Where can you get the most nutritious food on the planet? It may be surprising to learn that it can be found growing on a kitchen counter-top near you! Most people know that sprouts are the healthy origin of vegetables and occasionally encounter them as a garnish. What they likely don’t know, is that sprouts contain 20-30 times the nutrients of other vegetables!
Beyond that, is the empowering realization that sprouts can be easily, and inexpensively, grown in your own home. This gets you the freshest, healthiest, least-tainted food possible, while cutting down on the environmental impact of the industrial agriculture system.
Seeing the true beauty and value of sprouting can be a wonderful expansion of perception. To put it in spiritual terms, seeds are like the ineffable Source while sprouts represent life-force energy, bursting forth to create plants and vegetables. In this dark time of seedless, GMO crops, it is more important than ever to appreciate seeds and the precious life they give…sprouts!
According to cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn, “Sprouts are the new apple a day.” Lucky for us, they are a relatively easy addition to a busy life. Growing mature plants can take months, not to mention the need for garden space, experience and time. It can be frustratingly slow and disappointing if you don’t have the right soil, sun exposure and watering practice. Sprouts, on the other hand, can be grown using seeds, a mason jar, and a mesh lid or cheesecloth. Just add water! (and follow basic instructions)
Listening to Doug Evans, author of The Sprout Book, passionately singing the praises of sprouting, I finally understood that sprouts aren’t resigned to being moderately decorating the top of a salad. They can comprise the whole salad all by themselves! And why not? It’s not as if the caloric content is a problem. Sprouts are 50% water, low in calories, and high in fiber and protein. They are great for brain, cardiovascular and digestive health.
The bottom line is that sprouting means more nutrient density and a healthier diet with the added bonus of less washing and chopping. No complaints here. Sprouts are diverse, flavorful, and packed with thousands of protective substances including vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, phytonutrients, bioflavonoids, polyphenols, antioxidants, prebiotics, probiotics, and many more important sounding compounds.
Sprouts health benefits
Sprouting decreases the risk of many chronic diseases and inflammation. For example, broccoli sprouts have been found to contain 30-50 times the cancer protective chemicals as a full-grown head of broccoli. Broccoli and other sprouts may be found at your local health food store, or, if you live in a health food desert, don’t fear, you can order organic seeds online and start growing using basic instructions. It is simple and gratifying. In most cases, a teaspoon or two of seeds can lead to a whole jar of sprouts. It’s a beautiful and deeply rewarding process.
Due to the limited scope of this article, we will only talk about sprouting in mason jars. Different seeds require different attention and, before sprouting, it is important to remember that sprouts are the beginnings of a plant and thus are vulnerable to contamination. Do your own research and make sure all of you equipment is well washed and/or sterilized.
This article is not nutritional advice, but rather only motivation for further endeavor and exploration. Explore at your own risk. Eating sprouts that haven’t been grown properly could be dangerous for your health as is the case with food safety in general. For further instruction into the wide world of sprouts I recommend consulting The Sprout Book or other knowledgeable resources.
Growing Sprouts in a Mason Jar
- Buy high quality seeds (preferably organic and/or heirloom)
- Find a mason jar and buy a mesh lid or cheesecloth to use in the lid.
- Measure out the suggested amount of seeds and rinse thoroughly
- Put seeds in jar and cover seeds in purified water for 2-3 minutes
- Put on mesh cover and drain seeds
- Rinse and cover seeds in water again for 2-3 minutes and drain
- Soak seeds for specified time depending on seed (commonly 5-8 hours) in a couple inches of purified water at room temperature
- Drain seeds at a 70-degree angle. (you can buy stands online or create another way)
- Keep sprouts in darkness but allow them to breath. I cover them with a small kitchen towel.
- Rinse seeds twice a day until sprout tails are about one inch long
- Harvest when ready (usually around 3-5 days depending on seeds and conditions)
- Store in refrigerator and enjoy for the next week!
Depending on your living conditions, sprouting can be very easy, rewarding and an active way of getting healthier and appreciating the miracle of life. Start a seed collection and, more importantly, remember to take the responsibility for your health into your own hands! Enjoy eating and growing sprouts!