Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring is Sprouting

Spring is Sprouting 

It isn’t spring until you can plant your foot upon twelve daises. Folklore

The side entrance to our house has a place for boots and a coat closet painted Colonial yellow. It serves as a narrow mudroom. Those who enter are greeted with a welcome in cross-stitch.

The welcome was designed in period style reminiscent of a Pennsylvania Dutch Frakur. Like the old folk-art paper frakurs the cross-stitch uses primary colors, tulips, birds, and a large central heart bearing an inscription.

Over the years our family has had seasonal opportunities for hospitality. I would be happy to tell you, sometime, about our series of home classes and the different ways we opened our home. Food was always part of the welcome. 

Whether it was our Shakespeare plays, a speech class, our Beautiful Girlhood get-togethers, or a ladies’ brunch, the kettle was set to boil and platters were arrayed with refreshment. I was reflecting upon those happy, hard-working home school years when friends shared food with us - along with food-for-the-mind and heart. It was my custom to serve tea sandwiches with alfalfa sprouts. Larger sandwiches may accommodate lettuce. But little sandwiches fare better with sprouts.

 Earlier this month I was impatient for spring. I couldn’t wait for spring to start sprouting all the bulbs I had buried. Then I realized it had been some years since I’d taken a few minutes out of my day to make sprouts -inside the house. All in one shopping spree I acquired a pot of faux daffodils for my kitchen windowsill and a sprouting kit.

The kit comes with three plastic lids for different size seeds and for consecutive stages of rinsing. A few teaspoons of alfalfa sprouts are soaked for a few hours and then rinsed twice a day for several days. The instructions recommend keeping the bottle in a slanted position for draining.

After a couple of days of sprouting in a shaded part of the kitchen the sprouts are given a window seat. Leaflets emerge and chlorophyll mysteriously is produced all in one or two days. Using a lid with larger holes, sprouts are rinsed of their casings.

Sprouting can be a healthy edible science experiment for young children. They will enjoy remembering to “make” their sprouts. Wrapping the jar with black paper before the day your sprouts do their sun bathing more dramatically demonstrates chlorophyll production for children.  

I like to sprout lentils, too, for a fresh, crunchy green salad. Goat cheese and/or cream cheese with chives and cucumber make a traditional tea sandwich. A pinch of sprouts adds a dainty springtime interest. (Click to enlarge and you’ll see Tom Kitten on the teacup.)  

Outside my crocus and daffodils are sprouting and my chives are reviving. Very soon the dairy cows in Lancaster County will have luscious green grass to graze upon. I’ve read that milk production in mid-spring (from grass-fed cows) is highest in vitamins A and D than any other time of year. This is one blessing of small farms and green pastures. Isn’t Chlorophyll a wonder?  

Dean’s farm photograph was taken from the window of the passenger car of a train. The Strasburg railroad cars are pulled by a renovated steam engine. There is nothing more thrilling in William’s eyes, than riding on a real “Thomas.”   

 Thank you for visiting,
Karen Andreola


  1. I love to see your beautiful cross stitch! It is so wonderful to see the bulb flowers popping up and beginning to bloom.

    Hope you are all well.

  2. I think I will try some sprouts. :)

  3. At our house, we can't wait for the butter that lush grass produces. This year I'm planning to freeze some each week so that we can enjoy the deep golden butter after the lush grass season has passed.


  4. You've inspired me to find some sprout seeds. Happy Spring!

  5. Oh Karen,

    What a "welcoming" post:)

    I very much enjoyed the photo of your tea sandwich on your Tom Kitten plate as we are getting ready to get our little homeschool girls together for a tea party.

    I have been eager too for spring. Our daffodils began blooming a few weeks ago in Virginia and I've enjoyed every last moment of them.
    Studying them with the children, smelling them, photographing them and most importantly picking them to liven up my little home.

  6. Thank you for sharing spring with those of us still waiting for the birth of this new season.

    Blessings Rosaleen

  7. My daughter and her family paid for us to meet them in Lancaster County a few years ago for vacation (she's planning for us to meet at Williamsburg this year).

    We took the kids to the train museum and then went on the train ride. I was so much fun, something we all enjoyed from the baby (who is now almost four and no longer the baby) to Granddad!

    I fell in love with that part of Pennsylvania that year.

    We had a little hint of spring and then it turned cold again but there are new signs of life... like the CHIPMUNK on the deck last week.

  8. This time of year reminds me of when our children were 12 to 15 years old. It was always so exciting to see if the young lady or the little girl, the young man or the little boy would show up for breakfast each morning. Spring? Winter? Spring? Winter?


  9. The tea sandwich looks so good. I've thought about trying sprouts, but so far that's as far as I've gotten. Maybe I need to think on it again and actually try it this time. God has given us so many wonderful plants to use for food and nutrients, it's a pleasure to learn more about them. I love to use flowers for making delicate jellies, I've posted about using Violets and Dandelions on my blog if you'd like to take a peek. You have a very lovely blog and I'm glad I stumbled upon it, can't wait to have the time to read more. God Bless!

  10. I would love to hear more about your get-togethers in your home.

    We just had a little tea party at our home and Amanda brought the little tea sandwiches you recommended. They were wonderful!

  11. Dear Ladies,
    How fun to hear that you made the tea sandwiches.

    I am adding my comments to your comments weeks after this post and still our spring is fickle.

    Dandelion greens are sprouting. It's the first leaves that are most edible. How pleased I am that my herbs have over-wintered.

    Colonial Williamsburg is a place I'd like to visit, too. The Federal period of history is intriguing.