In "Simple Foods for the Pack," Claudia Axcell suggests (p. 93) growing sprouts in your pack (well, in a bottle in your pack!) to have fresh greens on the trail. Seems to me this would be a great way to perk up the menu on longer trips, but I wonder if there are any issues of practicality.
Has anyone here tried this, and how did it work for you?
Thanks for commenting, Glenn. It seemed like such an inventive idea when I saw it in the book that I suspected few would have tried it.
re: sunlight, actually, that is what makes this idea feasible... seeds normally sprout underground (i.e., in darkness) so putting the bottle in your pack is great.
There are two practical problems I think of. First, the seeds/sprouts must be kept moist and ventilated, so you have a container of moist stuff in your pack with mesh or porous fabric over the top. I've grown sprouts before but it was a long time ago and I cannot recall how "wet" they need to be, so I am not sure whether this might be a spillage issue or not. Second, I am sure this would work in warm/hot seasons, but wonder what happens when the temps get cooler/colder.
Oh, and while this set-up does not need to be very heavy, it is bulky for its weight (like a 1 qt peanut butter jar with several oz of sprouts in it), so that factors into pack size.
Guess I will need to do more research and some experimentation!
Searching "sprouts" brought up a thread. "Sprouting" may yield another. I think I read someone punched holes in one disposable plastic container (Zip/Glad/whatever) and put it inside of another to sprout on the trail.
I would think that for the benefit it would be a lot of work and take up too much space. Lugging a jar full of seeds around for several days to get a couple of oz of greens seems like too much hassle. It would make more sense to just learn to identify a few local eatable plants.
I doubt the amount of work involved would be an issue, Gord, but you may very well be right about the space and hassle vs. foraging.
OTOH, sourdough has a long history of being carried and used by outdoorspeople, and it is IMHO at least as much hassle as sprouting seeds (and a good deal heavier). I am not sure I would carry either on a long hike, but want to understand the issues before I make those decisions.
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
I think that the people who grow sprouts as they backpack desire the health benefits of very fresh vegetables, such as vitamins and enzymes that are at least reduced if not destroyed in storage and cooking. For weekend trail warriors, these may not be a problem. Long distance hikers might benefit more, and that is when I'd be more interested. A pair of Gladware containers layered and the inner one perforated, might be worth playing with at home, then deciding about carrying the set up.
Foraging is ilegal in some places, should you get caught. Pine needle or rose hip tea is supposed to provide Vit. C, as are sorrel leaves. Those, at least, even I can identify, along with raspberries, apples, and blueberries...
Definitely, I think 90-ish degrees seems about perfect for raw veggies and greens. I would definitely advise giving them a good dunk in a sink full of cold water with a teaspoon of bleach in it, and a rinse. Sprouts are a fun risk food for listeria and salmonella, and that's one reason why I'm not comfortable sprouting them myself on the trail - the odds of foodborne illness is very high. The bleach/rinse dry maneuver seems to cover all the bases for safety.
"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." "The joy of living is his who has the heart to demand it." - Theodore Roosevelt
Loc: San Diego CA
Doesn't sound like something you would want to do if you were required to bring a bear canister. But, with the mesh on the outside of most packs now you could rig up a system to work I think. You would just have to be a little careful about taking the pack off and putting it back on.