Sprouting I

26 06 2009

if you are not including sprouts in your diet at least a couple of times a week, you are truly missing out on a hugely nutritious and alkalizing source of energy.

Sprouts are low in calories, high in fiber, varied in flavor, very alkalizing and nutritious. All that, AND they are cheap and easy to grow.

Sprout in small amounts. You may have realized this; sprouts grow. They will often quadruple in quantity and so don’t put yourself in a position in which you are overrun with sprouts. You may start thinking, “Oh no, must consume my sprouts!”

This is not the attitude we are going for.

Start small.

Go to your local health food store and pick two packets of either seed/grain/legume, or a combination.

Why not the local supermarket or wholesale grain store?

These may prove to be excellent sources of produce, in your near future.

First though, start in the health food store.

It has been my experience that certain grains/seeds/legumes from the supermarket simply don’t sprout. They are no longer alive. Poor things.

Another benefit of buying in the health food store is that the goods will probably be organic. Imagine, at a lower price than two starbucks coffees, you can incorporate 25% or more organic produce into your diet.

What will you need to begin sprouting?

You can buy sprouting trays, and maybe further on into your sprouting career you will choose to take this route. For now though, all you need is fresh water, your chosen sprout, a little bit of free space in a warm (not hot) place and a few large glass jars. You will need to soak your sprout, generally overnight. You will then drain the sprouts in a colander and put them in the glass jar. You will need to cover the jar in a way that air can still enter. Wire mesh, cheese-cloth or a tea towel will do. You must make sure to keep the sprouts moist whilst assuring they are not surrounded by excess water. This is done by rinsing the sprouts in a colander, once or twice daily, and then returning them to their home in the jar. Once the sprouts are the size you enjoy, put them into the refrigerator.

What kind of sprouts should you start with?

These sprouts are practically fool proof so they are excellent to begin with:

Chickpeas /  Garbanzos

  • An excellent little creature, the chickpea (so called in my part of the world, garbanzos to those in the U.S.) virtually requires no work to sprout.
  • They are an excellent source of protein and to my palate they taste like monkey-nuts. You should soak them in two or three times as much water as chickpea, as they soak up a lot of water. They are edible as soon as you notice the tail protruding. I like to eat them when the tail is still short, before the taste gets too strong.

Quinoa [Keen-wah}

  • This Peruvian seed (commonly mistaken for a grain) is incredibly nutritious even in it’s cooked form. Quinoa strengthens the kidneys and has very high levels of iron.

  • Soak them for 4 to 6 hours. In two days you will have your own little batch of baby quinoa.
  • Quinoa does have a distinctive ‘sprouted’ taste, though quite mild.

Lentils

  • There are many different kinds of lentils; red, Chinese, green and brown.
  • They have a peppery taste. I like to combine them with other strong tasting foods, such as garlic and cayenne pepper. They are also excellent just with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Sprout them as you would garbanzos.


Buckwheat

  • One of personal favorites; buckwheat. Buckwheat is an excellent source of rutin which is a bioflavonoid. Rutin strengthens the capillaries and the overall circulation of the body. Therefore, those with varicose veins should include buckwheat in their diet. It sprouts very easily. Soak for a mere 2 hours.
  • The dark side of buckwheat is the weird slime it creates when soaked. Putting the buckwheat into a colander and running water through it whilst mixing the buckwheat around with your hands will solve this problem. Once soaked the sprout is edible though if you leave it for a day longer it will be more nutritious.
  • For breakfast, I like to blend buckwheat with a small amount of water and a pinch of salt. I then add raisins and nuts or seeds and a spoonful of honey. Not dissimilar to porridge.
  • Another option is mashing the buckwheat roughly with a fork or potato masher and eating as you would rice, i.e. with a sauce, in sushi, just with olive oil, etc…

ALFALFAThe traditional sprout we have all grown to love. It has a sweet, clean, and refreshing taste with exceptional nutritional benefits. Great on sandwiches and in salads.

BROCCOLIThis Italian variety was especially grown for us. This high quality seed grows quickly and produces a sprout with a mildly spicy flavor and a fresh crisp texture.

RED CLOVER Subtle differences distinguish clover from alfalfa. Red Clover is not as sweet and grows in a lighter shade of green. Red Clover is known for helping to purify the blood and create balance and restoration.

Wheat

  • Wheat is also very easy to sprout. Soak overnight and then leave to sprout for approximately two days.
  • Many people who have trouble eating cooked wheat find that they can eat sprouted wheat without problems.
  • Sprouted wheat is very satisfying and filling.
  • Another favorite breakfast of mine is to blend up a cup or two of wheat berries with a half cup of water. Blending for 20 seconds or so leaves the wheat still quite intact. I then add raisins, dates and nuts and blend for a further 10 seconds. Into a bowl it goes with a chopped banana, and voila, you have a great version of granola.

Sprouts are inexpensive, easy and fun to grow. For just minutes a day, anyone, anytime, anywhere, can sprout, grains, legumes, and nuts and have high quality food all year long!

Sprouts are naturally high in quality protein, vitamins, minerals, trace elements. enzymes, anti-oxidants, few calories and no cholesterol.


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