Sprouts are the ultimate spring time food. They are packed with nutrients, easy to grow, and have a variety of tasty flavors. A sprouted seed is easier to assimilate than the seed itself. During the sprouting process, vitamins and enzyme content increases, starch is converted to simple sugars, protein is turned into amino acids and peptones, and fat is broken down into free fatty acids. The sprouting process predigests the nutrients making them easy to digest and assimilate in the body.
As discussed in Spring Cleansing Through Food and Cooking, sprouts are cooling and detoxifying. Because of these qualities they should be used in moderation. If you are a person who tends to be cold, raw sprouts should be avoided (or minimized) because they can be too cooling.
Making sprouts is easy and fun, especially with kids. Sprouts can be made from legumes, vegetables, herbs, oil seeds, or grains. Commonly, sprouts are eaten raw, however, legume sprouts need to be cooked prior to eating. Only use organic seeds or seeds that are not chemically treated.
- Use one part seed to at least three parts water. Soak in a wide-mouth jar.
- Cover the mouth of the jar with a plastic or stainless steel sprouting screen or cheesecloth, which is either tied on or secured with a rubber band.
- After soaking seeds, drain well and keep in a warm (65°F) dark place (they can be covered with a cloth or bag).
- Rinse twice daily (morning and evening). Keep jar tilted mouth down for better drainage.
- After three days place alfalfa, red clover, radish, and mustard sprouts in a cool place with indirect sunlight to enhance chlorophyll. Continue rinsing twice daily until sprouts are ready.
- During the sprouting process, the hulls on certain seeds slough off. It is important to remove the hulls because sometimes they will rot.
- To remove hulls, place sprouts in a large bowl of water and agitate them, brushing the hulls to the side. Gently reach in and remove the sprouts out of the water leaving the hulls behind. Drain well.
- Store sprouts in a plastic bag or covered glass jar for one week in the refrigerator.
Common and easy-to-sprout seeds: The following measurements will yield one quart of ready sprouts.
- Alfalfa or Red Clover: 2 tablespoons seeds; soak time: 6 hours; days to sprout: 5 to 6; harvest length: 1-2 inches
- Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Radish, Mustard: ¼ cup seeds; soak time: 6 hours; days to sprout: 5 to 6; harvest length: 1 inch
- Fenugreek: 1 tablespoon seeds; soak time: 6 hours; days to sprout: 4; harvest length: 1 inch
- Lentils: ½ cup seeds; soak time: 4 hours; days to sprout: 3; harvest length: 1 inch
- Mung Beans: ½ cup seeds; soak time: 8 hours; days to sprout: 3 to 5; harvest length: 1 inch
- Wheat or Rye: 1 cup seeds; soak time: 12 hours; days to sprout: 3; harvest length: ¼-1 inch, the shorter the length the sweeter the flavor
- Aduki, Chickpeas, Soy or other legumes: 1 cup seeds; soak time: 12 hours; days to sprout: 3 to 5; harvest length: 1 inch; Legume sprouts need to be cooked. Do not eat raw.
- Sunflower Seeds: 2 cups seeds; soak time: 12 hours; days to sprout: 2; harvest length: 1 inch