By Louise Jensen
Sprouting is something I often recommend. A sprout is the transitional stage between seed and plant. For very little expenditure and effort sprouted pluses, nuts and grains are nutritious, fresh, tasty and, I believe, one of the most underestimated foods available to us today.
With virtually zero effort, no preparation or cooking they are the ideal food for a busy lifestyle. Grown in your own home they are a clean safe food eaten raw, ensuring nothing is destroyed or altered in the cooking process.
Grains are the staple diet of much of the world’s population, generally ground, baked or boiled making it difficult to extract the nutrients as these processes damage the food.
Our digestive systems are not equipped to digest raw grains and pulses, of which many contain enzyme inhibitors that interfere with our digestion. Enzyme inhibitors are there to prevent seeds sprouting prematurely and can cause us headaches, stomach pains and gas, but are destroyed during the cooking process.
To sprout a seed and then consume it is a totally natural form of eating, great for your overall health. Try it and watch your energy levels shoot up and your hair, skin and nails improve.
What to sprout – There are so many to choose from! My personal favourites are; Alfalfa (contains alkaline protein, vitamins B & E, unsaturated fatty acids and calcium). Mung (amino acids, iron, potassium and vitamin C). Aduki (Vitamin C, iron and amino acids). Sunflower (vitamin B, E, amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and potassium). Have a look around your local health food store – there are plenty on offer.
Equipment - You can buy sprouting jars, alternatively any large glass jars with a neck large enough to fit your hand inside is sufficient if you cover the top with muslin or nylon mesh and secure with a rubber band or string. Sprouting jars will come with a stand which allows them to drain at 45O, if you using a regular jar be sure to have some place to prop them against.
Method – Place the required amount of seed in the jar and half fill with water. Cover the jar with cloth or screw on lid if using a sprouting jar. Leave to soak for the required length of time (each seed is different and instructions should be on bag). Drain the water off and wash thoroughly. Drain at 45o for 2 minutes.
Place the somewhere not too warm or bright (they will dry out too much) to grow. Sprouts do well in the temperature and humidity which suits us best.
Rinse and drain sprouts once a day for the next two to five days until they are sprouting and ready to eat.
How to eat – Can be added to salads, as a garnish, sandwiches, finger snacks, soups, casseroles, on crackers, stir fry, juices.
Experiment and have some fun with it. Happy sprouting.