Why Eat Sprouts?
“Lots of reasons! They carry plenty of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes, all necessary for the body to function optimally. In addition to providing the greatest amount of these nutrients, sprouts deliver them in a form that is easily digested and assimilated. In fact, they improve the efficiency of digestion. Sprouts are also deliciously fresh and colourful!
Sprouts are very inexpensive (even when organic), always fresh (they grow until you chew them) and have the potential to help solve hunger and malnutrition problems in our communities and in developing countries, because they are so rich in nutrients, affordable, and easy to transport before sprouting. Sprouts are precious in winter, when the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables is declining as their price increases.”
“(Sprouts) supply the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc. of any food per unit of calorie.”
“…sprouts nourish and strengthen the whole body, including the vital immune system.”
Why Sprout at home?
Most of us in North America depend on fresh produce that is transported across half a continent. Though we may garden in the summer, winter stops all but the most dedicated, or most southern, gardeners. Home sprouting can supply delicious fresh food, without the environmental drawbacks of the Mega-farm produced fresh produce, and at a fraction of the cost. 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 freshness is wonderful. If you can supply a jar, some screen or netting, and rinse the sprouts twice a day, you can grow delicious organic sprouts in 4 to 6 days.
What to Sprout?
Most seeds can be sprouted and eaten but avoid sprouting any seeds from plants that may have poisonous parts. Common seeds for sprouting include alfalfa, fenugreek, lentils, peas, radish, and red clover. Mung beans have been sprouted in Asia for thousands of years, but take more equipment and time than other seeds. Other less common seeds include cabbage, broccoli, garbanzos, mustard seed, and quinoa. Most grains can grow chlorophyll rich grass crops, and grains without hulls can be used as short sprouts. Save garden seeds (radish is easy, just let them go to seed and harvest when dry and ripe). Caragana seeds make delicious sprouts. Spread a blanket or tarp by the bushes just before the pods pop open to catch the seeds
What You’ll Need
A jar, 1 litre to 4 litre (1 qt. to gallon) size, depending on your appetite for sprouts and the size of your family.
A bowl of the right size and weight to prop up the jar.
Some screen or netting and a rubber band, either nylon tulle from a fabric shop or grey fibreglass screen from a hardware store, will work fine.
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. If you know a farmer who grows the seeds you want without chemicals, buy in bulk. Most sees keep for a year in a cool dry place.
You can also use a home sprouting device, such as the Sprout Master. Follow the directions that come with the device.
Sprouts, health and safety
Sprouts, like any fresh live food, could carry harmful bacteria; nothing grown in nature is sterile. Although we feel the risk of organic seed being contaminated with salmonella or e.coli is very small, we do take it very seriously. We sample each lot (probe every bag) as it arrives in our warehouse. Samples go to an independent lab for sprouting, followed by salmonella and ecoli O157 tests. We keep seeds quarantined until negative test results are returned. We use a system of GMP’s (good manufacturing practices) to insure the seed stays clean until it reaches the customer.Sprouts have been a vital source of nutrition for numerous civilizations over the past 5000 years. They are a powerhouse of nutrition, having the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes of any food per calories unit. Wheatgrass juice is the closest thing to hemoglobin known and is therefore a phenomenal blood purifier and liver detoxifier. So we must ask whether the benefits of sprouts outweigh the risks. According to The Sproutman, Steve Meyerowitz “In a given year, getting hit by lightning (1.29 people per million) is more likely than contracting E. Coli (1.1 people per million) from meat, poultry, shellfish, milk, eggs and produce combined. Since produce represents the smallest risk of these foods (41 outbreaks in 5 years) and since sprouts represent an even smaller risk than produce (12 in 40 years), the benefits of eating sprouts dramatically, statistically and historically outweigh the contamination risks.”
Do the benefits of sprouts outweigh the risks? As always, listen to your body and intuition. That is something only you can decide.
Sandwiches, Subs, and Pitas – sprouts are a delicious addition to any of these.
Salads – add fresh sprouts to just about any salad, or create your own sprout salad. Radish sprouts are great in coleslaw or potato salad, or anyplace you would use radishes.
Omelets – Add a half cup of sprouts to your omelets just before folding. Sprout mixes or alfalfa are great for this.
Breads – a half cup of sprouts per loaf makes a tasty, nutritious addition to homemade breads. (Add with the liquids.) The sprout nutrients also seem to help the yeast produce a higher loaf.
Soups – a few sprouts added just before serving are great in many soups.
Peanut butter sandwiches – believe it or not, I love sprouts in peanut butter sandwiches!
Use your imagination. Please let us know when you find a new use for sprouts.