The Wondrous Sprout
Sprouts are easy to grow – you don’t need a garden – and they are ready to eat after a just few days.
Sprouts are also little nutritional powerhouses. They contain essential amino acids, and minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, calcium, manganese, and copper. They often also contain Vitamin A, and many of the other vitamins B, C, E and K. What’s more, nutrient levels are often higher in sprouts than in mature plants. The seeds must be soaked before they will germinate and this soaking increases the enzymes and fibre content which, in combination, help break down food more efficiently.
Many types of seeds and beans can be used for sprouting including mung, alfalfa, blue peas, buckwheat, adzuki, chickpeas, soybean, black bean, green pea and snow pea sprouts, broccoli, kale, mustard, radish, silverbeet, clover, cress, fenugreek, pumpkin, sunflower, and all of the lentils. To sprout, soak seeds or beans in water for a few hours or overnight. Rinse and place them in a jar
covered with a mesh sprouting lid (these can be found in health food stores) or a piece of muslin and secure with a rubber band.
Rinse at least twice a day in cooler temperatures and three times a day when it’s warmer. Keep the jar upturned slightly on an angle for
best drainage. Sprouts grow fastest if kept in the dark so cover the jar with a dark towel or tea towel for the first few days. Keep rinsing for 3 – 4 days till the sprout reaches 1– 2 cm long then place in indirect sunlight where they will develop green tips containing chlorophyll. Give them a final rinse, checking for any sliminess before putting in a container and keeping in the fridge. It’s important to rinse the sprouts thoroughly and not to keep sprouts sitting in the fridge for too long.
Making smaller amounts more often will ensure they are always fresh. If you are buying sprouts beware of any which look old, soft or slimy. Sprouts are generally consumed raw, but can also be cooked and used in omelettes, salads, soups, sandwiches, stir-fries, pastas and rice dishes. They can even be used in smoothies, pancake batter or ground to a paste to spread on bread, crackers or vegetables.