Friday, November 11, 2011
Are you a sprouter? I have sprouted some, experimented with different seeds and tasted various kinds of sprouts. I'm sporadic at best, but could grow sprouts as an addition to our diet as a way of supplementing our preparedness and nutrition. That is the beauty of sprouting: anyone can do it.
Sprouting is an easy project but the uses and variations are very complex. For that reason, this is just a basic tutorial on the reasons and methods of sprouting. More information on the basics of growing sprouts will be provided later on. First we have to know the answer to a very important question: Why grow sprouts?
One of the best reasons to sprout seeds is for the Nutrition. Seeds are loaded with nutrients and sprouted seeds are even better, up to 50 times better. As the sprouts grow, proteins, enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients increase while becoming more easily available for absorption in the body. At the same time toxins and enzyme inhibitors are reduced, increasing digestibility. This would be a particular advantage in the case of unavailability of fresh grown produce or vegetables.
Another big advantage is the freshness of the sprouts you grow at home. Sprouts grown at home and harvested at the dinner table are the freshest food you’ll ever eat. They won’t have lost vitamins like store bought vegetables or have traveled round the world. They will be organically grown, full of life and energy.
Sprouting is ridiculously economical! You can get pounds of greens for pennies.
Sprouting is extremely easy. It all comes down to "just add water." With few resources and very little time or effort, you can supply yourself an abundance of live food, in your home, all year round.
For a varied diet, you can grow many more young plants than you would find in a store; your salads and recipes will always have something new and flavorful!
I have listed some of the common seeds that are sprouted and nutrition benefits of each. There are other varieties that are also flavorful and delicious; these are some of the most commonly sprouted.
Alfalfa Sprouts – Antioxidant, helpful in prevention of menopausal symptoms, prostate and other cancer and heart disease. Use in sandwiches, salads and omelets. Broccoli sprouts have up to 50 times the nutritional compounds found in raw broccoli heads.
Broccoli Sprouts – Mild peppery flavor. Broccoli sprouts are one of the most nutritious sprouts you can grow. These sprouts may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, add valuable nutrition and are a known healer. The sprouts themselves are up to 50 times more nutritious than the fresh broccoli heads themselves. Broccoli sprouts are great for use in salads or juice the sprouts and drink the juice.
Red Clover Sprouts – Considered to be a natural cancer fighter and helpful in menopause symptoms. Use on sandwiches or in salads.
Lentil Sprouts – are 26% protein. They can be cooked or eaten raw and are a nutritious addition to steamed veggies or soups.
Radish Sprouts - 29 times more vitamin c than milk and 4 times the vitamin A. These sprouts are spicy and have 10 more times calcium than a potato. These sprouts are generally used to spice up salads or sandwiches.
Sunflower Seed Sprouts - rich in lecithin and vitamin D. These are known for their crispness and nutty flavor. They break down fatty acids into an easily digestible, water soluble form. Use as a great addition to salads or juice them for a great addition to green drinks.
Mustard seed sprouts – very tiny and very spicy. They can be used in everything from eggs to sandwiches and salads.
Onion seed sprouts – These have a distinct onion flavor and are 20% protein and a good source of Vitamins A, C and D. They are great in a salad or on a sandwich.
Mung Bean Sprouts - These are a good source of protein, fiber and Vitamin C. They are great lightly cooked and used in Asian dishes or mixed with other vegetables for added fiber without the added calories.
Soy Bean Sprouts – High in protein and in Vitamin C, foliate and fiber. They are great used in casseroles or stews.
Wheat Sprouts - a very nutritious and digestible way to use wheat. Sprouted wheat contains four times the amount of niacin and nearly twice the amount of vitamin B6 and foliate as unsprouted wheat; moreover, it contains more protein and fewer starches than non-sprouted grain and as a further boon, it is lower on the glycemic index making it more suitable for those suffering from blood sugar issues.It is great used to make sprouted wheat bread, mixing the sprouts into the dough or the sprouts can be dried (use a dehydrator or spread on a baking sheet in your oven) and dry until no moisture remains. Grind and use the flour to make bread.
How to Sprout
Air - as any small plant, sprouts need air to breathe, without it they will succumb to mold and rot more easily. Don’t put them in sealed containers and make sure that they get enough air.
Water - after a good soaking, sprouts need water every 12 hours at least and more if it’s hot. Regularity is key; if they are even slightly deprived in their first few days of life they will be permanently setback. In your efforts to keep them watered don’t drown them, they must be allowed to freely drain, else they will soon rot. If you let them dry they’ll die. If you let them soak they’ll choke.
Warmth - sprouts need to be kept warm to germinate and grow. Optimum temperatures vary but 70 to 75 f is a good start. Don’t let them get too hot or they’ll wilt, lose vitality and die. Colder temperatures will slow growth and are good for storage, but don’t freeze them.
Space - for best results, give your sprouts some room. Some sprouts can increase up to 30 times their size. Cramming them in a jar or overfilling a tray or bag will force them to compete for light and air, with inevitable casualties. Spread only a thin layer of seeds in trays, keep them mobile in bags and jars and remember they get bigger!
Light - most sprouts can’t use light in the first few days of growth, and many never need it. However, any that produce leaves will eventually need light to ‘green up’. Direct sunlight should be avoided unless it’s cold, as it can overheat your crop. Most sprouts will be fine if they get indirect natural light, there is no need to keep them dark.
Nutrients - adding liquid plant nutrients to the soak water will give the sprouts an extra boost that you will later enjoy. It is not necessary, but will increase their health, longevity and nutritional value. You can also mist the sprouts with a diluted solution after rinsing. Use a few drops of liquid kelp in water, or another organic plant feed.
You can grow sprouts in Jars or Trays or specifically designed sprouting trays. Here is a fun recipe for a sprouting mix made with several varieties of seeds sprouted and mixed with nuts.
"The mix consists of the first 6 ingredients"
Black eyed Peas
Raw Spanish Peanuts
1/2 c. mix, handful of almonds & peanuts, 2-3 Tb of Wheat. Mix is equal parts of above list (except wheat, almonds & peanuts) as you try it out you can add or subtract what you like and don’t like.
Fill jar with water and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. Put it in a sprouting jar or tray & rinse well (this can also be done in a glass jar). Remember to rinse well) Put them back in fridge & sprout for 48 hours. Rinse them a couple of times a day after this they are ready to eat. Rinse and enjoy