Thursday 16 June 2011
Beyond Vitality presented at the Trinidad and Tobago World Peace Festival at the beginning of June. It was a wonderful event! As exhibitors, we showcased raw superfoods, whole food bars, raw cereal and sprouts. I was astonished at the number of people who wanted to learn how to sprout from their own kitchen, and especially with the kids who were interested. I caught this one little girl taking a few sprouting seeds from my table thinking that she wanted to eat them, but to my surprise, she was eager to learn how to begin sprouting herself! She inspired me to write this blog on the basics of sprouting in your own kitchen.
Big Question: Are you super energized, feeling great and healthier than ever?
To keep yourself healthy and vital you need to consume nutrient dense foods containing vitamins, minerals and a few other great components.
Common Answer: Not really...
Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are an awesome source of nutrients. But it can sometimes be difficult to fit these into EVERY meal or snack on EACH AND EVERY day of the week during the ENTIRE year.
Want to give your diet an instant boost of nutrients? Want to know what’s even more amazing than fruits and vegetables? Ok.
Dun duh duh daaaah…mighty SPROUTS to the rescue!!! Yes, sprouts; these tiny, flimsy little living things that start off from a seed. Don’t let their size fool you. The mighty sprout’s nutrient content is not to be underestimated.
What are sprouts exactly?
- very young “baby” plants; one stage up from seeds
- germinating seeds; powerhouses of energy containing all the nutrients needed for a plant to grow
When a seed starts to sprout the nutrients it already contains become available in a living and active form, the best for YOU to reap the benefits from!
What’s so special about sprouts?
- Pound for pound, raw sprouts contain more nutrition than any whole food known to exist. They could rival even the best natural supplements on the market.
- Sprouts are actually still in the process of growing. They are alive and at the peak of their life force!
- Sprouts are practically “pre-digested” food. Before a seed has been sprouted it contains enzyme inhibitors; these enzyme inhibitors prevent the seed from growing. When eaten raw, the unsprouted seeds are harder to digest as the enzyme inhibitors hinder our own enzymes from digesting the seed. Sprouting de-activates the enzyme inhibitors present in the seed and makes it easier for our body to digest.
- The powerful nutrients in sprouts are readily available, digested and absorbed by our body. This saves your body energy.
- Sprouts also have a regenerating effect on the human body. Why? They’re loaded with good stuff! Some of which consist of RNA, DNA, free amino acids, fatty acids, fibre, enzymes as well as essential minerals, trace elements and vitamins.
Total nutrient powerhouses fit for “superheros”!
How to Grow Sprouts: Make your kitchen into a mini organic garden!
- Measure out 2 tablespoons of seeds (quantity varies with seed type).
- Rinse throroughly.
- Place in glass jar (cover top of jar with cheese cloth or breathable mesh; there are specifically designed sprouters you can purchase).
- Fill jar with purified water.
- Soak for 6-12 hours or overnight (varies with seed type).
- Drain and rinse thoroughly.
- Place jar of seeds in a well lit area avoiding direct sunlight (preferably tilted into a bowl or dish rack for any remaining water to drip out).
- Rinse 2-3 times daily (varies with seed type).
- Sprouts are normally ready after 4-6 days.
- When ready, rinse sprouts and lay out on a paper towel until dry (wet sprouts spoil).
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge (will stay fresh for up to ﬁve days).
Baby-sit your sprouts!
- After a couple of days you will see little shoots forming; the start of germination.
- You may see little white fibres on the sprouts. This is perfectly normal but can often be mistaken for mould at a glance. Mould will have a musty smell and looks like grey fur!
- If you do have mould forming, throw away the sprouts immediately and wash the jars thoroughly with a mixture of vinegar and water.
Don’t be put off by any trouble shooting. Give it another go! It couldn't be easier! In the corner of your kitchen, you’ll have a bunch of tasty nutritious sprouts in no time!
How to enjoy your darling little sprouts!
You can consume your sprouts in a variety of ways. They are best consumed raw as heating may destroy their precious nutrients.
- Place in a bowl and top with your favorite dressing of choice. Makes an ideal side dish.
- Sprinkle on top of or mix into a salad.
- Blend into a smoothie or shake.
- Add to sandwich ﬁllings.
- Add to a stir fry just before serving.
- Sprinkle on top of soups or heated dishes just before serving.
- Dehydrate to add to raw cereals, trail mix or granola.
What can you sprout?
You can sprout (or soak) ALMOST any seed, nut, grain, bean or legume. For best results, use organic, non-genetically modified and non-irradiated seeds.
Grains and Similar Seeds…
Amaranth, Barley (use only unhulled barley; "whole" hulled barley and pearled barley won't sprout), Buckwheat (soak 15-20 minutes only; use hulled, raw buckwheat groats; toasted won't sprout), Field corn, Popcorn, Millet (use hulled millet), Oats (use unhulled oats; so-called "whole oats" or oat groats won't sprout), Quinoa (rinse seeds multiple times to remove soapy tasting saponin), Rice (only brown, unprocessed rice will sprout), Wheat/Rye, Triticale, Wheat (including Kamut and Spelt).
Other Seeds, Nuts, Etc…
Almonds (sprout + storage time not to exceed 2 days or will turn rancid), Cabbage/ Kale (can also be grown into greens), Fenugreek, Mucilaginous seeds (flax, psyllium, chia; requires special clay saucer, not worth the trouble for most people), Wheatgrass (normally grown as green), Mustard (black, brown, yellow; can grow as greens), Pumpkin Seeds (best to simply soak), Radish (very hot flavor), Sesame (unhulled sesame seeds for sprouting; hulled seeds can be soaked to improve flavor and digestibility), Sunflower (hulled sunflower; unhulled are for sunflower greens only).
Beans and Legumes…
Alfalfa, Clover (commonly grown as greens), Chickpeas/Channa/Garbanzo beans (sprout easily but spoil easily; bacteria or mold), Lentils (brown/green and red), Mung beans (urid/urad, adzuki beans, moth beans), Peanuts (unblanched;watch for mould), Peas (black-eyed, yellow, green, etc)
Note: When purchasing chickpeas, red lentils, peas etc, be sure to obtain the whole seeds, and not the split (split won’t sprout).
What NOT to sprout and/or consume raw!
Anasazi, Black, Fava, Kidney, Lima, Navy, Pinto, Soy, etc. Except for soy, these are irrelevant to the sprouter; raw flavor is truly horrible. Also, serious toxicity/allergy/digestibility issues with these raw beans. Except for soy (edible raw if grown long enough), these beans must be cooked to be digestible, hence are not of interest to the “raw-foodist”.