Long Live the Sprout

By Google definition a Sprout is: 'a shoot of a plant'
Synonyms: germinate, put forth shoots, bud...
This definition doesn't tell us much about the true function and benefit of the 'shoot of a plant'.
What exactly is a sprout?
Every seed carries genetic information and nutrients to allow the growth of a new plant, this information is preserved and the seed remains dormant until it comes into contact with the essential elements needed to start sprouting. These elements usually start with soaking the seed in water for a period of time to release the enzyme inhibitors so germination can then take place.
Why Sprout?
Sprouts are seeds that are grown specifically to be eaten as young baby shoots or as small tender-leaved plants because when a seed is sprouted its vitamin content increases and the protein, carbohydrates and fats it contains become easier to digest.  Above all the sprouts life force is aroused thus making it a living food.  These tiny shoots are bursting with new life and when eaten give us a greater sense of vitality and energy. 
Sprouts can be grown from seeds, grains, pulses or beans and nuts.  Not only are they a power house of nutrients sprouting is also a very cheap way to bulk up meals.  Simply add them to your dips and pates, juice or even dehydrated to make snacks and you will notice a difference not only on your pocket but also in your energy levels and general well being.  
What makes sprouts super nutritious?
Unlike common green vegetables, which decrease their nutrient value from the day of their harvest, sprouts keep it up to the day of consumption. When sprouts are at the peak of their growth, their nutrient energy is also at its peak. They help regenerate body cells, boost digestion and food absorption, and enhance both blood coagulation and different liver functions.
How to sprout
Among the essential elements for germination, water is probably the most important in the sprouting process, it works like a light switch, the very moment water touches the seeds a series of complex chemical reactions that bring seeds back to life begins.
Temperature is the second important element. In warmer countries sprouts tend to grow much quicker as I discovered when I moved to Greece.
The third element is oxygen. Seeds have to breath in order for the chemical reactions to take place and lead to germination.
The fourth and final essential element is light. It allows photosynthesis to occur and gives sprouts a high content of chlorophyll.
Sprouts can be easily, organically and cheaply grown at home.
All you need are the following:

  • A clean jar
  • Seeds/beans/pulses etc
  • A square of muslin cloth or a pop sock or old pair of tights.
  • Rubber band
Place the seeds you want to sprout in the jar, depending on what you want to sprout you will on average end up with 3 times as much mass as you started with. Therefore fill only up to a fifth of the jar with seeds. Then fill the jar halfway with water, ensuring that all seeds are thoroughly covered. Place the square of muslin or tights tightly on top of the jar and secure with the rubber band. Leave the sprouts to soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. The following morning tip the jar upside down and drain the water through the muslin cloth (without removing it from the jar) and rinse the seeds.  Let the jar stand upside down and at an angle to allow air to circulate inside the jar and all the water to be able to drain away.
Rinse and drain the sprouts twice a day for 2-3 days until the shoots begin to appear. Once the shoots are at least as long as the seed/bean the sprouts are ready to eat, with the exception of very tiny seeds such as alfalfa where the shoot will more than exceed the length of the original seed. The sprouts must then be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and eaten within 5 days.
Remember, sprouts need moisture, warmth and indirect sunlight to grow well.
*Important additional notes

  • All beans and pulses can be sprouted and eaten except red kidney beans which are poisonous when eaten raw/sprouted.
  • Sprouts not rinsed regularly will turn sour.
  • Sprouts left germinating too long will develop leaves and become baby greens.
  • Sprouts left standing in water will rot.
  • Sprouts not moistened regularly will dry out.
  • Sprouted well, each cup of dry beans / pulses will yield nearly 3 cups of sprouts.
  • Always use edible beans / pulses. Never use seeds intended for planting as they are treated with toxins.
Happy Sprouting :-)
When a seed is woken up its vitamin content increases and the protein, carbohydrates and fats it contains become easier to digest.dips and pates, juiced or even dehydrated to make snacks.Unlike common green vegetables, which decrease their nutrient value from the day of their harvest, sprouts keep it up to the day of consumption. When sprouts are at the peak of their growth, their nutrient energy is also at its peak. Not only are sprouts easier to digest, but they also help regenerate body cells, boost digestion and food absorption, and enhance both blood coagulation and different liver functions.


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