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All About Growing Your Own Sprouts!

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Sprouts - the super easy, and fast way to enjoy something fresh and nutrient-dense anytime of the year! Sprouts are simply germinated seeds - most commonly alfalfa (which is most commonly found in stores), beet, radish, broccoli, kale, red clover and even legumes like peas and even lentils! You can enjoy sprouts in sandwiches, on salads, in smoothies, on top of stir frys and pasta dishes or even just as is! Growing up I'd enjoy getting alfalfa sprouts from the store and putting them in sandwiches but since growing them myself I've found them to be more dense and stronger in flavor than store bought.

This blog post we're taking a deep dive into why grow sprouts (including health benefits), how to grow sprouts and how to safely consume them. 

Why Grow Sprouts:

Sprouts are first of all grown in large jars (usually) plastic or glass with a fine mesh, cheesecloth or special lid on top. They are grown in "air" essentially meaning they don't require soil or another growing medium - unlike microgreens other vegetables and even herbs. This makes them less messy and easier to take care of. Lighting requirements for sprouts are very minimal which means they simply require lighting from a window to properly germinate this gives them an advantage since they can be then grown anytime of year anywhere with no artificial lighting set up or bright sunlight! Lastly sprouts are very fast to grow. Because you are just germinating the seeds to a small size, in as little as 4-5 days you can have nutritious sprouts that you can then enjoy fresh in meals!

Health Benefits of Sprouts:

Because you are harvesting and eating the first growth of these vegetables - they are packed with vitamins and nutrients in a higher concentration than their later adult form. High in Vitamins K, Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Vitamin A  as well as high amounts of minerals such as: zinc, calcium, manganese and copper. They are also high in insoluble fiber.   

Sprouts also have the highest concentration of phytonutrients per calorie of any food. Phytonutrients are a chemical compound produced by plants keeping them healthy and protecting from the elements (wind, sun) as well as protection against pests! So consuming phytonutrients for us mean they act as powerful antioxidants for our bodies! 

How to Grow Sprouts:

So let's get down to the nitty gritty - lets grow em! 

What You Need:

- Large Glass or Plastic Jar - I use a 1 Quart Jar 

- A Sprouting Lid that fits your jar, or the jar outer ring with a stainless steel mesh lid (what I use), or your jar outer ring with a small piece of fine mesh. You can also use cheesecloth - but haven't done this personally and not a fan of it because it's not as easy to use and as clean as metal mesh is when it comes to rinsing and letting the sprouts sit.

- Reputable Sprouting Seeds (I've used Mumms Sprouts and bulk sprouting seeds sold in the heath store) - it helps to buy and use seeds that are labeled as "sprouting seeds" for a couple of reasons. One those that sell sprouting seeds - will often make sure sprouting seeds have high germination rates which is extremely helpful since you're eating the sprouted seeds. Two when you purchased seed specifically for sprouting (providing they are from a good source) the seeds won't be treated with any chemicals - making them safe to consume. 

- Small Dish or Tray that fits your jar

This helps with keeping your sprouts drained of any access water between rinsing - very important to have this

Step 1:

 - Add 2 Tbsps of your Sprout seed of choice to your clean jar then attach lid. (photo 1)

- Simply rinse your sprouts a few times through with the lid attached by running it under tap water or filtered if you prefer - and letting the water drain out by tipping it over.

- Once you've done this fill up the jar 1/4 or more full with water letting the seeds soak (don't rinse out) seeds must soak in the water for a good 10 hours to initiate their growth (photo 2).

photo 1 

 

photo 2

Step 2:

- Once you've let the sprouts sit for a minimum of 10 hours (I usually just do it overnight so I don't have to time it) - pour out the water and rinse your seeds all the way through like the first time. 

When finished rinsing turn your jar around to let the seeds spread out around the jar (this will keep them aired out and help with successful germination) 

- Using your small bowl or dish set your jar upside down and place by a bright window (kitchen is great) -  (photo 3).

- Now simply rinse out exactly like this a good three times a day if you can until the sprouts are ready to be harvested!

 

Step 3:

- As you continue rinsing day by day sprouts will germinate!

- On day 5 for me the sprouts are ready to be harvested - may take a little longer depending on what sprouts you are growing - how you know they are ready to harvest is when the majority of them are green and when they clump together more than sticking to sides. (photo 7) Don't worry about the seeds that didn't germinate - this always happens. 

- Now you can give your sprouts a good last couple of rinses then harvest your sprouts! Delicious! (photo 8)

- Place freshly rinsed sprouts in a plastic or glass air tight container and consume in 5-6 days. 

photo 5

photo 6

photo 7

 

photo 8 

 

How to Safely Consume Sprouts:

Make sure you consume your sprouts within 5-6 days of harvesting. Store in an airtight container to ensure freshness.

There are lots of different studies and news out there about some dangers of growing sprouts so I want to address this and say in the few years I've grown sprouts combined with my mom growing them - doing these steps above - I have never occurred any problem. As like other things use common sense - if it smells bad throw it out, after being in the fridge if mold forms get rid of it! You can also rinse your sprouts every time before eating just to make sure they are clean. I usually do this if they have been in the fridge for a couple days and I haven't eaten them yet. Other than that I leave you with this - don't let fear stop you from growing your own sprouts! They are super fun and healthy to grow year-round and enjoy.  

Always Keep Growing,

Breanna Sproule

 

 


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