Sprout, Connect with the earth, c’mon, you know you want to!

Okay, I am seriously not trying to be all mother earthy, but one of the reasons I like sprouting is that I feel more connected to nature. It’s the same as gardening, only waaaay quicker till harvest day.

 I love that, if you want to add some sprouts to your salad, you have to have thought ahead and begun sprouting them a couple of days before.I love that, because it reminds me of our dependence on the sun, and water for our food to grow- not Tesco…. 

 I love that you have to be patient, you cannot have it now-now-now. You are basically planting your wee crops on your wee windowsill, caring for them, and waiting for harvest day.

I love that when you eat them, you are eating food that is still living; full of it’s natural enzymes, and in many cases the nutritional content, in particular vitamin C, is multiplying by the day. Yes, multiplying! As opposed to depleting, which is what happens once you pick a fruit or vegetable from the plant, and leave it sitting around. In some cases, the grain or seed has no active Vitamin C until it germinates; wheat, for example. Once germinated it turns into a tiny plant, and within 2-3 days it is packed with Vitamin C. How cool is that? I love it.

Oh, and it takes “local” to a new level. Hello? How many air centimetres from windowsill to salad bowl?? Dig that carbon footprint reduction baby!

Loads of people think they don’t like sprouts, but that’s like saying “I don’t like vegetables” ; they all taste completely different, so I bet there are some you could enjoy. You can sprout beans like mung beans, pulses like chickpeas, seeds, like sunflower/broccoli/alfalfa…..grains, like wheat berries, seed-grains like quinoa. And a very very long etcetera.

You won’t be able to sprout anything that has been heated, as it’s enzymes, and ability to “wake up” and begin to reproduce itself,  are dead. So, most oat groats and barley will not sprout unless you source them from somewhere that specifically mentions that it does not blanch them. I bet oat groats, sprouted are delicious. Next on my list.

So here is how you sprout. You don’t need anything fancy. I just do it with a sieve and covered container.

The short explanation: Soak, Drain, Rinse,Drain,Rinse, Drain, Rinse, Drain, Refridgerate, Eat.

The slightly longer explanation:.

  • Soak your little seeds/grains/beans.Overnight is fine, some need less.
  • Drain well. You want them to be moist, but not sitting in water or they may rot.
  • Leave them covered, for about 8 hours. On a counter top is fine. You want them in darkness, so cover the container completely if you use glass.
  • After about 8 hours, rinse, and drain, and leave again.
  • It’s just a rinse and drain cycle until you like how much they have sprouted. Basically, if your kitchen is not too hot, morning and evening is adequate. If it is very warm, maybe once at lunchtime aswell in case they dry out.
  • Once you like the look of your sprouts, spread them out well on paper towel to dry a little, and then keep them in the fridge in a tupperware for your salads and wraps. They will pretty much stop growing in the fridge, but will still be alive. Hooray!
  • Eat. (see below)

For more specific info for each bean/seed/grain, go to www.sproutpeople.org It is a really really cool website if you want to start sprouting. If you live in the US you can buy organic seeds/grains/beans fromthem for sprouting (they have everything you can imagine) but mainly I like it for the information.

Then, eat your sprouts. Raw or cooked? I always eat mine raw, because when I don’t want to kill all the multiplied nutritional goodness, and I just like them as they are. Mainly in salads, and in green wraps, or regular wholewheat wraps. Sprouted wheatberries are nice sprinkled on overnight oats, or onto home-made muesli or granola, or smushed up with raisins and cinnamon in a food processor- see here.

 Some people sprout, though because it reduces cooking time. A newly sprouted chickpea can be steamed in about 10 minutes, by all accounts. Others sprout for digestibility; some people do not get on well with wheat, but when sprouted, can digest it fine. (The sprout people have more info about why this is so)

And that’s all there is to it! The cheapest and easiest way to eat Super Foods; I do believe they take the nutritional biscuit (appropriate phrase? not sure) for super-ness, even if the “gurus” have not classified them as “Superfoods”.  Plus, you get the warm glow of knowing you grew them yourself.  *Satisfied sigh*.

PS. Here’s a nutritioney bit, if you are interested. Many sprouts like clover, broccoli and alfalfa contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against disease. Plant estrogens are also abundant in sprouts. They increase bone formation and density and prevent bone breakdown or osteoporosis. They are also helpful in controlling hot flashes, menopause, and PMS.

Alfalfa sprouts are one of our finest food sources of another compound, saponins. Saponins lower the bad cholesterol and fat but not the good HDL fats. Animal studies have proved their benefit in arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular health.

Sprouts also contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and can protect us from the ongoing effects of aging. Not surprising, since they represent the miracle of new life, in the plant world. And we can choose to eat it. Thank you!

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