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Easy to Digest
The sprouting process pre-digests the nutrients in the seeds, making them easier to metabolize and assimilate into the body. Proteins are converted into free amino acids and peptones. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars. Enzymes are also activated to help with digestion.
High in Nutrients
Sprouts are nutritious, especially high in vitamin E, and known for their cleansing ability due to their high water content.
Rich in Cancer-Fighting Substances
Sprouts are rich in nitrilosides, substances that break down into chemicals that selectively destroy only cancer cells.
Rarely Cause Allergic Reactions
The sprouted form of wheat and other seeds rarely cause an allergic reaction the way that the whole forms do.
GROWING YOUR OWN
Almost any seed, grain or bean can be sprouted; just make sure the ones you choose are intended to be eaten. (Some planting seeds are treated with fungicides. Organically grown seeds are ideal.) Use whole seeds, with the hull still intact. Try seeds (alfalfa, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, clover, fenugreek, mustard, radish, or sunfl ower), grains (buckwheat, wheat berries, kamut berries, quinoa, or rye), and beans (aduki, garbanzo, green peas, lentil, mung, pinto, or soybeans). You may even want to try some sprouted together, as long as their sprouting times are about the same. If you don’t have a sprouting jar or basket, you can use any quart-sized glass jar to grow your own sprouts. Happy sprouting!
To sprout your own, follow these 4 easy steps:
- Rinse the seeds thoroughly and place them in a clean quart-sized glass jar. Fill the jar ¾ full with tepid water. Cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth and secure with a heavy rubber band. Soak, refrigerated, overnight.
- In the morning, drain the seeds well and rinse with fresh water. Drain well once again, and place the jar lying on its side in a dark area.
- Rinse and drain the seeds twice a day, returning the jar to the dark place after each rinsing. Although sprouting times vary, most will be ready in two to three days. To turn the sprouts green, place them in indirect sunlight on the last growing day.
- Drain the sprouts well and rinse every two to three days. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Smaller sprouts need not be washed before using. Any that seem wilted may be revived by soaking for 10 minutes in ice water. Pat them dry with paper towels before using. Rinse mung beans in a bowl of water, stirring them gently with your hand. Discard the seed casings which will float to the top.
Sprouts are excellent in stir-fries, salads and sandwiches. Try adding sprouts to slaws and grated salads, as well as green salads. Toss sprouts into soups just before serving or sprinkle over casseroles after baking. Small sprouts, such as alfalfa and radish, go well with dressings that contain ginger and sesame. Mung bean sprouts are especially tasty with a zesty soy sauce-based dressing. Try a simple stir-fry using mung bean sprouts, summer squash, green onions, soy sauce, and ginger.
Sprouted beans are best when cooked. Lightly steam, sauté, stir-fry or add to casseroles, veggie burgers or a nutloaf. Cooked sprouts also make good spreads, such as sprouted hummus or a pinto bean dip.
These beans form fi ne, grass-like
sprouts, with a sweet nutty taste and
texture. Add them to stir-fries or
eat them raw in sandwiches or with
Chinese-style marinated vegetables.
One of the most common varieties,
these sprouts resemble white
threads with tiny green tops and a
mild, nutty fl avor. They are a favorite
in salads and sandwiches. Note:
People with autoimmune diseases,
particularly rheumatoid arthritis
and lupus, have noted aggravations
when eating alfalfa sprouts.
Sprouted almonds have a crunchy
texture and are easy to digest. They
contain a significantly reduced fat
content, enhanced flavor and texture
and increased alkalinity. Sprouted
almonds are an excellent source of
protein, vitamins and minerals
This sprouted grain is particularly
high in vitamin C and B complex. It
contains several key amino acids.
Barley sprouts are best eaten when
less than one inch long.
Buckwheat sprouts must be started
with the outer hull still intact. These
sprouts are good on their own, in
salads, juices, and soups.
This crunchy and slightly spicy small
sprout is loaded with a concentrated
form of sulphoraphane, a chemical
that protects against carcinogens.
Looking very similar to alfalfa, these
tangy and crisp sprouts are good
for salads and sandwiches as well.
(Kaiware) These peppery-hot
sprouts have silky stems and leafy
tops. They add zest to salads,
sandwiches and cooked dishes.
Radish sprouts are good liver and
kidney cleansers. They are also
high in potassium.
Combine these strong, tangy
sprouts with other sprouts. They are
ready when one-inch long. Cooking
them longer that 3 or 4 minutes
will make these sprouts bitter.
Especially good in salads, fenugreek
sprouts are a powerful liver and
kidney cleanser and an excellent
source of phosphorus and iron.
Peppery and crisp, lentil sprouts
are better when longer than ½-inch.
These sprouts are particularly good
for burgers, salads and nutloaf.
Commonly called “Bean Sprouts,”
these big, thick, white sprouts are
excellent in stir-fries, soups and
salads. Mung beans sprouts are
rather bland in taste and have a
Soybean sprouts are a rich source of
protein and are stronger in fl avor than
mung beans. Best when under one inch
long, sprouted soybeans should
be cooked first before using. Good
for salads, burgers, and casseroles.
Sunflower sprouts have a nutty
flavor and quite a crunch. Sunflower
sprouts add great flavor and
texture to sandwiches and salads.
These sprouts are sweetest when
the sprouts are no longer than
the grain length. Considered the
most delicious by some sprout
connoisseurs, these sprouts will
quickly turn into wheatgrass.
Be sure to buy certified, organically-grown foods whenever possible.
Select sprouts that are moist and crisp, without any evidence of sliminess, mold, or a sour smell. The shorter the sprout, the younger it is and the more tender it will be.
Refrigerate sprouts in a growing container or loosely packed in plastic bags. Bagged sprouts will last three days. Boxed sprouts will keep four or five days. Snip the sprouts as needed. Remove any sprouts from the container that have become slimy or discolored.
Sources: The Complete Vegetarian Cuisine by Rose Elliot, The Wellness Encyclopedia by the UCB Wellness Letter Editors and Whole Foods Companion by Dianne Onstad.