Sprouts are one of those foods which are proudly placed on health conscious menus as a trophy garnish to an already nutrient packed meal. I never really thought about how they came about, until I researched how to make them. Much to my utter surprise it is ridiculously easy but also immensely exciting to essentially grow your own food in a matter of days. Generally in health food stores, sprouts are sold for extortionate prices and packaged in a plastic tray- both completely avoidable and with minimal effort.
Essentially the “recipe” (if you can even call it that) is to get your seeds/ beans, soak them overnight in water (or during the day), drain them off and rinse/ drain morning and evening for a few days until you see the sprouts have formed. I bought this special sprouting jar as I saw it in a health food shop when I started my interest in sprouting, but I would say this was a completely unnecessary purchase when it is so easily done with an old jar, some cheesecloth and a rubber band/ string.
So what kind of things can you sprout? Here’s a lit of the ones I know of, but I am sure there are so many more.
- Alfafa seeds
- Mung beans (which fully grown as a sprout are- beansprouts!)
- White radish seeds
- Red clover seeds
- Broccoli seeds
- Radish seeds
Why are sprouts so great? They improve the protein content of the bean/ seed you are sprouting, whilst also increasing the fibre, vitamin, essential fatty acid levels. They are highly alkaline, which helps counteract acidity in our bodies (linked to diseases such as cancer). And, because you have grown it from seed, you know there are no pesticides involved in the process (and organic seeds/ beans are even better!).
However, a few words of warning.
1. Make sure the seeds are always fully drained, never sitting in water (I learnt this the hard way with a jar of mouldy sprouts *weep*).
2. I have read that it is best to cook sprouts before eating, however I do enjoy them raw and don’t see any side effects. Please do reach your own conclusion about what would be best for you, as I am not a nutritionist!
3. They should be eaten fairly quickly, so store in a sealed container and keep in the fridge.
The act of growing my own little jar of food so incredibly easily is currently one of the joys of my days. A truly low waste, nutritious and healthy swap! I enjoy these on top of literally anything you can think of as a garnish.