What would you think if you read the following ad?
A vegetable that will grow in any climate, will rival meat in nutritive value, will mature in 3 to 5 days, may be planted any day of the year, will require neither soil nor sunshine, will rival tomatoes in Vitamin C, will be free of waste in preparation and can be cooked with little fuel and as quickly as a ... chop.
The above announcement was the lead-in to an article written during World War II by Dr. Clive McKay, who was Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University in the United States. He was talking about sprouts. He and his researchers found that sprouts keep the B-complex vitamins present in the original seed.
More surprisingly, they also found that there was a big jump in vitamin A and an incredible amount of vitamin C in the sprouted seeds above and beyond the amounts present in the unsprouted seeds. The sprouting process converts starches to simple sugars, which make sprouts easy to digest.
Back in the 1700's, scurvy (lack of Vitamin C) caused heavy casualties among sailors on long voyages. Captain James Cook had his sailors eat limes, lemons and a variety of sprouts because of their high levels of Vitamin C. This diet proved to be the solution to the problem of scurvy on long voyages and was a nutritional breakthrough at the time.
It's that time of the year when the weather is taking a change for the worse - it's pouring with rain outside today. If you don't fancy finding your gumboots and tramping around outside in the cold rain to pick wet salad greens from the garden (or making a trip to the supermarket for something fresh and healthy), how about growing your own Sprouts at home. Sprouting seeds is as easy as can be and you don't have to set a foot outside in the cold to do it!
If you are keen to try sprouting, check out our tips for sprouting seeds. We also thought we would give you some step by step instructions here too:
To make your own delicious fresh Sprouts:
An Agee jar makes a perfect sprouting container and fits our sprouting lids.
We like the sprouting lid because it makes the job very simple, but of course you could also make your own drainer by using a piece of (clean) curtain netting or pantyhose held securely on the top of the jar with a rubber band.
Measure 2-3 tablespoons of seed into the jar.
Half fill the jar with water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. If you are soaking larger seeds (eg Peas, or our Stir Fry Combo), then they can be soaked for longer (up to 4 hours). There is no need to soak them overnight.
When the soaking time is up, screw on your sprouting lid, invert the jar and drain the water off thoroughly.
Keep the jar in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Just leaving it on the kitchen bench is fine. If you have a very warm kitchen you could pop them out in the laundry.
Rinse twice a day and drain well. They need some moisture but shouldn't be sitting in a puddle.
After 3-5 days when the sprouts are nearly ready to eat, place the jar in the light (but not direct sunlight) for a day. The leaves will green up due to the formation of chlorophyll which adds to the nutritional value of the sprouts.
When your sprouts are ready, empty them onto a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Lifting and gently shaking them to separate the sprouts a little will also allow any husks or unsprouted seed to be left behind on the paper towels. You may also need to pat them dry a little more with a paper towel - they will last better if you remove most of the moisture before storing them. Keep them on a fresh layer of paper towels in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep quite happily for 7-10 days and even longer.
Most people are familiar with mung beans for sprouting (which are pictured above), but it is certainly worthwhile having a go at sprouting a variety of different seeds and finding your favourites.
Green Broccoli is a very popular seed for sprouting because it has been found to contain an effective anticancer agent (sulforaphane).
Green Broccoli can be sprouted on its own or you can try our High Health Combo which has a mixture of green broccoli, red cabbage and black mustard and will give you the health properties of green broccoli along with the different flavour combinations of the other brassicas.
We have had a couple of sprouting demos here at Kings Seeds and something that has become hugely popular with those in the know is one of the seeds in our microgreens range ..... Radish Rambo.
Radish Rambo is the most gorgeous purple colour and with its spicy radish flavour it is always very popular with customers. It is a very pretty addition to salads and one of my favourites....definitely worth a try if you haven't already tried it!
If you ask Jude which sprouting seed is her favourite, she will definitely recommend Stir Fry Combo, which is a mixture of beans. The sprouts make a great snack on their own or you can add them to stir fry meals.
They can be fully sprouted, or you can eat them as "half sprouts" when they have just begun to sprout - at this stage they are more crunchy and make a great snack. When I've sprouted these at home NONE of them have lasted long enough to make it into any stir frys - they have all been eaten straight from the fridge!
Alfalfa is another really popular seed for sprouting and is probably the sprout most readily available....it has a really delicious nutty flavour and is popular for adding to salads and sandwiches.
Last week I had a go at sprouting wheat - I mixed the wheat (as in Wheatgrass) with some sprouting peas and sprouted them as usual and they were really delicious.... I must admit I've never tried wheatgrass juice because I had heard that it isn't that nice but wheat sprouts actually taste sweet and they were delicious. The sprouted wheat grains can be added to bread dough for nutty flavours and extra nutrition....I was most impressed with my wheat sprouts. Next project - sneak them into the kids lunchboxes1
Sprouting is definitely worth a go.....it takes just a few minutes a day and it is fun to see the sprouts developing on the kitchen bench! The kids think that it's heaps of fun!!