This is the seventh post in Faeterri Silver's series Home Grown. Check the archives for more from her on growing, harvesting, preparing and preserving your own foods at home. Three jars, bowls, and strainers. These simple kitchen items help me to prepare food that is healthful for me. My jars are glass and three sizes: cup, pint, and quart. Bowls can be glass or stainless steel and are small, medium and large. My three stainless steel strainers are a small hand strainer with a handle, a sprouting screen lid that fits on a wide mouth mason jar, and a colander.
When I grow sprouts, I start them in the smallest jar first, not to be wasting water. I give a quick rinse to the seed using the small hand-held strainer, just lining the bottom of the jar with the seed. It works well for growing out alfalfa, clover, mung and other legumes, and radish and other brassicas. These may be found in local health food stores or can be ordered from the Sprout People in California or Mumm's Sprouting Seeds that has a Canadian online store. As the sprouts grow larger I transfer them into larger jars, giving them a gentle washing when necessary in a medium or large bowl of water to remove the hulls that will float or sink to the bottom. I lift out the cleaned sprouts from the middle of the water and drain them in the colander. This helps in the preservation of the harvest that I store in a large glass jar in the refrigerator or other cool location.
Herbs I have grown or gathered that have been dried are kept in jars and labeled. Into a medium bowl I break herbs up by hand into smaller pieces to increase their surface area. I get the benefits, especially of aromatic herbs, right away. A small strainer is good for teas and herbal preparations. In a pint jar I like steeping my herbal teas for a good long time with the lid on. There are BPA-free food-grade canning lids available but they are not good for any alcohol-based preparations. I pour the steeped herb through the hand strainer into my mug, and place the strainer onto the small bowl. I like drinking the tea when the glass has cooled to the touch so I am not burning my insides.
I store staples in quart jars (actually many of these could grow in Newfoundland and Labrador): grains like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat kasha, and dried legumes like black beans, chickpeas, red beans, lentils and peas, and sunflower, pumpkin, and other seeds or nuts. I also use the small bowl to limit the amount of nuts or seeds I eat in a sitting.
I use the strainer for rinsing grains and seeds, and the colander for beans and for cleaning greens or other fresh fruits and vegetables, with the help of my largest bowl. And of course I use my largest bowl for preparing my meals, especially salads, fruits and vegetables! Then I clean my tools so they are ready again to use for the next preparation, meal or drink.