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The biosnacky jar was given to me as a joke gift and has actually had a lot of use. The jar itself is just a standard glass (kilner type) jar, and it comes with a green plastic screw on lid which doubles up as a stand and sieve to drain the water. The lid locks on tight and both are dishwasher proof.
With the lid on its 14cm high, and has a diameter of around 8cm. This seems small but more than adequate for 1-2 people. Sprouts are best eaten fresh and so you dont really want to be storing them fr more than a day or two once ready. Ideally if you love sprouts then you would have a few jars running a day or so between them so you have a continuous supply.
What to grow - As with any fresh produce you need to be careful on contamination to prevent e-coli, but dont let this put you off. You have to buy special sprouting seeds, you cant just grow any seeds as they typw you grow in the ground tend to be sprayed with chemicals. Its easy enough to buy online or from a health food store some organic sprouting seeds. Seeds such as mungbeans (bean sprouts), radish seeds (if you like a little heat), broccoli seeds (the sprouts of which contain several times more cancer fighting chemicals than standard grown broccoli), lentils etc.
Sprouting is quick and from start to finish you can have sprouts ready to eat from 4 to 7 days depending what you grow. You dont need any special dark humid room or any sunny position simply place on your kitchen worktop - they require very little effort. The jar can make a couple of handfuls of sprouts - easy enough bean sprouts for a stir-fry for 4 people. Usually a heaped breakfast bowl full again depending on the type of sprout and quantity used.
How to grow - this couldn't be easier, just put a few heaped tablespoons in the jar cover with sufficient cold water and leave to soak for 8-12hrs - or just overnight, once thats done -drain them, pour clean water to rinse and drain again shake gently upside down to get rid of any excess water and then using the special lid stand on the worktop out of direct sun so the jar naturally drains. This rinsing and draining is carried out twice a day and after 4-7 days you will have sprouts ready to use. The sprouts dont need to be sat in water they just need to be rinsed. The special lid allows this rinsing and draining to be done easily. Once done you can tip them out and eat them - best eaten raw or all the nutrients they contain - they are actually really good for you.
The jar should then be properly washed to be used again.
You may be thinking why cant I just use a basic jar and either make holes in the lid or use some cloth like muslin - and you could and get exactly the same results. The biosnacky jar however is cheap enough and should last indefinitely if not dropped, the only downside being the limited size - they don't do bigger ones and if using very small seeds like alfalfa (packed full of most vitamins) then they can get caught in the mesh of the lid - but this is only until they start to grow. The mesh needs to be free and unblocked to allow air to circulate over the sprouts while they grow.
You would look to pay near £2 for a bag of mixed sprouts slightly less for bean sprouts - for the same amount you could grow more like 6 times the amount and know its absolutely fresh. - You just need to plan ahead if you want sprouts for a particular meal such as a stir fry - as in start 5-7 days before you plan to cook the dish.
i'm a very strict vegetarian so I find it difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals I need sometimes. I used to spend loads of money on buying shoots and sprouts in little packets because they give you a really helpful boost.
When I saw this product I thought it looked a little bit expensive for what it was. Although I still think it is somewhat overpriced, it does save money in the long run.
I was surprised by how easy it is to use. I'm really not much of a gardener but I could manage. You just pop the seeds on the plastic mesh tray, water them, leave them in a sunny place and you're away.
I was also surprised by how fast the seeds germinated. Within a week there are sprouts popping up which are ready to eat. They're great for snacking on, putting in salads or sandwiches etc.
One of the best things about growing your own shoots fresh is you don't need to worry about keeping them fresh in the fridge. You know you always have a nice fresh supply.
The jar looks really nice on my kitchen windowsill, I love having greenery and it brightens up the room.
I have seen multiple tiered products which look very similar on the market. I don't know if this would be a better idea. It depends how many shoots you think you're going to eat and how much you want to invest. I do find my simply jar a bit small sometimes.
After a small attempt last summer at growing some vegetables in pots I decided to try herbs on my windowsill. With this in mind I also thought I would have a crack at growing some fresh bean sprouts which both of us love. I looked on Amazon and found the Biosnacky Germinator glass jar. It cost £9.99 and I did think this was a bit more than I wanted to pay but I went ahead and bought one.
I also bought a starter pack of seeds too.
When my Germinator jar arrived I must admit there wasn't a lot for my money, a glass jar, a lid with a sieve on the top and a little stand. I was eager to get going with my new project so I set about figuring out how to use it.
The seeds I had o use were Alfalfa, Little Radish, Mung Bean, and 2 aromatic mixes. These can be grown individually or mixed.
I decided to start with the Alfalfa.
Growing the sprouts is simple, even I have managed it several times.
