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It took just a single Mother Earth News Fair to turn me into a devoted Mother Earth News groupie. Although I don’t have a large plot of land and chickens to tend, I can spend hours browsing the wide variety of articles on the Mother Earth News website. I love the old time wisdom salted with inspiration and modern-day solutions to everyday life.
With that introduction, I am thrilled to introduce you to the all-new, 2016 edition of the Mother Earth News Almanac: A Guide Through the Seasons. This book is a season by season compilation of timeless, yet simple, old-timey tips mixed in the with new. It is an ecclectic collection of things the modern pioneer needs to live a self-reliant livestyle.
The Mother Earth News Almanac includes hints to help us forage for food, grow crops organically, understand the weather, manage our finances, save money, use kitchen tools efficiently, and a whole lot more. And, lest you think this book is just for folks living in the country, let me set you straight. There is plenty to interest the city dweller as well. A good example is how to forage for wild edibles in your own back yard.
Because there is no single author to interview, I have chosen instead to share an excerpt from the section on how to sprout seeds and grains. This is a skill we all should practice, since when and if the time comes, sprouts may become the only reliable source of micronutrients in our diet.
I also have three copies up for grabs in a giveaway, and who can argue with that?
“How and What To Sprout”, An Excerpt from the Mother Earth News Almanac: A Guide Through the Seasons
Almost any seed, grain, or legume can be successfully sprouted, although most devotees of the art think that alfalfa, mung beans, lentils, peas, and the cereal grasses—wheat, oats, barley, and rye—give the best results. Unhulled sesame and sunflower, radish, mustard, red clover, fenugreek, corn, lima beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chick peas, cress, millet, and nearly any other seed you can think of will work. You should never, however, eat potato sprouts (the plant is a member of the poisonous nightshade family).
Select clean, whole seeds that have not been chemically treated in any way. Wash the grain or whatever thoroughly, pick out any chaff or cracked hulls, and check the seeds for fertility (if they’re sterile, they’ll float).
Place a tablespoon of alfalfa seeds (or four or five tablespoons of beans) in a pint jar and soak them overnight in triple their volume of water. This soaking should be done in a dark place (such as a kitchen cabinet) and the water should be warm (70 to 80°) and free of chlorine or fluorine (which can sterilize the tender embryo). The smaller seeds—alfalfa, clover, and so forth—will sprout without this overnight soak, but doing so won’t hurt them.
Pour the water off the next morning and save it to add to fruit juices or use as stock (it’s loaded with water-soluble vitamins and minerals). The seeds will have doubled in size and should be rinsed carefully to prevent mold.
Leave the swelling little packets of life in their jar after rinsing, cap the container with either cloth or screen wire as described earlier, invert the jar at a 45 degree angle in a big bowl, and set your sprouter back in the cupboard.
The last two steps are very important.
Germinating seeds will sour and rot if left standing in water, so by tipping the sprouter upside down at the specified angle, you’ll always be certain the developing shoots drain well after each rinsing. Similarly, since sunlight toughens the miniplants, you’ll ensure yourself the tenderest and tastiest harvest by growing your garden in total or near darkness Keep the cupboard vegetable patch warm (room temperature to 90°) and try to flush some fresh water into and out of the jar every four to six hours. No need to follow a slavish schedule on this maintenance, however, if you’re out of the house or apartment all day. A quick rinse twice every twenty-four hours (once in the morning and once at night) works almost as well.
In three to six days, depending on temperature and seed variety, your sprouts will again have doubled or tripled in volume and turned themselves into both tasty and nourishing victuals. The greater number of shoots are at peak vitamin potency sixty to eighty hours after germinating, but personal preferences in taste, texture, and appearance may persuade you to let yours grow longer.
Soybeans, peas, and alfalfa are about right when their sprouts are 2 to 3 inches long. Grain shoots should be eaten when much shorter—about the length of the kernel itself—or they’re somewhat bitter. Sunflower sprouts also develop a rather unpleasant tang when they exceed the length of the seeds from which they develop. The lentil sprout is best when about an inch long, while shoots from the mild-flavored mung bean (the mainstay of Chinese cooking) may be allowed to reach a length of 3 or 4 inches before harvest.
By the way, some people fastidiously pluck the hull from each sprout before serving but that’s a waste of time and good nutrition—eat the whole shebang!
The publisher of the Mother Earth News Almanac has reserved three copies for three lucky readers in this latest Prepper Book Festival giveaway.
The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
I hope you have enjoyed this small taste of the Mother Earth News Almanac. Okay okay, pun intended.
Seriously, if you want to learn how to plant a tree without killing it, or simply how to unstick two glasses, this is the book for you. Lavishly illustrated, you are going to want to sit down and read it from cover to cover because you just never know when one of the snippets of wisdom may come in handy.
As the back cover says, some the ideas in this book are extremely practical and wonderfully old-timey. Others are just plain fun, such as instructions for building homemade kites. I love this book and think you will, too. It is perfect for preppers and anyone else interested in a DIY lifestyle.
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival #12: The Best Books to Help You Prepare, Stay Healthy and Be Happy.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!
Spotlight: Mother Earth News Almanac: A Guide Through the Seasons
Mother Earth News Almanac is back and is refreshed and ready for the next generation of self-sufficient makers and DIYers.
The 1970s classic has been out of print for years. Now, updated for today’s readers and back in print, its information is as useful as ever. It contains instructions and illustrations for everything from harnessing solar energy to cultivating a sustainable garden to learning how to keep bees. Simply put, Mother Earth News Almanac is designed to empower readers to be self-sufficient.
You will find that the Mother Earth News Almanac is a seasonal guide with subject matter that every passionate DIYer, homesteader, or environmentally aware reader can appreciate. There are recipes, money-saving tips, and homesteading techniques such as illustrated directions for tying a timber hitch, cat’s-paw, sheepshank, and other knots; folk medicine treatments and preventatives; tips on raising chickens and keeping bees; plans for building three kinds of kites; complete instructions for fast and easy compost; and much, much more!
The simple life doesn’t have to be hard–not when you have this timeless almanac.