Showing posts with label sprouting seed resources. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sprouting seed resources. Show all posts

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sprout: A Cheap and Easy Super Food

Today in the gym a lady asked me about sprouting seeds. She was extremely interested since she never heard of micro greens before, but at the same time was thinking, why bother? Her logic was, if, for example, sprouted radishes taste the same as the vegetable itself, why not just buy radishes ? Why bother sprouting?

The difference between sprouted seeds and fully grown vegetables is the same as between a newborn baby and a 70-year-old man: in essence they're the same person, but are they?...
The first ever nutritional study of microgreens was done in the summer of 2012 by the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland ,[1] indicating promising potential that microgreens ... have particularly high nutritional value compared to mature vegetables. (source: Wikipedia)

Sprouted seeds are like a vitamin and micro element explosion: they give us maximum of what healthy food can give - a super concentrated cocktail of goodness and newly born energy. Superfood at its best. The livelihood of micro-greens is insane. At times I can even hear them singing :)

A little bit of science: 
Seed -> sprout -> micro green 
-> baby green -> grown plant

When a seed is dormant, it has a lot of starch (fuel for the possibility of growing). When the seed "wakes up", it finally starts using that starch and transforms fuel into nutritional goodness. Composition of the seed changes completely, and all the "bulk" becomes supercharged with vitamins and energy. It's like burning fat and transforming it into energy for a 26-mile marathon. The sleepy 
giant is finally awake!

When the root and the first pre-leaves (cotyledons) show up from the hull, the germinated seed is turning into a sprout; when sprout grows the first pair of real leaves, it is turning into a micro green (microgreen) and is becoming a plant (1” to 1½” including the stem and leaves). If it grows even further, it becomes a "baby plant" - small and juicy (that's what most fancy salads are made from: baby arugula, baby spinach, baby kale, other baby greens...)

How To Sprout?
The most important here is to get high quality organic sprouting seeds. You can sprout regular supermarket raw seeds and beans/legumes as well, almonds, quinoa, alfalfa - you can sprout pretty much any raw seed or nut that tastes good to you. Some seeds are not regularly sold as a meal but taste great when sprouted so i buy my radishes, mustard seeds, alfalfa and such at - he has a wide selection of affordable organic seeds, and they grow very well. This store is also not bad at all.

You can find sprouting directions all over the Internet, but here are great detailed instructions for each species. In a nutshell, nothing can be easier: you just put seeds in a bowl, jar, sprouting tray or any other no-leak container and completely cover with filtered water. 
Next day drain the water (you can use a strainer, mesh lid, muslin), wash your seeds and keep them covered. High quality fresh seeds start sprouting almost immediately - my buckwheat usually sprouts the next day, but it also depends on the kind of seed. Most seeds germinate on day 2-7, so if you're making a seed medley, try to combine the seeds that germinate at about the same time.  If you buy special seeds for sprouting/microgreening, the sprouting time is usually stated on the baggy. 

It's important to use filtered water in everything you're going to eat, especially sprouts and microgreens... If you wonder why, read here.

Cute Bioset Germinator Kit
There are some really cute and easy sprouting kits, like this one for example, or the one in the picture (if you buy a sprouting kit, directions on growing will be included).
Be careful, do not allow your seeds to ferment or rot - it can cause poisoningTo keep the seeds fresh, wash them daily (twice a day in warm seasons/climates) and since they have a tendency to get smelly. To prevent that, you can keep your sprouts in a fridge. If they do get smelly and slimy and washing doesn't help, and you feel like there is no way you can eat anything that stink so bad even after you wash them, just plant them instead and eat as baby greens a couple of weeks later. Protect your seeds from fruit flies (they love sprouts!) - cover the container with muslin or a lid with tiny halls.

Growing microgreens is easy and rewarding: microgreens taste almost exactly the same as the final fruit/vegetable, especially flavorful kinds like radishes, sunflower seeds, russian reds and mustards. So it's easy to have an array of flavors and  greens in less than 10 days. You can grow micro greens either hydroponically (without soil) or with soil. The first method is obviously less messy, but the soil planting will give you a feeling of a "real" garden, even in winter. Some species (like sunflower seeds) can only grow in soil, some prefer hydroponics, so read directions for every specific plant. recipe
Sprouted seeds start changing taste from nutty to greeny, salady as soon as the sprout develops chlorophyll and becomes green (turns into a micro green). If you like to keep the taste of the original seeds, eat them while the sprout is small and white. Keep them away from sunlight.

Enjoy your seeds and greens in salads, as decoration to main dishes, as a garnish, in smoothies or shakes, or even as a main dish itself. I often eat them bare and raw - they're flavorful enough to give you a full taste satisfaction! - or cook them for a "real" course. 
My most favorite "cold" (raw) recipe rocks white sprouted chick peas (garbanzo beans), nutritional yeast, sunflower oil and soy sauce mixed together as a salad. 

My almost-daily meal

The hot favorite of all times includes quinoa, lentil and buckwheat medley grown for 3-5 days mixed with  chopped baby zucchini, baby kale, chard & spinach sprinkled with soy sauce, olive or coconut oil and a dash of dried shredded seaweed, nutritional yeast, turmeric powder, freshly ground black pepper and sizzled on high heat for a couple minutes.

Do you sprout? Let me know in the comments where you buy your seeds, which container you use and what your favorite sprouting flavor is.