Simply take the required amount of seeds for the type you want to grow and soak them in water in the germinator jar for 4 to 12 hours. I usually leave mine overnight. You only need to have the water so it just covers the seeds.
The seeds then need to be rinsed in clean water. This is where the Biosnacky jar makes it easy. Simply run water through the sieve on top of the jar and making sure the seed are reasonably distributed down one side of the jar, I did this by gently shaking them and holding the jar at an angle, use the little stand attached to the lid to balance the jar at a downward angle so the water drains out thoroughly. I always stand my jar on a small tray to catch the water. This is the one thing I think Biosnacky could have included in their kit. After all a small plastic tray isn't too much to ask for when they are asking £9.99 for their product. Anyway this little gripe aside I should just go back a bit and say the reason for making sure your seeds are evenly placed and not piled on top of each other is to stop them going mouldy.
The seeds need to be rinsed twice a day like this to keep them wet but not waterlogged. If you don't do this once again they can go nasty and mouldy.
After just 1 day the little seeds are already starting to sprout. It takes just 4 to 5 days to get a jar full of lovely crunchy shoots with really very little effort. Once grown they can be kept in the fridge for 2 days. So really you can have an almost non stop supply of bean shoots should you desire.
The jar and lid should be washed thoroughly between uses. It is dishwasher safe for those who use one.
As I said I have been growing mine on the window sill but when the weather gets hotter I will move them out of direct sunlight onto the work surface as they can dry out very quickly in the sun.
I have been very pleased with my Biosnacky Germinator jar. At £9.99 I thought it was slightly expensive and I could have used any old jar. But the sieved lid with the little stand does make rinsing your shoots much easier and prevents you from washing them down the sink. I love the fresh crunchy nutritious bean sprouts that it produces. They are so delicious in stir fries, salads and anything you care to use them for, and at the end of the day there's nothing nicer than producing something tasty that you've grown yourself.
This is one I would definitely recommend if like us you love bean shoots.
This is a review for the Biosnacky large germinator - which does the same job as the Biosnacky small jar - but in greater volume.
I bought this seed-germinating contraption on a healthy whim at my local health store. I had just been doing lots of research on optimum nutrition - and sprouting seeds seemed like an ideal way to harness the enhanced nutritional properties of sprouted seeds.
Alfalfa and mung bean are perhaps the most popular sprouted seeds but broccoli, lentils, chick peas and just about any other small to medium sized bean can be sprouted. Once sprouted, they can be included in casseroles, salads, sandwiches, and even baked in home made bread to zoop up the nutritional content and give added taste.
Biosnacky large germinators cost around £15. This makes them quite a lot more expensive than the jars - which are about £5. If you are a keen sprouter though - this is a good investment because it means that you can have a steady supply of sprouts.
They have a plastic water collecting container on the bottom, and three plastic trays which stack on top of this. There is a clear, plastic lid on the top. Each of the plastic trays has a small red plastic plug in it. This is to regulate the water in the germinator. Water is put into the top tray and it trickles down through the other trays, irrigating the different seeds that are in each tray - and eventually collects in the bottom collecting tray - where it is emptied. The little red plastic plugs have to be slightly twisted to allow the free and regular flow of the water.
How to operate the germinator
Three different sorts of seeds can be selected and spread evenly - and not too densely in the trays. The little plastic plugs are given a quick twist to check they are loose. The trays are all stacked onto the collecting tray and the top layer in watered (fresh clean water). At this point, I watch the water to make sure it flows evenly. If it collects in one tray itmeans that the plug has become a little tight or a little blocked and needs to be 'fiddled' with. I use that word because there seems to be no hard and fast way to make the plugs work; it is more of a knack. I find the plugs the biggest difficulty of the germinator. Sometimes the sprouts can get suck in the plugs which makes the adjustments even more fiddly. Occasionally, the whole of the tray needs to be emptied whilst the plug is cleaned and then sprouts put back in.
Pros and Cons
Eating great healthy food - just about as fresh and nutritious as it gets - is the biggest bonus of this sprouter. Once you have a space about the size of a medium sauceman put aside in the kitchen (the size of the sprouter) and you get into the swing of twice daily irrigation - the rewards of seeing seeds sprout and then including them in your meals are huge.
However, if you have a busy life, the germinating of seeds in this germinator can prove to be a bit troublesome. The plugs can be infuriating if you are required to adjust too often and the water that collects in the bottom can be a bit odourous if it is not changed very frequently.
In short, it is not like just having a plant and watering it - it needs a little more care and attention to keep the seeds germinating and keeping fresh. If you are a person who does not lead a stressful lifestlye - a large germinator is a great idea but if it is hard to spare the time that the germinator needs - then it is not so good.
