Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sprouts-Nutritious and Versatile!

 I recently experimented with growing my own sprouts. I have been interested in sprouting my own seeds for years, and I used to use a sprouter, until the drainer didn't work anymore.

Sunflower Sprouts

It is really easy to grow your own sprouts, my friend showed me how:

Using a clear glass container, such as a Mason jar

1. Rinse the beans or seeds you want to sprout, let them soak overnight in a dark place.

2. Drain the water off, rinse again, and cover them with fresh water. You don't need a lot of water, just enough to cover them.

3. Leave them out in indirect natural light for a few hours.

4. Return them to a dark, warm place.

Repeat these steps each day until you have sprouts of a good size, 3-4 days.

Sprouts make a healthy and tasty addition to salads, soups, sandwiches and as an all-purpose garnish!

A Brief History of Sprouts 

Sprouts have a long history both as medicine and as a source of nutrition. The Ancient Chinese physicians recognized and prescribed sprouts for curing many diseases over 5,000 years ago. Sprouts have continued to be a major staple in the diets of Americans of Oriental descent. Sprouting is referred to in the Book of Daniel in the Bible, but it took centuries for people in the West to value its nutritional benefits.

During the 1700's, large numbers of sailors developed scurvy (lack of Vitamin C) and many died during their voyages, lasting two to three years. From 1772-1775, Captain James Cook made his sailors eat limes, lemons and a variety of sprouts, which all contain high levels of Vitamin C. These, in addition to other fresh fruits and vegetables and a continuous program of growing and eating sprouts prevented scurvy, the disease which caused the greatest number of maritime deaths.

Herbs, grains and vegetables can all be sprouted. Some of the more popular sprouts are alfalfa, sunflower, broccoli and mung beans.

Alfalfa sprouts are used in traditional Asian noodle dishes, such as Pad Thai. They contain significant sources of dietary phytoestrogens, associated with prevention of osteoporosis, menopausal symptoms, cancer and heart disease.
Alfalfa Sprouts

Sunflower sprouts contain high levels of lecithin and vitamin D.

Broccoli sprouts are high in anti-oxidants, which can help prevent degenerative diseases, such as cancer.

Broccoli sprouts

Mung bean sprouts contain protein, fibre and vitamin C.

Mung Bean Sprouts

This is just one method of sprouting, there are many other variations, which are all equally correct and valid.

 An excellent website on sprout nutrition and history is Good Sprout News.

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Singing Nettles Herbal Clinic by Amanda Dainow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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