"Fast food": Secrets of sprouting

"Fast food": Secrets of sprouting
Universal Magazines

Sprouting is easy, fun and a way to grow nutritious edibles almost anywhere in the house and in a very short time

Back in the hippie era of the 1970s, everyone suddenly discovered sprouting. It seemed like you couldn’t find a sandwich or a salad without a heavy garnish of alfalfa sprouts — whether you wanted them or not. Mung beans were the other mania.

These days, sprouting is a lot more versatile and made easy with simple equipment and commercially available packets of seeds that are specifically for home sprouting. It’s very easy to always have some on the go to add to salads and sandwiches or throw into your stirfries. If you don’t have a garden or even a balcony, you can still grow something nutritious to eat. As with your garden vegies, when you grow your own sprouts, not only are they as fresh as they can possibly be but you can be sure they are organic and have been grown using clean water. You can also be confident that if you look after them properly with regular rinsing, they won’t be contaminated with pathogens.

Why sprout?

Sprouting, like cooking, reduces the anti-nutrients in legumes, specifically lectins and phytic acid, which make dried legumes indigestible. This is why legumes are banned from the paleo diet: it’s claimed that humans did not start eating them until the advent of agriculture and, indeed, we are the only primates that do eat them — obviously because we cook them.
When dormant seeds are sprouted, they become a living food. Their proteins are split into smaller, digestible molecules, their vitamin content increases, their starch is converted to simple sugars and new healthy enzymes and phytochemicals are released. They also contain good levels of valuable minerals.

What to sprout

While mung beans and alfalfa are still very popular, there are many more options that are ideal for sprouting or growing into microgreens, including broccoli, kale, radish, mustard, sunflower, snow peas, adzuki beans, soy beans, chickpeas, lentils and fenugreek.

Some bean sprouts need a little cooking, either by light steaming or quick stirfrying, to get rid of any remaining toxins. Also, it’s not advisable to eat legume sprouts every day. And don’t ever consider seeds from the Solanaceae or nightshade family as they can be poisonous. Rhubarb is another one to avoid.

Sprouting methods

There are a few general rules. Don’t sprout in full sun or in very hot or cold conditions. As with sprouting in soil, container sprouting needs a suitable temperature range for the seeds to sprout. Don’t use seed that’s meant for sowing as it may be treated. Use only organic untreated seeds and always wash them in clean running water first, discarding any that float as they are probably not viable.

Grow in a jar

Grow in soil

Grow without soil

Grow in a colander


Sprouting methods adapted from
Good Organic Gardening Vol 5 No 1

Written by
Originally from Good Organic Gardening Volume 7 Issue 6

Publish at: , last modify at: 16/03/2017

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