Sprouts and bouquets are a popular presentation at garden weddings, as well as formal and more casual get-togethers. They are a cost-effective way to fill a space with color, aroma, texture, and flavor. While many brides seem to have a hard time choosing the right sprouts for their big day, most brides do not go beyond the selection of hot or cold varieties. This lack of knowledge leads to a lot of disappointment, as less than expected color, flavor, and texture often mar their sprouts.
Branches, bulbs, and seeds can be stored for months, and they do not dry out quickly. Many people purchase small containers of sprouts just to give them as gifts, and then freeze or cook them later. They will usually delight any recipient with their bright, fresh flavor, but it is important to remember that fresh sprouts should be eaten quickly to keep them tasting right. While it is tempting to let your sprouts sit for weeks on end, they will lose their crispness and taste if left sitting on a table for too long. Do not let your bouquet or sprouts sit in a dark refrigerator, however. Place them in a sunny window or a warm sunny room, where they will receive ample sun.
A bouquet of fresh sprouts is simple to create. Start with a single round ball of sprouts, about one inch in diameter. Secure each seed with its stem, and pinch off any extra growth. Place the ball in a small bowl, and add three drops of your favorite herb or flower oil. Let your sprouts air-dry for several hours, then hang to dry in a salad spinner.
A larger bouquet of about twelve stems should be stored in a vase for up to two weeks. Loosely cover the tops of the vases with a thin layer of cheesecloth, and add water. The resulting bouquet will keep for two months. Discard any excess cheesecloth after two weeks, and wash any remaining dirt in running water. Your sprouts should be ready to harvest in time for a spring meal.
To cook, you will need to make a buttery salad. Combine halved radishes, washed as much of the dirt out as possible, chopped veggie chunks, onion, bell pepper, and enough water to moisten the veggies about six inches away from the roots. Add your sprouts about four inches away from the roots. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sprouts are soft.
You can dress up side dishes with sprouts as well. Sprouts can be used in soups, stews, chili, and vegetable dishes. They are also excellent in egg dishes such as omelets and scrambled eggs. Sprouts can also be used in casseroles such as stews or soups. They add color and flavor to a bland dish. And, they are quite cheap.
You can buy sprouts in the produce section of your grocery store or grow them yourself at home. The sprouts themselves are quite small and uniform. Some have a more bitter taste than others. I've even had red sprouts that were bitter but I strained them, added some water, and they turned out to be pretty good. They were very flavorful.
Try experimenting with various recipes. Sprouts can be combined with many other ingredients to make spectacular tasting meals. Try sprouting green beans, carrots, beets, kale, lettuce, parsley, and even radishes. Sprouts are versatile and can be used in a wide range of recipes.