What is sprouting?
Sprouting is the process in which seeds start to put out shoots, grow leaves and start becoming a plant. While the seed was hard and protected by its shell, the sprouting process makes it easier for us to consume it. Sprouts are easier to digest than the seed and are incredibly nutritious. And the best part about this is, that you can grow organic sprouts in the comfort of your own home. It takes very little effort and costs next to nothing if you choose the right equipment and the right seeds for the job. I have tried many different ways to sprout and all kinds of different seeds. Here is everything I have learned so far.
Why should you sprout?
Sprouts are incredibly nutritious, but they have a low caloric value. If you add them to your diet, you will improve your nutrition but you won’t increase your caloric intake. You can just add sprouts to whatever it is you are eating, and they will add a nice crunch, freshness and sometimes even a little heat to your meal. And the best part about this is, that you can grow them at home! Sprouting doesn’t take much space or time and is more affordable and ecological, than buying sprouts in the store. And above all, it is very practical. Who wouldn’t want to have a little garden in their own kitchen?
What is the easiest way to sprout?
The easiest way to sprout is using a jar with a special lid, that allows you to drain the excess water without losing the seeds and allows the air to flow through. Jars are so practical because they are easy to maintain and clean while taking very little space. Every morning and evening just add fresh water to the jar, spin a few times like a washing machine would and then drain the water. This will freshen up the seeds, clean them and give them the moisture they need to grow. Drain water as best as you can, to prevent spoilage or leaking. Just place the jar horizontally on the counter and that’s it. I love to spin the jar horizontally a few times before I place it on the counter, so the seeds distribute better and have more air and space to grow.
Which seeds are the easiest to sprout?
The easiest seeds to sprout are those, which you can sprout in a jar. Some seeds become very slimy and even require soil or a base to sprout in. Avoid seeds like that. The easiest way to identify seeds that are easy to sprout is, if the instruction on the package starts with “soak for a few hours or overnight“, and doesn’t mention any special base for the seeds. Just to make it a bit more easy for you, here is the list of my favorite seeds to sprout: alfa-alfa, broccoli, daikon radish, and mung beans. They all require soaking overnight and are good to go in about 4 days. Easy peasy. Some sorts of sprouts can get quite spicy, keep that in mind if you don’t like it hot. Daikon radish sprouts can get very spicy, but that is usually mentioned on the package.
Sprouting without any special equipment
Unfortunately, you will probably not be able to find a sprouting lid in your local store and will have to order it online. The good news is, you can make your own sprouting lid. To make a sprouting lid you need a fabric that will let the water out, the air in, but hold the seeds in. For that purpose, you can use a piece of gaze or a piece of clean insect mesh. Use a rubber band to keep it in place. An even better solution is to use a fine-mesh strainer. Just hold the strainer so it covers the jar when you drain water. Place it so it reaches into the jar, turn the jar upside down so the water can drain, then turn it back and tap the jar on the counter so the seeds stuck to the mesh will fall back into the jar.
Rinse, drain, and repeat
First, put some seeds and water into the jar, spin the jar (circle your wrist), and drain. This way you will rinse the seeds. How many seeds to use? Usually, the package tells you, how much the volume of the seed will multiply during sprouting. So keep that in mind. Too little is better than too much because sprouts need space to grow. Then add some water and soak overnight or according to instructions. Drain the water in the morning and rinse. Repeat the rinsing every morning and evening. Be sure to drain the water well every time. Put it on your kitchen counter and keep it out of direct sunlight. After 4-6 days, you will have a jar full of sprouts. Then it’s time to eat! Make sure they are dry and store them in the fridge.
Broccoli sprouts are “the best bang for your buck”
Broccoli sprouts are considered as the Biggest Nutrition Bang for your Buck by doctor Michael Greger. That means they will provide you with the most nutrition for the least amount of money. So if you are looking for the most nutritious and affordable sprouts, you should probably go for broccoli sprouts. They can also be sprouted in a jar with the same process as described above. But you should keep in mind that broccoli sprouts are a little bit more delicate. They can easily go bad if you don’t drain the water very well. You will know if they went bad when they start to smell very bad. So make sure you drain them very well every time, distribute them by spinning the jar and place the jar horizontally or even at an angle. You want to make sure any excess water can drain out. You can do that by placing your jar on a sprouting jar stand or in a bowl – just make sure you don’t obstruct the airflow.
My sprouts have hair that looks like mold!
Some sprouts grow little hair that looks like mold. Don’t panic. Usually, that is not the case. Just check the web if this is how that sort of sprout is supposed to look like.
How can I use the sprouts?
Sprouts can look very lovely and are great for decoration, especially for those that like pretty food. You can just put them over your food, inside a sandwich or into a wrap or a salad… You can also cook with them, put them in a soup or a pad thai. Just make sure, you add them to your dish at the end, so they stay fresh. I usually just put them on my plate, next to whatever it is I’m eating, and snack on them in between.
What do you sprout and how do you use your sprouts? Leave a comment or a question below!
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