Sprouts - A Nutrition Powerhouse

Sprouts are a nutrition powerhouse that are super easy to grow. They can be easily grown on your counter all year round providing a source of awesome nutrients to fuel your body.


Milada Vigerova - Unsplashed

By Wendy Behenna June 2, 2022


The foundation of sprouts is the seed. The seed contains all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates that make up the plant. Seeds are always waiting for the right conditions to grow. Once the seed germinates a series of events start to happen.

  • Enzymes in the seed are activated - needed for food digestion

  • Proteins - storage proteins converted to peptides and amino acids which increase their nutrient bioavailability

  • Vitamins - sprouting increases vitamin values

  • Starches - converted to simple sugars

  • Minerals - merge with proteins to increase absorption and uptake

The result of all of these actions enhances its digestion and adsorption rate and increases it's nutrient value. Sprouts are sometimes considered a predigested food due to these characteristics.


Why Give Sprouts a Try

Sprouts are a source of fresh produce that can be grown i any time of the year. They are very economical and easy to grow with minimal equipment, take very little room and are ready in 3-5 days! We don't have to worry about chemical sprays either. A big bang for our buck.


The health benefits we bonus from are:

  • improves digestion

  • source of antioxidants

  • rich source of antioxidants

  • great for the immune system



How To Grow

Equipment:


- Very clean jar, sprouting lid, bowl or drain rack to invert jar on an angle

- Fresh non-chlorinated water - best source possible

- Fresh seeds preferably organic - buy seeds from a reputable source


Soaking:

Put 1 tbsp. of small seed, or ¼ cup of large seed in the jar. Screw on sprouting lid. Rinse with water and drain. Fill the jar with water again and let the seeds soak in the jar for approximately 2 hours for the broccoli family and about 8 hours (overnight) for other seeds. After soaking, pour out the water through the screen.


Sprouting:

Place the jar away from direct sunlight, upside down, and on an angle to allow the excess water to drain out and air to circulate. Rinse 2-3 times daily. Repeat this rinsing process until your spouts are the desired size. Rinsing 3 times a day, and proper airflow, are especially important in the warmer months to prevent bacteria from growing.


Harvesting:

Sprouts can take between 3-7 days depending on the variety you are growing. They are best eaten when still fairly small and just starting to turn green. Give them a final rinse and let them drain well. You can dump the sprouts in a colander to drain if desired. Spread them out on a clean dish towel or on a paper towels to dry. Once they are dry to the touch, they are ready to be stored in the fridge. Sprouts should keep for about 7-10 days.



Favorite and Popular Sprouts to Grow


Broccoli sprouts are my favorite to grow because of all the health benefits they possess. The key component in the cruciferous vegetable family - broccoli, broccoli sprouts, brussel sprouts etc. is a compound called sulforaphanes. These compounds reduce inflammation, help remove toxins from the body, decrease the risk for cardiac disease, and may protect our DNA from disease. Broccoli sprouts contain a much higher amount of sulforaphanes over mature broccoli.


Some other popular sprouts to grow are: alfalfa - chickpea - pea - mung bean - radish - red clover


It's always best to buy seeds that are fresh and organic. I found a great supplier Mumm's Sprouting Seeds in Saskatchewan where I get all my sprout and microgreen seeds from. They also have sprouting lids and kits or you can get them off of amazon.


Difference Between Microgreens and Sprouts

Microgreens and sprouts use the same seeds, its the way they are grown and the stage that they are eaten which is different.

Sprouts:

  • germinated seeds started in water

  • 3-5 days till ready

  • eaten entirely

  • do not form true leaves

Microgreens:

  • grown in soil or on other medium. I like using a hemp mat. Cleaner than soil

  • 7-10 days till ready

  • only part above soil eaten - not the seed or root

  • form true leaves



Ideas How to Use Sprouts


There are many ways to harvest the nutritional power sprouts have to offer.

  • add them as a topping on a sandwich or salad

  • use as a garnish on soup or other meal

  • add a handful to a smoothie

  • perfect to add to a spring roll

  • use as an add-in when making pesto

  • add them to a Buddha Bowl

  • stir fry with other vegetables

  • add to rice dishes






Health Benefits of Sprouts


Mumm's Seeds has a page on their website outlining all kinds of health benefits of eating sprouts. Click here Health Benefits of Sprouts to read what they have to say.



Wendy Behenna is a retired Medical Laboratory Technologist who now uses the kitchen as a "lab" to create healthy, real food dishes. As a graduate of the Culinary Nutrition Program, she wants to share the knowledge she acquired to help people with meal planning and cooking skills, especially those transitioning to a gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle. She is also a Certified Tea Sommelier and loves incorporating tea in her recipes when possible.



















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