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In Part 2 I’ll get you started a bit more on gardening sprouts indoors. Sprouts are an excellent alkaline food source and they are low on the glycemic index. Children love them and this is a skill you can teach them easily which will help solidify their interest in growing their own food.
If you have had a deli sandwich, chances are you’ve had some alfalfa sprouts or in Chinese food, you’ve had mung bean sprouts stir-fried in something or had them raw as a garnish on Pad Thai. People eat sprouts because they have all the healthy enzymes that we need from plants, and as they are eaten raw most times, they retain the enzymes, which otherwise would be deactivated by heat at 118F. (Many dried beans will not sprout if they were dried too hot.)
The vitamins, minerals and enzymes that sprouts contain are critical for health. That’s why during World War I, the British Army grew sprouts as a preventative food source against scurvy. In 1940, the US Army studied how to grow sprouts to provide soldiers in the field with a fresh food source during World War 2.
You will find kits in health food stores and plans to build your own can be found online. It’s an inexpensive, high yield return for your money and time.
You cannot use seeds in regular seed packets at the gardening center, unless they are marked specifically for use for food sprouts. That means, you cannot buy regular broccoli seeds; you must use only broccoli seeds that say they are for sprouts. Otherwise, all seeds have fungicides applied to them, as they are meant to be put in the ground to grow plants!
You may be surprised that there are so many things you can sprout: grains, legumes, seeds and even some vegetables. Importantly, sprouting neutralizes many of the anti-nutrients which are originally in grains, legumes and seeds. It helps them also become more easily digested vegetables, while dramatically increasing the nutrient-density of the food.
For example, in bread when comparing sprouted wheat to unsprouted wheat on a calorie-per-calorie basis, the sprouted wheat contains:
1. four times the niacin
2. nearly twice the vitamin B6 and folate
3. five times the vitamin C amount
4. significantly more protein as well as fewer starches and sugars
5. sprouting beans before cooking them makes them more digestible and decreases flatulence
Wheatgrass is a very powerful detoxifier to use in small amounts, especially in the beginning. I also do not recommend growing wheat grass at home. Few people, even commercially, can grow it without molds. It may be possible to do it hydroponically, and I am including a link for that. No idea if this conquers the mold problem. You also need a juicer to use wheatgrass. Other sprouts do not require juicing.
I always try to eat my sprouts raw. Cooking them undoes the best nutrition that they offer. Puree them if their consistency is wrong for a recipe or use them in salads, as lettuce substitutes in sandwiches and as garnishes.
DO NOT TRY TO SPROUT RED OR WHITE KIDNEY BEANS (also known as “CANNELLINI BEANS”)! They have toxins which are not changed by sprouting and should never be eaten raw.
Here are seeds which I suggest you look for in the “For Sprouting” versions or buy some of them when you see them in the produce section already sprouted:
___ micro greens
___ chia seed
___ pea sprouts
___ soybean sprouts
___ mung beans
___ daikon radish (kaiware)
___ alfalfa sprouts
___ barley grass*
___ wheat berries to sprout, dry and grind into sprouted wheat flour
Sprouting Your Sprouts
The first step is to remove any broken or damaged seeds, as damaged seeds won’t sprout; they’ll rot or ferment, and then ruin your whole sprout garden.
You’ll need enough seeds to cover the bottom of a one-quart glass jar. Use a clean spaghetti sauce jar** which you have run through the dishwasher.
Depending on the size of the sprout-seeds you’re growing, it may be as few as one tablespoon or as many as one-quarter cup of seed.
When calculating how many to use for a batch, remember that your sprouts will increase in volume up to eight times in size. So, don’t fill your bottle any more than 1/8th full.
Next, soak your seeds for 2-12 hours (depending on the size of the seed) to allow it to absorb as much water as it can; you can find charts to help.
This soaking softens the outer shell of the seed and makes it easier for sprouts to begin to germinate. It also washes away the natural enzyme inhibitors which you do not want to ingest. Flush the seeds until the water runs clear after soaking. Learn more:
excellent raw food site’s sprout chart
Sprout Soaking Chart and
Chart – Sprouting Information
After each rinsing, you must drain the seeds thoroughly, rinse them one more time, and cover the opening of your jar with a piece of stainless mesh screening (available at Whole Foods), cheesecloth or clean nylon stocking. Secure the open-to-the-air cover with a jar ring (canning supplies) or a rubber band. DO NOT USE A CLOSED JAR CAP!
Again, don’t use canning lids to cover your sprout jar; just use the open ring portion.
Your sprouts need plenty of fresh air! Tilt the jar to provide continued drainage and air circulation, making sure the seeds are along the long sides of the glass bottle.
Be sure your seeds never sit in water. Sprouts need to be kept moist, but sitting in water will also make them rot.
Keep your sprout garden in a dark place for the next four to seven days. Again, check the online charts for the timing for your seeds. Take your sprout jar out two or three times a day to repeat the rinsing and moistening process.
As soon as the sprouts are ready to harvest them, let them sit in the light for a few hours to “green up” and then refrigerate. Use within a couple of days. Now you know how to grow sprouts!
the original online expert, Steve Meyerowitz – Sprout Supplies and Info
Organic Seeds for Sprouting
Source for Organic, non-GMO Sprouting Seeds
SproutGarden – intermediate level.
Wheat Grass – hydroponically
sprouting process and recipes MotherEarthNews
Step-by-step Sprout Growing Pictures and Instructions
* dehydrate the sprouted barley grass or wheat grass at very low heat (105F) and powder it, if you do not have a juicer.
** if you don’t use glass, you can also put the seed in a hemp bag (only use this fiber as it is good as an antibacterial), and hang it to drain each time.
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