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Grow Your Own Sprouts For Condensed Nutrition at its Finest
Posted By Julie Morris On February 1, 2009 @ 4:17 pm In Fitness/Diet,GreenChef Foodie Talk,Recipes / GreenChef Ingredients & Tools | 1 Comment
It doesn’t take a green thumb to get green — and sprouts are the living proof. If you can take care of a goldfish, you can easily take care of sprouts: they require about 2 minutes a day in terms of maintenance, all in the convenience of your own kitchen. No dirt and no bugs, just beautiful jars and baskets brimming with micro-veggies, bringing your kitchen (and your diet) alive. No patience is required, either — which is a good thing, if you’re like me — as you can go from seed to harvest in just a matter of days. I like to start a new batch a few times a week, to ensure that I always have fresh sprouts to enjoy in salads, wraps, breads and snacks.
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Sprouts are baby plants and vegetables. In many ways, the sprout stage of a plant is its nutritional prime. An incredibly nutrient dense food, sprouts boast copious amounts of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, antioxidants, and even protein. The process of germination dramatically improves the nutritional profile of the dormant seed — multiplying the seed’s nutrition benefit anywhere from 300 to 1,200 percent! And many sprouts reign nutritionally supreme when compared to their corresponding adult plants, too. As listed in Sprouts: The Miracle Food by Steve Meyerowitz, 100 mg of radish sprouts contain almost twice the calcium, and thirty-nine times the Vitamin A of an equal amount of mature radish. Sprouts are condensed nutrition at its finest.
Eating sprouts is clearly good for the body, and growing them is healthy for the wallet too. Steve Meyerowitz does the math: “Seeds can multiply 7-15 times their weight. At [an average of] $4.00/lb for seed, that yields 26 cents for a pound of fresh sprouted indoor-grown organic greens!” Personally, I can’t remember the last time I bought ANYTHING for 26 cents a pound. Especially with skyrocketing food prices upon us, growing sprouts is a great way to lower the food bill without compromising health.
How To Grow
Various seeds, small beans, legumes, and unhulled grains are all excellent sprout starters — some of my favorites (in terms of ease and taste) include broccoli, green pea, lentil, rye, and mung bean. To start, you’ll need a sprouting container. Most people use a large wide-mouthed glass jar with a fine screen or cheesecloth rubberbanded onto the open end (the screen gives the sprouts air, and makes sure the seeds don’t fall out). Other growing techniques include baskets or porous sprouting bags. The basic process is to soak your seeds in pure water overnight. Rinse and drain the soaked seeds thoroughly, then transfer to your container of choice. As for a place to grow, anywhere away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures is a perfect location.
For the next few days, give the seeds a good rinse/drain twice daily in the container. Frequent rinsing is very important, as it both hydrates the young plants and also washes off excess starch which can cause the sprouts to go bad. Don’t skimp on this step. (You can also get an automatic sprouter which does all the rinsing work for you.)
Depending on the seed type, after a few days you’ll be ready to enjoy your harvest. That’s it! More detailed instructions — including a chart with soak and harvest times for specific seeds — can be found here.
Of course, you can always buy ready-to-eat sprouts at the market and your body will be just as happy. But with all the sustainable benefits of growing your own, why not give it a whirl?
(via Energy Grid)
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