Sprouts offer amazing health benefits. They contain a significant amount of vitamins and nutrients not present in the un-sprouted form. They are easy, and even fun to grow.
Sprouts are full of protein and dietary fiber. They are also a rich source of calcium, iron zinc, magnesium, riboflavin, folate, niacin, thiamin, and vitamins C, A, and K. Plus – the enzymes that are essential for our health.
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The highest concentration of nutrients happen several days after germination. An example: Broccoli sprouts that are about 4 days old have up to 100x the amount of sulforaphane as mature broccoli.
Sulforaphane (also called SFN) is found in cruciferous vegetables. Especially in broccoli sprouts. SFN is said to be anticancer, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and much more. You can get SFN in supplement form but why when we can consume it thru fresh sprouts.
There are a great variety of seeds for sprouting. Various lentils, various grains, broccoli, radish, clovers, alfalfa, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds to name a few.
Sprouting is very inexpensive and easy to do. I really need to get back to it. I have a variety of sprouting seeds in the fridge and I have a sprouter sitting on a shelf giving me the evil eye every time I walk by. Now would be a great time to get started. The gardening has, pretty much, come to an end here in our part of the country. That means no more freshly picked goodies full of lots of flavor and loaded with health benefits. Sprouts are a great way to continue to get those fresh, nutrient rich essentials.
So, let’s get started…………..
First, we need a seed sprouter and that can be anything from a jar to a kit. If your going to try a jar, I would suggest starting with a quart jar. You will need a drain-able top. Cheesecloth works well. However, they do make Jar kits.
An alternative to a jar is a tray system. The nice thing about the trays is you can use just one for a smaller amount or stack them up for a lot of sprouts.
With just the two of us, I have found using one tray works well. That way we can eat them up before they go bad while another batch is in the works. Sometimes I make 2 or 3 trays because I like to add them to my juicing and give it a real BANG of nutrition.
Next, we need some sprouting seeds. Always look for only those that are specifically labeled for sprouting. And I highly recommend organic sprouting seeds. There are so many choices available it can be hard to choose. Many go for a variety pack and that is a fine idea if you plan to do a lot of sprouting and do it on a consistent basis. Otherwise you end up like me, with a fridge full of sprouting seeds that may or may not be very viable anymore.
I suggest starting off with one or two varieties to begin with. A salad mix is a good choice in the beginning because its a nice mix and taste good. In spite of all the wonderful things about broccoli sprouts, I find them a bit strong on their own. I like the benefits a lot so I will generally mix them with a salad seed mix. You will find your own preferences as you go along.
Hop over to the free resource library for a printable list of my 6 favorite sprouting seeds.
Now that you have your seeds and jar or kit, lets get started. First is to choose which seeds you will use. I suggest about a tablespoon full of smaller seeds such as salad or broccoli seeds. Believe me, that will make a lot of sprouts. If your starting out with bigger seeds such as mung beans, you will want to use 3 or 4 tablespoons.
You will want to wash and rinse well – your jar or kit. I like to put mine in a bath mix of water, white vinegar and baking soda. As a side note: I use vinegar and baking soda mixed to clean a lot of things. I love the fizzing.
Next is to rinse your seeds well. Give them a good rinse, drain and rinse again. After that you need to soak them for several hours. I usually put them in a jar, make sure the water covers the seeds and soak them overnight. You want airflow so don’t cover them or cover with a mesh or cheesecloth.
After the soak you can drain, rinse and put them into your sprouting jar or tray. Now its RDR for the next 3 to 5 days. Meaning – rinse, drain, repeat. Three times a day is best but two times a day will work as well. Each time you do this you will see more growth. It’s kind of exciting to watch.
NOTE: Sprouts can carry the potential for food borne illness. However, its rare and your more likely to get sick from eating meat or eggs.
As long as we practice a good cleaning of our jars or trays along with being diligent with the RDR, we are less likely for issues. I have never had a problem in all the years of sprouting. I have read a recommendation of soaking sprouts in a lemon juice and water solution (1 part juice to 6 parts water) for 10-15 minutes before consuming since the pH of the lemon juice helps kill any bacteria on the sprouts but I have never tried it.
Once sprouted we can use them in so many ways. Add them to a sandwich, sprinkle generously in our salads, mix into our cooked veggies or, my favorite, adding them to my juicing.
If you have extra, you can store them in the fridge for a few days. Make sure the sprouts have drained completely before storing. Transfer to a glass or plastic container with sealed lid.
Have you sprouted ?
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