Sprouts have been grown by many civilizations over the past 5, 000 years and have been regarded by many as a powerhouse of nutrition. They have been studied for centuries to better understand their high levels of disease-preventing phytochemicals and how they contribute to better health; from prevention to treatment of life-threatening diseases.
Several epidemiologic studies have shown that sprouts contain significant amounts of Vitamin A, C and D. Research shows that sprouts abound with antioxidants, they are full of protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. They are widely recognized by nutritious conscious consumers and health care professionals as a “wonder food”; and if that wasn’t enough, they are rich in natural enzymes making them easy on the digestive system.
Sprouts can grow from the seeds of vegetables, grains and from beans.
Sprouts vary in taste and texture, some will add a nice spicy addition to your dish (radish, onion), some are hardy (mung bean) and others are delicate (like alfalfa that is great in salads and sandwiches).
If you want to grow your own sprouts at home there are a couple of options available.
You can purchase a sprout kit with seeds like this one:
Or you can grow your own in a small Eco container like these ones:
Or in any covered dish that you have around the kitchen as long is it is not wood, transparent, metallic or glazed pottery.
The method you are using will determine a few important steps and considerations. If you are using a purchased sprout system and seeds follow the directions included with your purchase, if you are growing your own follow the steps below:
Place the beans in a strainer and rinse under cool water for a few minutes to remove any dust, impurities
Soak the beans in warm water and let them soak in a warm place for at least 8 hours (it’s probably just as easy to begin soaking them at night and leave them to soak overnight)
After soaking rinse again under cool water; remove any seeds that are not germinating or that have cracked or broken hulls
Place your selected seeds in the container and spread evenly along the bottom
Soak some paper towel in warm water and lay them (wet) carefully over the beans (about 4 sheets should do it)
Cover and set aside
Sprinkle the paper towel with water about 4-5 hours later
That evening remove the paper towel, allowing the water to remain on the seeds for about 15 minutes
Drain the water out of the container completely and gently stir the beans, pushing any that have stuck to the sides down to the bottom of the container
Moisten the towel with water and spread over the beans/sprouts and set aside
By about day 3 you should already start seeing some considerable growth!
Fill the container with water and drain well, moisten the paper towel, cover and set aside
If you are able to moisten the towels mid-day, if not then be sure to repeat the rinsing process in the evening
Repeat the process for days 4, 5 and 6 if the sprouts are not yet finished
There really is no hard rule regarding when the sprouts are finished and ready to eat, the taste will vary along the sprouting process so go ahead and experiment by trying them at various stages to see what you prefer best as far as flavour goes.
Just be sure to rinse them well before consuming. If you aren’t consuming them right away, rinse them quickly under cool water and wrap loosely in a single layer of paper towel and place in a plastic bag that is sealed tightly. Also be sure to keep an eye on them as they are sprouting, you’ll want to remove any that seem to be dormant (not sprouting) or that seem “mushy” or “broken”
Depending on the variety you are growing, they will stay well refrigerated for anywhere from 7-70 days. ENJOY YOUR SPROUTS IN SALADS, ON SANDWICHES OR ANY RECIPE YOU WISH TO ADD THEM TO!