Since we’re now in the dead of winter and we’re not exactly getting much in the way of local produce anymore, I thought it would be a great time to introduce ya’ll to the wonderful world of sprouts! I’m sure that most of you have eaten sprouts before and seen them in those little plastic boxes at the grocery store, but I am going to show you that growing your own is so fast, easy and inexpensive that you can have your very own organic garden on your kitchen counter for the rest of your life.
Why should I sprout? Sprouts are the most vitally alive and nourishing foods we can eat. Once sprouted, grains, seeds and beans have 15% - 30% more protein, up to 10 times the B-vitamins, more vitamin C, vitamin E and K, beta-carotene, calcium, phosphorus and iron. They absolutely qualify as “super foods”. For those trying to lose weight, sprouts provide a low-calorie, high-nutrient food that tends to support improved metabolism. Sprouting at home takes only a few seconds a day and can produce a good part of your daily requirements of the nutrients you need from fresh produce. The hassles are minor, the costs are low, and the health benefits are immeasurable.
What can I sprout? Chickpea, alfalfa, sunflower, lentil, wheat, quinoa, mung bean, adzuki bean, clover and radish are just a few of the protein and vitamin-rich sprouts of many possible seeds, grains and beans. Really, any “seed” that is endowed with the potential for the next generation of plant life is sproutable.
What do I need to sprout? 1. A jar, 1 liter to 4 liter (1qt. to gallon) size, depending on your appetite for sprouts and size of your family.
2. A bowl of the right size and weight to prop up the jar.
3. Some screen or netting and a rubber band. You can use an old pair of nylons, cheesecloth, or screen from a hardware store.
4. Fresh water.
5. Seeds with good germination, preferably grown organically. Avoid purchased garden seeds unless you know they aren't treated. Most natural food stores have the common sprouting seeds; if in doubt, ask if it's organic. You can also grab some right out of the bulk bin at a health food store – chickpeas are my favorite. Most seeds keep for a year or more in a cool dry place.
How to sproutEasy Sprouting Directions (for most small seeds)
1. Soak: Put 1 to 4 TBS. seed in a wide mouth jar. Cover with mesh and secure with rubber band. Add water, swirl, and drain. Add 1 cup cool water and soak for 4 - 8 hours (or overnight).
2. Rinse: twice a day, refill jar with cool water, swirl, and drain. Invert jar and prop at angle in sink or bowl.
3. Enjoy in three to six days, when sprouts are 3 to 5cm (1 to 2") long. Cover the jar with plastic and a rubber band, or transfer to a covered container, and refrigerate to store. It's really that easy!
Below are some photos of my own alfalfa sprouts. I like to put them on sandwiches or salads for added crunch, flavour and of course, nutrition. Now, here is a hilarious video I found on YouTube featuring a groovy couple that is VERY enthusiastic about sprouting. It is fun, clear and concise, so after watching you should have the confidence to begin your life as a sprouter.
Remember, if you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask me in the comments section. I am your resource for all things holistic! All the best. Happy sprouting, Sarah