What is sprouting? Quite simply, sprouts are grown from seed and harvested at an immature stage. The process is faster than growing vegetables to maturity, and it can be done on a kitchen counter or windowsill and one of the best things about sprouting is that it allows home gardeners to produce fresh, nutritious food year-round.
Sprouts are grown by repeatedly rinsing and draining certain types of seeds that have a fast germination rate. The process is quick, taking less than a week from start to harvest.
The health benefits of sprouts include improved hormonal balance and better digestion of both carbohydrates and proteins. Germination stimulates the release of enzymes to pre-digest starch, which may aid in gut health and reduce intestinal gas.
Sprouts can be grown in any climate. They mature in 3–5 days, and can be planted any time of the year. They don’t require soil or sunshine, but they contain nearly as much vitamin C as tomatoes. Plus they produce no waste. Spent sprouting water is full of nutrients and can even be used to feed houseplants.
Soaking Times are crucial, as I’ve learned the hard way.
- Small Seeds (like alfalfa and broccoli): 10 minutes
- Medium seeds (like radish and mung beans): 4 hours
- Large seeds (like adzuki beans and chickpeas): 8 hours
Seeds stay in their dormant state because they contain enzyme inhibitors. Soaking seeds dissolves these inhibitors and triggers sprouting. As this process unfolds, each seed begins to use up its store of food in an effort to produce its first leaves. It is a complex chemical process that releases proteins, enzymes, and sugars.
While this process happens, sprouts are very easily digested and their individual nutrients are available to the body more immediately. Most sprouters only need to use a tablespoon of seeds at a time, so a single bag of seeds can produce masses of sprouts.
Each sprout variety has its own unique flavour and texture, and they can be combined to suit personal flavours or grown each on their own.
I have a number of sprouts at the clinic (and soon to be online) if you want to try any or all of them.I personally love the sandwich mix and if I want a bit of pop, I go for the Brassica Blend, which not only tastes great, but has hormone balancing properties as well.