Tiny and rather unassuming, sprouts are actually nutritional powerhouses. Armed with the DNA to transform into a plant or full-blown tree, these guys are literally bursting with life! Revered by yogic philosophy as "the highest prana (energy) food" due to their amazingly high concentrations of vitamins, protein and enzymes, sprouts are one superfood you want to add to your shopping list ASAP. And, bonus, unlike other exotic super foods, sprouts are super affordable, easily accessible and can even be grown in your very own kitchen with minimal effort.
First things first, let's talk about the most common varieties:
- Sunflower Sprouts: Wow, these guys are so tasty, it's hard to believe they can be so healthy. High in vitamins A, C and E as well as calcium, iron, magnesium and protein they are as healthy as they are addictive! Lovingly referred to as "cloud sprouts" in our home, sunflower sprouts have a light and airy taste that will keep you coming back for more and more. They're the new Pringles, "Once you pop, you can't stop." Seriously.. While they are pretty hard to find around here, it's not impossible. Keep an eye out at Whole Foods and if you see them, let me know!
- Broccoli Sprouts: Bursting with vitamins A, B, C, E and K as well as calcium, magnesium, protein and zinc, these baby broccolis have more goodness ounce for ounce than their full-grown counterparts. According to researchers at John Hopkins University, small quantities of broccoli sprouts contain as much cancer protection as larger amounts of the mature vegetable. So, eat less veggies for more nutritional bang, ya dig?!
- Alfalfa Sprouts: Don't let their small stature fool you, these guys are big on phytoestrogens which reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. Full of vitamins to support immunity and glowing skin, alfalfa sprouts are a true beauty food too. Just make sure to wash them thoroughly under running water for a couple of minutes before consuming as they have been linked to salmonella and E. coli in the past causing severe stomach issues. And ain't nobody got time for that.
So, now that you know what they are, you might wonder what's the best way to consume them. Well, I've got you covered. Sprouts can be enjoyed numerous ways, topping:
- burgers (I prefer the veggie variety but hey, you do your thing... responsibly and ethically, of course!)
- baked potatoes
- smoothies (especially sunflower sprouts! I have a great recipe if you're interested.)
Now, on to growing them. While I've never attempted, I hear it's not too arduous a task. I took to Pinterest to find a good tutorial and here's what I found:
How to Begin Sprouting (via Yogi Mami):
1. You can find the seeds in the bulk section of most health food stores or you can buy online and, of course, always buy organic. You can sprout Mung Beans, Lentils, Alfalfa, Broccoli, Rye, Barley, Millet, Sunflower, Celery, Clover and more!
2. Once you have purchased your seeds take a jar and add 1-2 tablespoons of seeds, beans, grains, legumes, etc. and cover with water (only one kind of seed in a jar at a time). Place a cheesecloth, screen or nylon to cover the jar using a rubber band to secure. Let the seeds soak overnight.
3. The next day drain the water letting the jar sit at a 45 degree angle (on a dish rack is best!) and let the rest of the water drain out. After the water has drained out letting the seeds remain without any water for 8-10 hours.
4. Rinse the seeds twice a day making sure to let the water drain completely to prevent rotting/molding. After the sprouts start to grow you can place the jar next to a window to increase their chlorophyll content. Once you have determined the sprouts are ready they can be stored in the fridge.
To read more about sprouting finish reading the blog here.
And there you have it! Now I'm craving tiny sprout goodness. Can't wait to get to Whole Foods tomorrow and stock up! Who's with me?! And dare I say, I'm tempted to start growing my own?! This veggie heavy March challenge is pretty fun, isn't it?!