Growing sprouts a snap in kitchen

Kitchen counter bean sprouts grown in a commercially available jar.

Kitchen counter bean sprouts grown in a commercially available jar. Wikimedia commons photo by user tlcoles

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In our last column we discussed the many health benefits of vegetable sprouts. Today let’s learn how simple it is to make them in your kitchen during any season of the year.

As I mentioned, all sprouts will give you more basic nutrients than the seeds themselves contain.

Some nutrients like vitamins B and C will be multiplied by as much as 500 percent from what is found in the seeds. Also sprouts will give you as much as 28 percent protein.

No question, sprouts are a super food.

Broccoli sprouts, like the other cruciferous vegetables, contain sulforaphane and other cancer fighting compounds, as much as 300 percent more than the fully mature vegetables themselves. Sprouts also contain most if not all of the basic nutrients, and they are delicious!

So, let’s learn how simple it is to sprout seeds.

Depending on the size of your family, you should choose the right container size, but for this column let’s assume a family of two to four people. We’ll start with a clear quart-sized ball canning jar.

You will need some screening, cheesecloth or nylon tooling to affix to the top of the jar to keep the seeds inside while they are sprouting. Inexpensive sprouting lids are also available from Amazon.com with different size holes to allow for different size seeds.

Let’s start with alfalfa, a good one for beginners because of their superior flavor and wide availability of seeds at most health food stores.

Put only a few tablespoons of alfalfa seeds into the jar, then cover the jar with screening affixed with a rubber band or the sprouting cap.

Now add water to twice the depth of the amount necessary to cover the seeds.

Allow the seeds to soak at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, then set the jar on your sink at an angle so that the excess water will continue to drain out. Water will still surround each seed. This is called hygroscopic water. That is all they need until the next watering.

Twice a day, refill the jar to cover the seeds/sprouts and immediately pour out the water leaving the jar tilted to drain the excess.

Within several days (or according to your liking) your jar should be filled with the sprouts. It’s that simple.

Let me add further that when the sprouts are almost fully sprouted, putting them in the daylight or sunlight will produce healthy green chlorophyll, an added bonus.

Keep the uneaten sprouts in the refrigerator to slow growth.

Different seeds offer different flavors, so experiment and try seeds you might prefer more than others.

A word to the wise, however. Many agricultural seeds are now coated with chemicals to prevent rotting after planting. Be sure that you use only uncoated seeds because coated seeds can carry dangerous toxins. Untreated seeds can be obtained from most health food stores or online. A good place to start is handypantry.com

As an added thought, with all the talk nowadays about having a stash of emergency survival foods on hand for unseen emergencies, there would be none more ideal than seeds for sprouting.

They take up very little room, and if kept dry and cool can last for many years and still be viable.

Remember, grain stored in the Egyptian pyramids was still sproutable after thousands of years!

Good luck and good sprouting!

Retired chiropractic doctor Francis Trapani’s background includes 41 years of practice, including in Walla Walla. He has written three books and is working on a yoga self-help manual. “The Doctor Prescribes Yoga.” For more information, go to drftrapani.com.

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