Remember how, as a kid, you could grow cress on a patch of cotton wool and then eat it in your sandwiches? The fascinating thing is that these simply grown sprouts are really nutritious and a great food.
Newly sprouted seeds and grains are packets of energy on the cusp of life – that makes them great for food because they are bursting with so many proteins, nutrients, enzymes, and more, to help them grow. Researchers have found crunchy sprouted broccoli sprouts to be a powerful anti-carcinogenic (the active element being glucoraphanin) and an antioxidant, better than normal broccoli. Another example is a fresh and tasty serving of sprouted alfalfa which is reported to dramatically reduce cholesterol and has a complete armory of vitamins and minerals ready to boost your health.
But whether it’s sunflower seeds, adzuki, radish or almond, these sproutlings are high energy, low calorie foods which can contribute to your five-a-day vegetable intake at a very low cost – when you grow your own a few pennies results in pounds worth of savings. They are noted for being beneficial for people with food intolerances too.
Some prepared foods take full advantage of the nutritional benefits of sprouted seeds for example the Sunnyvale organic breads and Linusprout flax powder bringing sprouted nutrition in an alternative, simple to eat form. But there is nothing more fun than sprouting your own seeds or beans.
How to sprout beans and seeds
All that is needed is a glass jar with a lid with holes in or a piece of cotton or muslin and an elastic band to hold the cloth in place over the neck of the jar.
Take a handful of your selected seeds or beans. Adzuki and mung beans work really well as do alfalfa, radish and most any bean or seed that has not been hulled.
Put the beans into the jar and rinse them really well in water, give them a good swish round and then drain the water. The process has begun.
Place the beans in a shaded warmish place. Now each day for the next 3-4 days rinse the beans again, just fill the jar with water enough to cover the beans and drain it off again gently. You should see the sprouts appearing after 2 or 3 days and after 3 -5 days the sprouts will be ready to eat. The length of time does vary for each bean type, how warm it is etc, so just be patient.
Include bean sprouts in your menu
Sprouted grains and seeds are crunchy additions to salads, stir fries and sandwiches, but they can also be baked or blended, toasted or eaten raw as tapas – sunflower seeds are very very moreish.
Here’s an easy fresh tasting sprouted seed recipe to try:
Sprouted bean bruschetta with tomato and basil
Makes 10 slices
1 tablespoon sprouted mung beans
1 tablespoon sprouted radish
10 slices of organic baguette
5 tablespoons olive oil
30 cherry tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, peeled and rubbed in salt
Basil (preferably fresh)
Freshly milled salt and pepper
1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and put the cherry tomatoes in for 30 seconds. Quickly remove the tomatoes and cover them in cold running water until they are completely cold, the skin should have cracked and loosened.
2. Grill 10 organic baguette slices on both sides. When they are crisp, score the slices 3 times with a sharp knife on one side.
3. Rub the garlic around the cuts in the bread and drizzle about half a tablespoon of olive oil over each slice.
4. Crush three tomatoes and place them onto a baguette slice, top with a pinch of sprouted mung bean and radish.
5. Repeat for each slice. Season with a scattering of basil, salt and pepper. And finally, sprinkle a few more drops of olive oil over the top.