Sprouts-why should you eat them? Why should you grow them? Sprouts of all kinds are packed with protein and fiber. Beans can sometimes be harder for people to digest. Sprouting allows for a better absorption of nutrients in a raw form. What sprouting does, is that it opens the seed coat and allows water to permeate the seed. Once the seed swells, the plant starts to exit is dormant stage and begins to open up, getting ready to grow. In the first stage of growing, the seed coat opens and the early forms of roots, and possibly early leaves (depending on what you’re sprouting) begin to emerge.
The health benefits:
- protein levels increase, and allows for better absorption of minerals
- Fiber increases
- Vitamin levels/absorption increases
Some seeds are faster than others to sprout. I love to sprout mung beans, brown/french lentils, alfalfa, and broccoli the best. They’re very easy to grow, and respond quickly.
Why grow your own? Hellllloooo-it’s cool! It’s fresh! It soooo much less expensive! Plus-you control how old the sprouts are, as well as being able to insure an organic environment. Another way you help in the food system, is lowering your reliance on transport and waste. Sprouts go bad quickly. Because they are low in calories, the amount of energy used to produce them is very high compared to the amount of energy produced. By growing your own, you reduce your energy consumption in terms of transport and lower the possibility of waste.
I purchase organic seeds and dried legumes. I don’t use special sprouting seeds. Yup-just go and pick up some organic dried lentils, peas, or beans and start sprouting! I do purchase alfalfa and broccoli seeds from my co-op, as that’s the easiest place for me to get a good sized pack of seeds at a reasonable price. You can also order them on-line. Sproutpeople.com are a great source of sprouting equipment and seeds. The only special piece of equipment you need is a mesh top that will fit a canning jar. A wide mouth lid will allow you better drainage than a small mouthed lid. If you want, you can use a piece of cheesecloth over a canning jar and seal on with a lid (you’ll have to discard it once you’re finished, and draining might be more difficult. You don’t want your sprouts to sit in water, as they will mold-and NO ONE likes mold. If you notice mold on your sprouts-toss them and start again!
To sprout: soak your seeds overnight. Drain. Rinse and drain 2xs a day and rest on side to increase draining. Continue until you see seeds sprout and taste as you like. When done, dump onto a towel and dry. Return to container and place into fridge to keep cold. Sprouts should last 1 week.
For more on how to sprout each kind of seed, click here to see my site on sprouting.
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