I am a great fan of sprouting, it is one of life’s simple pleasures. You really don’t have to put a lot of effort in, yet are rewarded with the most amazing little delicacies at the end of it. Per gram there aren’t many foods that can match it on a nutritional level. And on a lifestyle level, there aren’t many plants you can grow which can be harvested just 72 hours later!
Sprouts are the ultimate in super foods, yet unlike most super foods, they are both inexpensive and cost effective; you know roughly how many you’re going to want to eat enabling you to control how many you sprout, making wastage is non existent. A 500g bag of organic mung beans from Infinity Foods will set you back somewhere around £2.30 and will last a good couple of months, depending how often and how many you sprout.
When you eat a sprout, you are essentially eating a baby plant, which is a powerhouse of nutrients. It needs to be as the simple process of transforming from a dormant seed to a sprout once soaked activates the seeds immense metabolic process and it springs to life. As each sprout carries all the essential enzymes required we require for digestion this also makes them fabulous news for our digestive system.
Sprouts also have the highest concentration of phytonutrients per calorie of ANY food. Phytonutrients, if you haven’t come across them before, are basically a plants immune system, providing them with a group of chemicals to protect them from germs, fungi, bugs and other threats. That’s great, but how can that help us humans? Well, simply by consuming these phytonutrient we are boosting our body’s ability to work efficiently and prevent disease.
Not surprisingly, sprouts have been credited with a vast array health benefits; improving cardiovascular health, preventing heart disease and stroke, improving bone mineral density, protecting DNA against free radicals, and potentially helping to treat diabetes, Parkinsons disease, and arthritis.
SPROUT NUTRITIONAL FACTS:
|Alfalfa||35%||A, B, C, E, K||Calcium,Magnesium,
Potassium, Iron, Zinc
|Adzuki||25%||A, C, E||Iron, Niacin, Calcium|
|Buckwheat||15%||A, C, E||Calcium|
|Clover||30%||A, B, C, E||Calcium,Magnesium,
Potassium, Iron, Zinc
|Fenugreek||30%||A||Iron, Niacin, Calcium|
|Chickpea||20%||A, C, E||Iron, Calcium, Magnesium|
|Lentil||25%||A, B, C, E||Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus|
|Mung Bean||20%||A, C, E||Iron, Potassium|
|Pea||20%||A, B, C|
|Sunflower||Yes||B Complex, E||Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium|
HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN SPROUTS:
All you will need to get going is a jam jar, a small piece of muslin to act as a lid and an elastic band to secure it with. And, of course, whatever seeds or beans you want to sprout.
- Purchase seeds, grains, lentils and beans from a reputable company and preferably organic. Start with the easy-to-grow options such as mung bean and radish. Chickpeans and lentils make fabulous sprouts and are a great accompaniment for salads. Buy small packets to start with until you know which sprouts you prefer – everyone has different tastes.
- Measure ½ cup of the seeds or beans you want to sprout. Rinse thoroughly and place the washed seeds in a bowl. Make sure the bowl is twice as big as the amount of seeds/beans as they will expand once soaked.
- Add 2 cups of water and mix well. Leave overnight at room temperature, or for 8 hours if soaking during the day.
- Drain out water and rinse the soaked sprouts-in-waiting thoroughly. Place them in a glass jar and seal with a muslin lid secured with an elastic band.
- Place the glass jar in a well aired spot out of direct sunlight.
- Rinse the sprouts-in-waiting twice a day, or three times if your house is quite hot and dry. Repeat this process daily until sprouts appear. This should happen within 72 hours and ideally you’re looking for 0.5-1cm of sprout before given them a final rinse and placing in an air-tight container in the fridge. Consume within 5-7 days – if they last that long!
If you catch the sprouting bug you may want to upgrade from a glass jar to a germinator. There are plenty to choose from. As I’m not a huge fan of plastic and warmth, I opted for a terracotta germinator which I absolutely love. It has 3 sprouting trays meaning I can choose to either sprout one small mixed batch or up to three layers of separate seeds/beans. I wouldn’t be without it now.