Sprouting Your Way To A Greener Lifestyle

 

Javabird's friend, farmer Sprout.

Munch, munch…mmm…I  love what these sprouts do for me!

Time To Start Sprouting

 

By the time January rolls around, my body craves green foods.

 

Broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, lettuce……all are available in the produce department, but somehow they just don’t quite satisfy my cravings!  That’s why I grow my own sprouts.

 

Yes, sprouts are available at the store, but who knows how long they have been sitting there? After all, they are living organisms, but after suffocating in a plastic bag, they can’t be in the best of shape.  As a case in point, just the other day, there was a big recall of commercially grown sprouts which had been contaminated with salmonella. Blech!

 

Real Health Benefits

 

The solution to the green dream is growing sprouts at home. Sprouts are a perfect food. According to Steve Meyerowitz at Living-Foods.com, sprouts provide a number of potential health benefits.

 
Sprouts:
 

Are a superb source of nutrients.

Have important curative abilities.

Contain phytochemicals that may protect against disease.

Contain canavanine, an amino acid offering potential cancer fighting benefits against pancreatic, colon and leukemia cancers.

Are a source of plant estrogens which help fight osteoporosis, reduce hot flashes and control certain breast tumors.

Contain saponins, which help lower bad cholesterol (LDL), help with arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, and stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of T- lymphocytes and interferon.

Contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that may prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging.

 

Great Addition To Meals

 

Sprouts can be eaten plain, added to salads, layered on sandwiches, added as a garnish as you plate an entree, blended into  veggie smoothies….whatever you eat or drink will probably be improved by the addition of sprouts.

 

 

Many Different Types

 

Some of the more commonly sprouted seeds are alfalfa, radish, cabbage, broccoli, wheat, and mung bean. Here is a list of some seed you may wish to try sprouting:
 

Alfalfa Seed
Amaranth Seed
Adzuki Beans
Barley Seed
Bean Salad Mix
Bird Seed Mix
Black Soybeans
Black Turtle Beans
Broccoli Sprout Seed
Brown Mustard
Buckwheat
Buckwheat, Hulled
Chinese Cabbage
Chia

Clover Seed
Crunchy Lentil Fest
Fenugreek
French Lentil
Garbanzo Beans
Green Lentil
Green Pea
Kamut
Millet, Hulled

Mung Bean
Onion Seed
Protein Powerhouse
Quinoa
Radish Seed
Red Lentil
Soy Bean
Spelt
Sunflower Green
Sunflower Seed, Hulled
Triticale Seed
Wheat Seed
Yellow Mustard

 

Not All Seeds Are The Same

 

It is imperative that the seeds you choose be ORGANIC and NON-GMO (genetically modified organism). Your local health food store will have a good selection. You can also order organic seeds from such sources as TerritorialSeed.com.  Also, it’s important to note that certain sprouted seeds such as kidney beans are unsafe to eat, so stick to the tried and true.

 
To insure the freshest, safest sprouts, take these precautions:
 

Don’t let seeds dry out.

Avoid letting seeds sit in standing water.

Rinse your seeds regularly.

Avoid growing in extreme temps (hot or cold).

Keep your growing equipment clean.

Grow in a container with sufficient air flow.

Rinse only with uncontaminated water.

 

Growing Your Own

 

You can grow sprouts in a jar.

Fig A: Special lids turn a jar into a sprouter.

There are many different kinds of sprouting containers available, from triple tier devices to simple plastic lids which transform a Mason jar into a handy sprouter (see the picture on the left, Figure A).

 

There are many different sprouters available.

Fig B: This 3-layer sprouter is available at Amazon.com.

The style pictured on the right (Figure B) is similar to one I have used for years. I can grow three different types of sprouts at once, or plant each tray on succeeding days for a continual supply. The only labor that is required is twice-daily rinsing with cold water.

 

There are many different ways to grow sprouts.

Fig C: There are many ways to grow sprouts including this 2 tray method.

Yet another style of sprouter, is one that comes with two trays (See figure C).  These are often sold in kit form with everything you need to get started.  To see see some other kit options click here.

 

Anyone Can Do It

 

Sprouting is easy! If you have children or grandchildren, this is an activity that will provide fun, educational opportunities while encouraging them to improve their diet!

 

Seeds must be rinsed in cold water at least twice daily, and the water should be drained off immediately. Keep the sprouting container near the sink, in a well-lit space.

 

The seeds should start to split within 24-36 hours. Most seeds are ready to begin eating in 3-4 days.

 

I try to start a new batch every day, so I always have fresh sprouts that are ½-1” tall. If you have a 3 tier sprouter or 3 quart jars, this is easily managed.

 

Here’s to greener living, tastier meals, and better health!

 

 

3 Responses to Sprouting Your Way To A Greener Lifestyle

  • Carol says:

    Great article. I remember when my mom used to do this, and they were always really good. Peanut butter and alpha sprout sandwhiches. yum. thanks for the good reminder.

  • connie says:

    Bob, you are such a great editor! Thanks for all you do!

  • gweny duke says:

    Thanks for sharing. I am inspired, and will add this to my list as I am off to Fred Meyer where I hope to find the sprouting jars.

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