This is just a little word of warning about alfalfa seeds. There is no doubt in my mind that the properties of many plants are very potent but it is hard for many people to understand that a tiny alafalfa seed can have a huge impact on a human being. For the vast majority of people alfalfa is a fantastic and health giving food but for those who have a predisposition to Lupus or a variant of Lupus it must be absolutely avoided because it can kick start a flare up of the condition. I am not completely aware of the chemistry of this but generally, the boost to the immune system that is beneficial to most puts a Lupus immune system into overdrive. I discovered this a little too late and had a fibromyalgic episode straight after an alfalfa binge. I am careful to avoid alfalfa now!
In an age where most food is a convenience food, sprouting seeds can be an unnecessary trouble to many, however, the rewards are great for those who do - so this is a great contraption for the health conscious.
So imagine you have a packet of lentils or dried beans in your cupboard and you are not quite sure what to do with them. Maybe you'll make soup, or add them to a stew. But have you ever tried sprouting them? When you hear the word 'sprout', you probably are thinking either of "bean sprouts" that you'd buy for a stir fry, or brussel sprouts, which need no explanation! Those "bean sprouts" you'd buy are just one form of 'sprout' that you can actually grow in your own home, producing a cheap and really nutritious foodstuff. Unlike cress, (basically sprouted mustard cress seeds) which you might also be quite familiar with, many sprouts can be more bulky and substantial so you will feel like you are getting better value for money.
Since the germination of most seeds and beans requires moisture, warmth and some indirect sun, a clear jar and attached sieve is an good device to allow easy rinsing and the provision of the kind of conditions listed that help growth. The general method for sprouting varies according to the seed, bean or grain you are used. Just to give some examples, you can sprout any of the following: adzuki bean, chickpeas, flax, quinoa, green lentils, soya beans, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, alfalfa and barley. You can sprout most kinds of beans, seeds and pulses but with some exceptions such as kidney beans, which are highly toxic unless cooked thoroughly. You can look up a table online or use the instruction leaflet that comes with the jar, to explain the various soaking times of grains, beans and seeds before sprouting. It is really important so you don't become ill or get really bad indigestion! You basically put a couple of tablepsoons to soak, or with a seed just rinse, and then pour the water out through the sieve on the lid of the jar. You then rinse and shake about a bit a couple of times a day, for probably four or five days until they sprout. Once you see shoots that are maybe a few cms long, you can rinse thoroughly and store in the fridge. The jar is then free to use again and the sprouts will store for up to four or five days in the fridge, but be sure to rinse before eating!
The device consists of a glass jar and a green plastic lid that screws on top and has a tapering edge to one side. It is quite aesthetical, because it is simple and looks quite traditional. Bearing in mind you could do you own version with a large glass jar and a piece of muslin, this is a more durable alternative that still adheres sympathetically to a traditional design.
How efficient is the jar? There are a number of methods through which you can sprout from this Biosnacky Germinator Jar, to a larger germinator that is also under the Biosnacky brand. I find the smallness of the Biosnacky germinator a flaw in one way because if you get used to making sprouts a lot, it is quite a slow process waiting for the small quantity to sprout. You sometimes wish you had many jars! You can also buy large tiered bamboo framed sprouters and automatic sprouters such as the EasyGreen, which offers automatic cleaning, rinsing, oxidation, misting and temperature control. There is obviously then a huge range in price as well as the technological aspects. This jar is the simplest way- and the cheapest. It sells for £4.99 both online and in various health food shops. Other sprouters like the tiered ones can be bought from £15-£30 and upwards! Especially if you are making sprouts for the first time it is a good place to start, because the small quantity can be sensible so that you don't produce too many that go off too quickly. You have to be careful with this device that you rinse and shake many times a day otherwise a nasty gooey gunge begins to build up, like if you had stored veggies too long.
They are so nutritious! A sprout contains all of the energy, vitamins and nutrients that become available to a plant to be transformed from a seed to a fully grown plant. So they are like little dense balls of nutrients. When you sprout them, their nutritional value available to your body can increase up to 300% on their original form and due to their size you can end up eating hundreds of sprouted seeds and you end up eating an awful lot of goodness without much effort! They can be rich in protein, vitamin C, E, antioxidants and other vitamins and trace minerals. The abundant enzymes also makes them easy to digest.
When I use my Biosnacky germinator jar, I like to soak alfalfa and chick peas most. They produce some of the most flavoursome sprouts. I like to add them to sandwiches as a really different filling that will definitely get people wondering what you are eating! I also like them in salads tossed in a rich olive oil and mustard dressing with other vegetables I have to hand. Eating lots of raw foods and vegetables are really important, so it is nice to find different ways to help you include them in your diet. Some can be quite peppery, like cress, and some more nutty or 'leafy' tasting. I know they don't sound very appetising, but they can be really delicious if you treat them as you might another salad vegetable with simple and delicious dressings and seasonings to bring out their natural flavours.
