Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sprouting: What Is It?

Recently, I have discovered the magical world of Sprouts and the art of Sprouting!  I was blown away by how something so tiny and so simple to grow, could deliver such a powerhouse of nutrients and health benefits - truly amazing!

Sprouting is simply soaking seeds in water and then allowing them to germinate until the very first signs of plant growth appear.  Then you eat them - super simple!

I personally never buy alfalfa sprouts from the grocery store due to an unusually high incidence of E. Coli, salmonella and  listeria contamination.  That and sprouts, even organic, are commonly sprayed with chlorine or food grade hydrogen peroxide to prevent mold and extend their very short self-life.

Benefits of Sprouts

Due to the numerous enzymes, sprouts are rich in easily digestible energy.

They are abundant in antioxidants, full of protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.  Chlorophyll is the ultimate blood purifier, intestinal cleanser and removes toxins from the body - in fact sprouts are nature's great cleaner!

Sprouts contain beneficial fiber.

Sprouts are very alkaline and can help balance the body.

It's best to eat sprouts raw to preserve all their beneficial nutrients.

Each different type of sprout comes with it's own unique benefits, but just to give you a perspective of the type of health benefits you can expect, one ounce of Broccoli Sprouts is the same as 3 pounds of Broccoli from a nutrient standpoint!  How is this possible?  Well, each sprout has the complete nutritional makeup of a full grown vegetable and one ounce, about the amount that fits in the palm of your hand is about 100 sprouts.  So when you eat one ounce of sprouts, when it comes to all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you are eating 100 vegetables!

Sprouting Is Cheap!

Fancy equipment although available is so not necessary for sprouting.  Canning jars are a popular and cheap choice to grow sprouts.  You can use a fancy plastic lid with a built-in mesh screen to aid in drainage or make your own.  Sprouting seeds are cheap when you think about how much you can grow with just a few tablespoons of seeds.  And water, everyone has access to that!  That's really all you need to sprout.  Google sprouting and you will find all kinds of websites eager to help get you started, such as Back Yard Nature.

I Don't Have Time!

Yes you do.  Sprouting requires minimal time and effort.  Once you have rinsed and soaked your seeds, simply rinse with water twice a day.  Within 3 - 6 days, you have sprouts!

I Kill Plants!

So do I, but trust me, sprouting is so simple that you & I can do it! We really just have to get the process started and the sprouts take care of the rest. Mother Nature, go figure!

Getting Started

One good source for organic sprouting seeds is  You can buy in 4oz, 8oz or 1lb increments.  Seeds can start at $2 and go up to $24 depending on which variety and how much you want. 

Canning jars are the typical go-to vessel for sprouters and can be found at Walmart and perhaps even your grandparent's basement.  Make sure you get the wide mouth opening in at least the quart size.  If you want a bigger jar (half gallon), you may have to buy online from Ball or Amazon.  Although, I have heard this size can be found at a hardware store.

You can buy sprouting lids, which come in metal or plastic.  Make sure to get the plastic as the metal are prone to rust.  You can also make your own lid using a rubber band and anything that will allow water to filter through and air to circulate in - some common materials used: cheesecloth and nylon.    If you are prone to fruit flies in the summer months, an alternative screening solution will work better than the ready-made lids.

Or just buy a sprouting kit!  I got mine kit from The Wellness Forum.  They don't have online ordering, so you have to call to place an order - 1.800.761.8210

The kit is $45.95 and includes everything you need to get started: 2 quart glass canning jars, 2 sets of lids (3 each with varied size screens), one pack of Mung Bean, Radish & Broccoli seeds.

Sprouting Is Easy!
  1. Rinse seeds
  2. Soak seeds overnight
  3. Drain and rinse seeds again, keep jar at a 45 degree angle to allow water to drip out and air to flow in
  4. Repeat Step 3, twice a day - once in the morning, once at night
  5. After 3-6 days, (depending on type of seeds) sprouts are ready to eat
  6. Expose to sunlight for up to 15 minutes, allow to dry and store in frig for up to a week
Best of all, there is no "right season" to grow sprouts, you can do it anytime of year.  Which means, when the cold, cruel snows bury us, we can still have fresh veggies whenever we want!


Sprouts can be kept in the frig for up to two weeks.  Just make sure to keep them dry.

You Grew Them, Now What?

Let the eating extravaganza begin!  Eating sprouts, due to their size, is the equivalent of eating hundreds of full grown plants!

Use them in:
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches
  • Wraps
  • Soups
  • Smoothies
  • Juices
  • Stir-fry's
  • Side dish

Check out this cool YouTube video, courtesy of Dara of Live Love Raw for more info & inspiration!

Go Sprout!
The Hoff

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