Some raw foodists consider sprouts to be the healthiest of the healthiest foods available. Organic sprouting is that much more healthy because there are no harmful chemicals used in the process.
The process of sprouting essentially involves soaking, draining and then rinsing beans and seeds at regular intervals until they germinate, or sprout. It is suggested that a plant is at its strongest nutritionally during the sprouting stage. Because of all of the “energy” required for the sprout to break from the seed this makes sense. And, sprouts are a true “living food” as they are generally alive and still growing when consumed.
Necessary for the germination process, sprouts are rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals. Some sprouts are suggested to even be complete proteins as they contain all of the essentials amino acids. Also, vitamins and minerals are suggested to increase from 13-600% during sprouting.
Sprouts add enzymes which are said to heal the body as a whole and of course aid in digestion. Some sprouts can be put in indirect sunlight during the final stages. This will introduce tiny green leaves, and therefore cancer-fighting chlorophyll to the sprouts. Indirect sunlight may also promote increased Vitamin A and protein levels into the sprout.
When you grow sprouts you are also growing a wonderful source of fiber which can contribute to colon health.
Basics Of Growing Sprouts
To start growing sprouts you must first soak the seeds or beans. Use room temperature purified water for the soaking and rinsing. Soaking will end it’s dormancy and begin new life, life that we can consume in the form of living food and living energy! Once the seed has soaked up sufficient amounts of water it is alive and therefore a nutritional powerhouse in it’s own respect. At this stage enzymes are active and in some cases the food has turned from acidic to alkaline.
Given the right amount of moisture a seed will begin germination. Rinsing seeds at regular intervals will keep their thirst quenched. Between rinsing and draining is when they grow. Constant draining is a good idea since you do not want the seeds or sprouts to sit in water and allow mould to grow.
Although some say the timing, amount of water for soaking, number of rinse/drain cycles for different seeds and plants vary, here is a standard approach we take when sprouting. We often sprout organic buckwheat, sunflower seeds, adzuki and mung beans, broccoli seeds, radish and other tiny seeds.
Learn To Grow Sprouts
First we prepare a large sterilized jar with a screen lid. We mix in equal amounts of water and seeds, not too much, just enough seeds to cover 1 or 2 layers at the bottom. They will fill the jar quickly during the sprouting stage. We then let the jar stand for about 24 hours inside of a clean dry cupboard to avoid too much light. We then thoroughly drain the water from the jar keeping in mind not to bang or shake the seeds around too much.
An additional quick rinse at this stage doesn’t hurt. Then, we put the jar upside down at a 45 degree angle resting inside of a bowl. We do this to allow constant draining of the seeds. Then we cover the jar with a towel keeping out direct light. Then, a couple times each day we will rinse, then drain the seeds. At this time we will be sure to get a clean bowl and even a clean towel if the one being used becomes wet.
When the sprouts get to a size we are happy with we give them one final rinse, put them into a bowl with a paper towel on the top and the bottom and store them in the fridge. We may just remove the towel at this point and set them in indirect sunlight if we want some chlorophyll action, or for growing wheatgrass, or for greens to use in our green smoothies. If so, we might do that for an extra day or two being sure to rinse/drain as normal.
We try to consume the sprouts (or greens) within the first day of putting them in the fridge but even a few days has been OK for us. Continual rinse/drain cycles are done even while they are in the fridge. Also, being sure to have a clean bowl and new paper towels is important.
Image source: flic.kr
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