Simple Sprouting Techniques and Recipes For Beginners
If you’re new to the sprouting world, you may have some questions: Why would I want to grow sprouts? What are sprouts? Why would I grow them instead of just buying them?
Well for starters, you would be surprised at the nutritional value that sprouts have! There are many different types of sprouts you can grow (my favorite is broccoli). So let’s talk sprouting and answer some questions along the way. Now sprouts are grown the same way, some will just take longer to sprout than others. Most fall into one of three classifications:
Seeds, Grains, and Legumes.
- Sunflower: rich in vitamins B and D and all the essential amino acids
- Flax: This food is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin and Manganese.
- Alfalfa: contains much chlorophyll, as well as vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, G. K, and U. It also has large amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorous, and sulfur
- Fenugreek: contains much chlorophyll, as well as vitamins A,B complex, C,D,E,G,K, and U. It also has large amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorus, and sulfur.
- Broccoli: Sulforaphane is the prominent phytochemical in broccoli
Grains: These sprouts contain vitamins C, E, B complex, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, protein, enzymes, chlorophyll, and possibly B-17.
- Wheat berries: The chlorophyll and laetrile content of wheat grass is very high. You should not ingest wheat berries but rather chew them for their juice and spit out the remainder.
- Buck wheat: rich in lecithin and rutin
- wheat millet
Legumes: are highly concentrated in both protein and starch and are acid-forming unless sprouted
- Mung bean: also known as bean sprouts, are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. A good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Copper and Manganese.
- Lentils: very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Protein, Iron, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Folate and Manganese.
- Soy beans: very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin K, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Protein and Manganese.
All of these are excellent sources of high energy. In fact, most sprouts will help with your energy level. Sprouts are great tasting eaten by themselves or adding them to other foods such as salads or sandwiches. In most cases, sprouts are eaten raw to obtain all nutritional value, but things such as Mung beans, lentils and soy beans should be cooked. Store your sprouts in a jar or plastic container in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. Anything longer than that and they may start to become rancid, producing harmful chemicals.
Methods Used to grow your sprouts:
There are many different methods to sprouting, but we are going to start with the jar method. Now, I bought a sprouting jar for about $12 just because I use them so often. But if you’re new to this and not sure about it, you can make a jar at home to test the waters! To make you’re own jar, you will need a few items, most of which will be lying around your house:
- 1 quart mason jar (any bigger size jar will work just as well, spaghetti jars work well)
- rubber band to fit snugly around the lip of the jar
- Piece of mesh screening ( you can also buy pre-made sprouting tops that screw onto the jars)
- A bowl OR a dish drainer
- Sprouts of your choosing
- To begin, you will wash and rinse your jar thoroughly. Add 1 tablespoon of sprouts to your 1 quart jar. It may seem like a little but trust me; it is more than enough for one jar. Fill the jar about half full with water, and let the sprouts soak overnight or in a dark area for about 12 hours. Cover with your mesh screen and secure with a rubber band or use your sprouting lid that has the smallest holes.
- On day two, you will drain the water out of the jar through the mesh screen or lid. You will then add more water to the jar rinsing the sprouts thoroughly. Do this several times a day. Turn your sprout jar upside down in a bowl or dish drainer until you see sprouts. Keeping the jars well drained and ventilated is important because mold can grow in the bottom of the jars if water is left in them destroying the yummy sprouts. Repeat the rinsing process 2-3 times a day for the next few days. You should start to see sprouts in about 3-4 days. Once you see sprouts then it is time to move them to a sunny window sill so they will turn green.
- You will need to remove the hulls of the sprouts. There are a few ways to do this. You can use a sprouter lid with larger holes or you can empty the jar out into a spaghetti strainer and rinse the hulls away. Once you have done this replace sprouts carefully back into jar and reseal. This step is just as important as ventilation because the hulls can cause mold to grow as well.
- After 3-4 days, taste your sprouts. If they still taste bitter give them another day. When ready, cut off what you want to add to a salad or sandwich and enjoy! Store any remaining sprouts in your jar or in an airtight bag in your refrigerator for a week or two, but no longer.
- Congratulations!! You have now learned how to grow sprouts!
There are many other ways to grow sprouts. Here are a few, Sprouting jars, sprout bags, vertical sprouters,and kitchen trays. All of these methods work, so it is up to you to find the way you enjoy the most. Many people choose different ways to sprout based on their time and kitchen space. No matter what you choose, you’re eating healthier and adding new things to your diet.