If you crave green stuff on backpacking trips, there's a simple way to turn your pack into a garden: grow sprouts. Bean sprouts add a fresh, nutty crunch to pasta, salads, and sandwiches (peanut butter, hot sauce, and sprouts on a pita is one of my favorites). Time it right and you can harvest fresh greens every day of your trip.
- l Plastic 1- or 2-liter soda bottle
- l 2 x 2-inch swatch of cheesecloth or mosquito netting
- l rubber band
- l 1 cup dried beans or seeds (lentils, radish, or alfalfa seeds)
Step 1: Wash the beans or seeds, then place them in the bottle with enough water to cover. Screw on the cap and keep the bottle in a warm, dark place until they begin sprouting, usually one to two days.
Step 2: Once the beans have sprouted, drain the water and cover the bottle opening with the cheesecloth or netting; secure with the rubber band. This allows air to circulate so the sprouts don't rot. Keep the bottle in the sun, fastened to the outside of your pack.
Step 3: Twice a day, rinse the spouts by pouring purified water into the bottle, shaking gently, then draining. In about three days the sprouts are ready to eat. Rinse and drain every day, and your sprouts will last up to a week.