4 Reasons to sprout

1. Sprouting is Green!

Seeds are low-cost and provide a steady supply of healthy, economical food. They also store long-term (3 – 5 years) when stored in a cool, dark place.

Low tech.  The seeds are simple to grow because the growing process requires little water and sunlight. It does not require soil, highly developed fertilizers, specialized processing, or packaging. You can sprout seeds in a bag, mason jar, or recycled plastic container.

Sprouts will grow in nearly any climate although you will achieve best results when the surrounding temperature is between 40 – 80 degrees. You can grow sprouts indoors any time of the year.

Sprouts do not require refrigeration, although they do last longer if kept cool and moist.

No cooking is required. Can be eaten raw.

Finally….they contain chlorophyll, so they really are GREEN! Corny, I know.

2. Taste

Store bought sprouts are often past their prime. You’ll find the tender shoots turning yellow and slimy within days, leaving you a fistful of decayed shoots. Instead of purchasing sprouts from a retailer, grow your own from seed and you will enjoy them for weeks. Fresh sprouts are incredibly delicious and refreshingly crispy.

3. Nutrition

The process of germinating seed, grain or legumes produces many health benefits. Sprouting offers an outstanding source of nutrients and curative ability; it provides a good source of protein, increases vitamin B content, especially thiamin and niacin; it increases the phytonutrient beta-carotene and vitamin C & E; sprouting grain neutralizes phytic acid, a substance in the bran of grains that inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc; the process of sprouting also makes the food (especially beans) more digestible because the starch (responsible for intestinal gas) is transformed into sugar. Sprouting essentially pre-digests the starches for us, making it easier to digest and reap the nutrient benefits.

Sprouts such as clover, alfalfa, radish, and broccoli contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that offer disease protection. Broccoli is concentrated in sulforaphane, a substance that protects against free radical damage in cells.

4. Tradition

Sprouts are the edible young shoots of a plant (as it germinates from a seed to a plant). Consuming sprouts is an ancient practice that dates back at least 5,000 years ago when Chinese doctors prescribed sprouts to treat health disorders. The U.S. took an interest in sprouts during WWII when they investigated them as a convenient source of food for troops. However, past generations have reaped the benefits of sprouted grains – well before it was known as a “health food”.  Large heaps of grains piled in stacks out in open fields often partially germinated before it was transferred to storage. Conversely, current farming practices prevent the grains from sprouting while in storage.

Additional  Resources

Dr. Op Walker discusses the nutritional and nutraceutical benefits of sprouts on PBS’ Medicine Garden

Sprouting Nutrition from International Sprout Grower’s Association

Risks

U.S. Food and Drug Administration would like for you to know that sprouts do carry risk.  As with growing any plant, these conditions can support the growth of Salmonella or E. coli.  Sanitation is critical. Purchase certified organic seed from a reputable source. Rinse the seeds with clean water and skim off any floating seed, seed coatings, dirt particles and potential pathogens the first day when you soak seeds.

Information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for consumers: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/hhssprts.html

 

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