Sprouts – easy to grow. Give them a go! (Not Brussels!)

Fresh sprouts are a highly nutritious food, bursting with energy and vitality.

What’s more they are easy to grow yourself at home and a cheap source of healthy food. A wide variety of foods can be sprouted, including seeds, grains, pulses and beans.

Health Benefits:

Sprouts are freshly germinated plants and packed full of nutrition. Since they are a growing, living product they are a very high vitality food and also very alkaline.

They are packed full of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and enzymes. The bean or seed contains enough nutrients to initiate development into a fully mature plant, and once germinated these nutrients multiply rapidly. During the sprouting process the proteins, enzymes, vitamins and minerals can increase by up to 1000%

Eating fresh sprouts will help to alkalise your body, improve your digestion, boost your immune system, help to balance your hormones, and boost your energy.

Growing your own

Although a wide variety of beans, pulses, grains or seeds can be sprouted, some of the easiest are mung beans, green and brown lentils, and alfalfa. If you are a sprouting novice then try some of these.

Wherever possible use Organic seeds, beans etc.

To get your chosen bean, pulse or seed into its germination phase, then you need to soak them in clean filtered water for a few hours or overnight. Soaking removes the plant’s enzyme inhibitors, allowing the enzymes to spring into action and begin the process of germination. After soaking, then rinse and drain the seeds/ beans and put them in a suitable container, somewhere out of direct sunlight.

The container can be anything from a purpose-made sprouting tray to a basic glass jar with a mesh over the top. At least twice a day rinse and drain the sprouts. The aim of this is to stop the seed from drying out, so you may find that in cooler conditions rinsing once a day is enough whereas under hotter conditions you may need to rinse more frequently. Continue this cycle of rinsing and draining until the sprouts are ready to eat. Each seed or bean will have a different growing rate and this will also vary according to surrounding temperature. They will grow faster in warmer climates.

Generally sight and taste is a good indication of when they are ready to eat. Seeds such as alfalfa or cress will be long and green and look like they do when you buy them from the shops. Beans and grains will have a little tail or sprout, about the same length as the original bean/grain. If they grow too long, or start to develop leaves then they will taste bitter.

When they are ready give them a final rinse and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for up to a week.

How to use:

Sprouts are best eaten raw. They can be added to salads, smoothies, stir-frys (added at the end of cooking), put in a wrap or sandwich or even eaten on their own.