Today we’re talking about how to grow sprouts. Have you heard of sprouting before? Are you interested in doing it yourself? Sprouts are an amazing superfood to incorporate into your diet. Sprouts contain lots of nutrients and minerals that your body needs, including:
- Sprouts contain protein and dietary fiber, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin A, and riboflavin
- Sprouts contain a multitude of minerals, including manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium
- Sprouts have a large amount of enzymes which are essential for health
Why sprout instead of eating seeds directly?
Many of these nutrients increase dramatically as the sprout continues to develop. By sprouting seeds, you are activating the nutrients within the plant. Each little seed is trying to give life to a new plant, but in its seed form, the nutrients are inert and inactive. When you sprout the seeds, the enzymes and nutrients develop quickly and are incorporated into your body much easier than if you had just eaten the seed without sprouting it.
Why not buy sprouts at a store?
Sprouts are very beneficial when eaten raw. However, sprouts have been associated with outbreaks of bacterial foodborne illnesses like E. coli and other potentially serious infections. These outbreaks typically come from store bought sprouts. Sprouts need water to thrive, and storing them for a few days or weeks in moist conditions can lead to problematic mold and bacterial growth. While your chances of mold or bacterial contamination are never zero, they are dramatically decreased by growing the sprouts yourself and consuming them quickly. If you do purchase sprouts at a grocery store, take care to wash them once you bring them home and store with a cloth to absorb excess liquid.
How do I grow my own sprouts?
Are you interested in growing your own sprouts? You need two things:
So, you’ve gathered what you need. The rest is pretty simple, and requires a very minimal time commitment each day! You should have fresh, delicious sprouts ready to eat within 5 days.
Step 1) Soak your seeds.
For smaller seeds (alfalfa, clover, etc) soak for 4-8 hours. For larger seeds (lentils, chickpeas, oats, etc) soak for 8-12 hours. For the sprouter I have linked, I soak 1 tablespoon of seeds per tray I am using. Usually this is all four trays, so I soak 4 tablespoons of seeds.
Step 2) Place seeds in sprouter trays.
Evenly distribute the soaked seeds between your sprouter trays. It does not need to be perfect, but should look fairly even.
Step 3) Water twice a day with two cups of filtered water. Rotate trays with each watering.
Each tray within the sprouter is surrounded with pinhole sized holes which allow the water to slowly drip through the trays and into the collection tray at the bottom. The collection tray can only hold two cups, so it is important not to put too much water in or you will have a mess! I usually water mine each morning before work and again once I get home from work.
Before each watering, place the bottom tray on the top. Over time, this rotates all of the trays and allows for even water distribution and access for the seeds.
Step 4) Enjoy your freshly sprouted sprouts!
You can eat them as soon as they have grown as much as you’d like. As you can see below, once they are as tall as the trays it really is time to eat them.
I like to eat mine directly on sandwiches, throw them in at the end of stir fries, and am now freezing them to use in smoothies. They have a very mild flavor and are delicious on nearly everything! You can also store them for a few days on a plate in the fridge if you don’t want to use them right away.
Do you have any questions? Are you going to try sprouting on your own? Let me know what you think if you do!