Print View

Outdoor Herbivore sells a sprouting stuff for backpacking.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
sprouting on 06/18/2012 07:15:53 MDT Print View

That's cool Jeff. I'm testing a few other methods including a fabric sprouting bag. I like the hard-sided container best because the sprouts don't get crushed but other lighter weight methods can certainly be used.

Lastest thing sprouting.... chia and black mustard.