By Claire Knapp

Once upon a time some benevolent Greek gods offered to mere mortals all the sweetness of nectar combined with all the nourishment of ambrosia in a single source. Coming from a whole seed, it was half-fruit; becoming an entire plant, it was half-vegetable. One cautious god among them doubted whether humankind would appreciate the best of both worlds, and whether it even deserved it. The East immediately adapted  this nearly perfect food into its diet. The West, however, procrastinated several centuries with experiments before its malnourished scientific community was convinced. That time is now. The food is sprouts.

(Source: The Sprout Garden by Mark Braunstein).

Reasons to sprout:

  • Highly nutritious
  • Low cost
  • Can be enjoyed by all the family
  • Low labour
  • Fun for kids to do
  • Fresh and organic
  • The only equipment is a jar!

Reasons not to sprout: 

Errr there aren’t any, unless you really don’t like the taste! But then you can add a nice dressing! Lol

Nutrition

Sprouts increase in nutritional content as they grow, especially in vitamins A, B-complex, C, E and K. Sometimes the increases prove truly remarkable. The vitamin C in sprouted peas increases eightfold in 4 days (compared to dry peas). The vitamin B-complex in sprouted wheat increases sixfold and vitamin E threshold in four days of sprouting. Nutritional value does not stop there. Many different minerals abound in sprouts for your body’s immediate use. If eaten raw, sprouts provide a storehouse of enzymes. Simply from soaking, the enzyme factory comes alive.

(Source: The Sprout Garden by Mark Braunstein).

Give it a go!

  1. Grab an old jar (medium size ideal).
  2. Use a nail and hammer to put some holes in the lid. After several times of use the lid will start to get rusty so you might want to use another jar at that stage. Once you have decided this is for you then sprouting jars are easy to get hold of.
  1. You will need to keep the jar in a dark place while they sprout, I use a black bag but a cupboard that isn’t opened often will do the job.
  2. What have you got in your cupboard right now that you can sprout? 

Sunflower and pumpkin (shelled)

Soak: sunflower 2-8 hours pumpkin 4-12 hours

Rinse: 2-3 times a day

Days to germinate: sunflower 2-4, pumpkin 1-2 days

Length of sprout to be ready: sunflower 1inch, pumpkin eighth of an inch.

Sesame

Soak: 2-8 hours

Rinse: 3-4 times a day

Days to germinate: 1-2 days

Length of sprout to be ready: sixteenth of an inch.

Mung

Soak: 5-12 hours

Rinse: 3-5 times a day

Days to germinate: 3-5 days

Length of sprout to be ready: 1-3 inches.

Lentils

Soak: 5-12 hours

Rinse: 2-3 times a day

Days to germinate: 2-4

Length of sprout to be ready: quarter to 1inch.

  • Mung beans are my favourite at the moment. Mung beans are a brilliant start. Put a dessert spoon full in the jar and cover with enough water to soak. Overnight is ideal.
  • Once soaked tip out water through the holes and wash through a few times. Let all the water drain out at the end.
  • Put the jar in a dark place, cupboard (rarely used), dark or black bag (so no light comes through but still allows air so cotton is ideal).
  • Rinse the beans a few times a day, so run fresh water through and let drain out and then put them back in the dark. Don’t worry if you forget and it only happens once – they will be fine. They will take 3-5 days to be ready.
  • Once they have sprouted add them to stir frys, salads, soups or just eat as a snack.

If this taster tickles your taste buds I highly recommend The Sprout Garden by Mark Braunstein. It is full of brilliant clear, easy to follow information and tips and some great recipes too.

Happy Sprouting!