Sprouting 101: A Guide for Impatient Growers
by Jordan Zeman, Ever'man Demo Coordinator and Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach
If gardening sounds intimidating or you don’t have the space, that doesn’t mean that growing and harvesting is out of reach for you. What if I told you that nutrient dense, fresh food could be grown in your kitchen without dirt, sunlight, or several weeks of waiting? Seed sprouting allows your kitchen to come alive with little effort or patience—no green thumb required!
Sprouting is the natural process of germination and subsequently putting out shoots by seeds, legumes, and grains. Sprouts can grow all year around as they do not require dirt, fertilizer, sunshine, or very much attention at all. Sprouts are also incredibly economical as one tablespoon of alfalfa seeds produces an entire quart of sprouted veggies!
The hard outer covering of seeds acts as a shield against the outside environment until conditions are right for growth, meaning the presence of water. Once in water, the focus shifts from protection to growth and this is when the nutrients become most available to us.
Seeds are little nutrition bombs packed with proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals but they don’t give up those nutrients readily. When the seed feels safe in an environment with water and comfortable temperatures, enzymes within the seed rise up to launch and accelerate growth processes. These enzymes make the nutrients within the seed more accessible and there are many nutrients to be had!
· Broccoli sprouts are high in sulforaphane, a potent cancer-fighting and antibacterial compound found in cruciferous vegetables and sprouts.
· Alfalfa sprouts are a good source of Vitamins C and K and B-Vitamins. They are also a source of saponins, which are said to help balance cholesterol and support the immune system
· Clover sprouts are a good source of isoflavones.
· Sunflower sprouts are high in protein, phytosterols, essential fatty acids and fiber.
· Lentil sprouts are an excellent source of protein and a delicious way to consume lentils.
Sprouts are actually more nutrient dense than their full grown counterpart but they only take 3-5 days to produce, pretty neat right? I bet you’re ready to get started. A sprouting kit including lids with fine, medium, and coarse sized holes is helpful. We sell kits and organic sprouting seeds, beans, grains, and mixes at Ever’man! However, you might have the supplies needed to get started right at home.
The supplies you’ll need:
· 32 oz wide mouth mason jar
· Perforated lids or covering such as cheesecloth with rubber band
(FYI--You can find all of these supplies at both Ever'man locations!)
Steps to delicious and nutritious sprouts:
Measure the amount of seeds suggested for the type you’ve chosen and add to a 32 oz wide mouth jar. Add water in a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part seeds.
Cover the jar with a perforated lid or material such as cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.
For most seeds, soak for 12-24 hours in dark place at room temperature.
Rinse the seeds thoroughly until the water being poured off is clear.
Prop jar at an angle with the screen top facing down to insure proper ventilation and drainage during sprouting. Seeds sprout best in a place away from direct light.
Rinse the seeds twice a day for 3-5 days.
When the seeds are fully sprouted, you can place the jar near a window for 1-2 days so the sprouts will develop chlorophyll and turn green.
Store sprouts in the refrigerator with an airtight lid for up to 2 weeks.
Below is a table of some of the most commonly sprouted seeds and some of my personal favorites.
Give this a go and you’ll be harvesting sprouts in 5 days or less! Enjoy the process and send us a message on social media if you have questions.