This is a great product that is cheaper than other sprouters on the market and more value for money unless you are really keen. It is hygienic and can be washed in the dishwasher, and www.avogel.co.uk, the website of the company who make the product, contains a full catalogue of seeds and the sprouters that you can order to get started. The only problem I have with the product is that whilst you are sprouting they can go a bit yucky sometimes if you are too infrequent rinsing, but that is really a problem with my own commitment rather than the jar's effectiveness! Though if I had lots of money I would definitely invest in a self-watering device so that I could enjoy these sprouts more easily and more frequently!
Something to munch for a "Credit Crunch Lunch", these cheap little sprouts I am going to tell you about are all the same really as cress, which you always see in supermarkets, and which many children delight in growing at home. In a way these are the posh version of cress!
In our house we do have some weird and wonderful items, and this is one of them. The Biosnacky Jar. It's simple and it's effective and it produces some delicious sprouted seeds in a few days at the fraction of the price you would pay in the shops, if you can even find them at all in retail outlets that is.
It sells for £4.99 and it is available from many health food stores and online at www.goodnessdirect.co.uk. Made by A Vogel who is a household name in whole foods across Europe.
This is a very basic model of what is really the most simple way of germinating seeds you can imagine, other than by using a jam jar and a piece of muslin, which I have used in the past. This is, however is a lot less messy, and a lot more straight forward to use. The jar has a screw top lid with holes in for ventilation, and to ensure the seeds are treated to adequate oxygen.
My main reasons for growing these is that sprouted seeds are very nutritious, and they contain over 400% more protein than lettuce. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, and the great thing is they are so fresh when you grow them yourself. Being baby plants they are little powerhouses of nutrients, and are ideal for anyone who is following a healthy diet.
To grow them is a doddle. You just buy some seeds for sprouting. All the major catalogues do them, and then you place a layer at the bottom of the jar, having washed them in a sieve first. You then soak for 12 hours in the jar in water, and then drain off the excess and replace the lid. Then you place in a cool place at room temp out of direct sun and wait. You should rinse and drain them a couple of times each day, as the water often has a seaside smell to it, which is not condusive to healthy sprouts, and depending on the variety you choose you will have some delicious sprouts to eat by the end of 5 days or so, as the shoots grow to fill the jar within no time!
I love to use Alfalfa for this as it produces light, crisp, easy to eat shoots which are brilliant in sandwiches, and in salads, but you can select yours from any good seed catalogue. My favourite catalogue is from www.suffolkherbs.com as here they have a great selection. This company are also really good for the more obscure and beautiful veg varieties, if you are a keen gardener it is well worth looking them out. You can sprout mung and aduki beans very successfully in this simple jar, and the highly nutritious broccoli seeds are perfect for this too. If you are planning to add them to a stir fry then do so at the final moment, as you will otherwise lose the nutrients by cooking them.
As soon as the seeds are ready I usually decant mine into little plastic bags and refrigerate them, and they are best eaten within a week.
The great thing is you can either have several of these Biosnacky jars on the go at once, which will yield a constant supply of sprouted seeds, or you can even buy the next step up from these whish is the Biosnacky large germinator, which is a three tiered affair suitable for growing several varieties at once.
I have bought these sprouted seeds in the health food shop where they retail for just over a £1 for a small bag, but their availability is quite sporadic which is why I like to grow these myself .
We have taken the jar on holiday quite often, and in cottages we have made our own sprouts which have really proved of great benefits in some of our more remote locations.
The jar is brilliant in that it is happy to go into the dishwasher making it perfectly clean between sowings, and it is shatter proof too. They do recommend you place it in the upper tray only though, as it is only heat proof to 85°C. It is made from eco friendly glass acrylic.
The small nature of this simple device means if you have got a small kitchen and no garden you can still grow your own healthy food, and if you have little ones they will love to be involved in growing their own food! Mine certainly were and they really delighted in feeling they were part of it all.
Over the years we have had one or two little snags which I think we have managed to overcome now. Don't be over generous with the seeds, they need space, and if you pile in too many they simply won't grow. In rare instances ours have gone mouldy. This is nearly always because they have got too hot, or sometimes if we have been too busy to rinse them thoroughly twice a day. It is also really important to be very hygienic with the equipment between sowings keeping it spotlessly clean.
Other than this it is simple, hassle free and cheap nutrition, and if you go to www.avogel.co.uk you can find lots of handy tips and recipes to use with theses delicious little salad sprouts. They also do a full mail order service including starter packs and seeds.