Sprouting 101

Sprouts - Day 1

Sprouts - Day 1

I can't think of a single food that symbolizes spring more than sprouts. Sprouts are a powerhouse of nutrition, energy and lifeforce all bound up in a little seed that just takes 5-7 days of attention and love to come to full life in your kitchen. Spring is a great time to introduce (or reintroduce) sprouts into your diet because they add such compact and incredible nutrition - and it is pretty darn hopeful to see something green coming to life on your kitchen counter. While some vegetables and fruits need full maturation to reach their optimum potency and vitamin/antioxident load, green leafy foods at their peak in the sprout form - which is why they are so impactful when it comes to nutrition-boosting benefits and cancer prevention.

What can you sprout? Anything that grows! You can sprout nuts, seeds, grains, legumes and beans

I'll be sprouting BROCCOLI this week - which is one of the most incredible sprouted foods that you can eat - excellent for your liver (spring is an especially good time of year to pay attention to liver health) and incredible for cancer prevention. [NOTE: If you love juicy studies and data, read this blog for more research on the cancer prevention studies done with broccoli sprouts and a synopsis written by one Dr Jacob Schor - a naturopathic doctor in Denver, CO.]

EQUIPMENT - NOTHING special required.

Here is what I use:

wide mouth canning jar - clean and sterilized in the dishwasher, or washed in very hot soapy water, rinsed and air-dried upside down

nylon window screen - cut into a 7" square and wash in hot soapy water + rinse well before using

rubber bands - the wide rubber bands from grocery store vegetables work really well. You can also use the metal ring from canning.

storage lids - you can get plastic storage lids that fit standard canning jars at any grocery store wherever they stock canning supplies.

sprouting seeds (any seeds should sprout, but it’s best to work with seeds grown and selected especially for sprouting.) Any co-op grocery will carry these. I get them in bulk at the Wedge -   in the bulk foods section.

Radish, alfalfa, broccoli, mustard seeds are my favorites to sprout. Sunflower seeds are great to sprout, too - but I think that the small seeds are easier to manage when you're beginning.

Step ONE: Soak Your Seeds

All seeds have different sprouting/germination times, but for these seeds they are all generally the same so I'm giving one common set of directions.

Alfafa, Broccoli, Clover, Radish, Mustard seeds

Soak for 6-8 hours or overnight.

After the initial soak, drain and rinse the seeds - right through the window screen, shaking hard (hold the rubber band) to get all excess water out. Keep jar tipped on it’s side in a small bowl with the window screen secure to catch the excess water that drains. Tip out the excess as soon as it puddles - you don't want your sprouts sitting in water.

Drain and rinse 2-4x/day

Sprouts - Day 2-3

Sprouts - Day 2-3

This is SO IMPORTANT for keeping healthy sprouts. Drain and rinse 2-4 times per day, for 4-6 days in a cool spot away from direct light and away from the stove. I like to make sure that sprouts are sticking to the jar walls and not all pooled at the bottom - it helps them sprout quicker and cleaner. Keep your sprouts right where you will see them - next to the kitchen sink is a good idea - so that you can do this and not forget. They don't need direct sunlight, but they shouldn't be in a cabinet, either.

Sprouts - Day 5

Sprouts - Day 5

Sprout in a sunny window on the last day to boost the chlorophyll.

Store and Eat

After the last rinse after the chlorophyll boost, drain well; remove the window screen and place a triple-folded piece of paper towel at the mouth of the jar. Cap with a storage lid and store in the fridge with the cap (and paper towel) on the bottom to catch the excess water.

Sprouts - Day 6

Sprouts - Day 6

Eat within 4 days. Wash your window screen in hot, soapy water; rinse well and air dry. Wash your sprouting jar very well or sterilize in the dishwasher.

Repeat!

Try new varieties, and once you get in the groove, start a second jar with overlapping start dates so that you have a steady supply.

If you love ordering online, go to www.sproutpeople.org and get sprouting seeds plus everything extra you need to know. I have used their sprouting container but I eventually donated it because the canning jar and window screen is more effective for me and takes up much less space in my kitchen.