I’m aware that the headline of this post reads like a direct marketing piece but it’s really not. Which is exactly why you should keep reading because fresh sprouts seem nearly too good to be true!
In winter, one of my favourite ways to enjoy fresh superfood greens is to grow my own sprouts. They are super cheap, super easy to grow and best of all SUPER nutritious. The seeds contain all the vital minerals and vitamins the adult plant would need to grow, so soaking and sprouting them helps release these nutritional compounds and make them more available to your body.
However, instead of eating these as fully grown plants, we’re harvesting them after only a few days and eating them at the peak of their nutritional bounty.
Packed with bioavailable protein (up to 30-35%!), vitamins A, C, K and some B vitamins, essential fatty acids, minerals like iron, magnesium and phosphorus (among many others), enzymes to make them easy to digest, and fibre (which decreases with sprouting compared to the raw seed), fresh sprouts have so much to offer in quite a compact package.
They might be small but they sure are mighty! Fresh, home-grown spouts are a wonderful option when cold climates make it difficult or impossible for us to grow our own food outdoors.
It’s just like having a mini-garden in your kitchen, and the bonus is you don’t have to battle any invading insects or weeds for your food. Hopefully it’s easy to see why I consider fresh sprouts superfoods. And everyday, easily accessible ones at that!
What kind of sprouting seeds to buy?
Be sure to buy special sprouting seeds for growing your own sprouts. Conventional garden seeds may still sprout; however, they may also be coated with toxic seed treatments and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather avoid as much of that crap as possible.
Where to buy sprouting seeds?
You can buy sprouting seeds at garden stores, health food stores and online year-round. One of my favourite places to order sprouting seeds online (and many, many other raw, organic, high quality food ingredients, blenders and kitchen tools and equipment!) is Upaya Naturals.
If you haven’t been to their site, you must visit! Even if you don’t feel like you have much of a “green thumb”, I promise you can easily grow your own fresh sprouts. Some of the easiest sprouts to grow are radish, clover and broccoli, while buckwheat and garlic are a bit more difficult so you may want to save those until you’re comfortable with the process and don’t mind babysitting them a bit more.
Here’s how to grow your own fresh, home-grown sprouts:
WHAT YOU NEED
- Glass jar (500 ml or larger depending on how much seed you plan to sprout at one time)
- Cheesecloth or wire mesh/netting to cover the jar opening* and an elastic band
- Sprouting seeds, preferably organic
* Any type of netting will work as long as the seeds can’t fit through the holes. Some health food stores also sell sprouting kits, which contain a glass jar and a metal or plastic mesh lid that I find works very well, especially for beginners.
WHAT TO DO
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of seeds to your jar and cover with plenty of water. Place the wire mesh “lid” or cheesecloth over the opening of the jar and fasten with an elastic band. Leave to soak for 3-10 hours (based on the instructions on your seed packet for the type of seed you’re sprouting).
- With the wire mesh or cheesecloth lid on and firmly in place, pour off the soaking water and rinse the seeds well. Shake off as much water as you can and shake the jar a bit to disperse the seeds and prevent clumping. This isn’t critical, but it does give the seeds more room to grow!
- It’s a good idea to prop the jar slightly at an angle** to help the air circulate and drain off any residual water. You can place the jars in a wide bowl or even a clean dish rack to do this. Leave the sprouts on the counter, away from heat and direct sunlight, to grow.
- Every 12 hours or so, with the wire mesh or cheesecloth lid on, rinse the seeds with plenty of water and tilt the jar at an angle so residual water drains off.
- Rinse the seeds at least twice a day, or more if you remember, for 2-12 days (follow the directions on your seed packet based on the type of seed you’re sprouting). Sprout each different seed in a different container since growing time varies based on the type and size of seed.
- Enjoy your fresh sprouts on salads, on sandwiches or in rolls, on top of soups or any other way you can think of enjoying them. Some people even blend them into their green smoothies!
- Once the sprouts are grown, you can store them in a covered glass container in the fridge for up to about 14 days.
** If you buy a kit with a plastic lid, it usually has a “kickstand”, which is helpful for draining off any residual water after each seed rinse.
If you’re craving the freshness and flavour sensations of fresh sprouts, why not grow your own this winter?
Fresh sprouts take very little time and effort, they are cheap and very nutritious.
Now, let me know: what’s your favourite way to eat fresh sprouts?
Life is a plate… Eat up!