Fruit and vegetables, especially salad crops, are often grown in artificially fertilised soils and may be treated with fungicides, insecticides and preservatives.
Alternatively, seeds sprouted at home are a reliable, easy and cheap source of fresh organically grown food and also taste delicious. In just a few days, at any time of year, you can grow your own fresh and crunchy nutritious salads in your kitchen. Enjoy a constant supply of sprouted seeds, beans and grains - as near as you can get to the perfect food.
You don't need any special skills or expensive equipment. You don't even need soil or sunshine to produce a range of delicious fresh crunchy sprouts for sandwiches, salads, stir-fries or to add to soups, stews or bread mix. Try mung beans, adzuki beans, green or brown whole lentils, alfalfa, or a salad mixture.
How to grow sprouts
You can buy organic seeds and beans suitable for sprouting from your local health food shop or large supermarket, or online (*see the range at Amazon UK here ) Never use garden seeds as these may have been treated with fungicides.
There are lots of growing methods but the cheapest and simplest is to use a large jar. Any well cleaned wide-necked jar will do - preserving jars are ideal - with a piece of muslin or j-cloth over the top held on with a rubber band so the seeds can be drained.
It's always best to grow sprouts 'little and often' as the fresher they are the better they taste. A routine of twice weekly sowing will give you a constant supply.
Germination times vary slightly for each type of seed.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds can be eaten straight after soaking without sprouting - simply soak them in cold water for 12 hours, drain, rinse and eat.
The basic process is the same for all other types of sprouts. Measure about 1 tablespoonful of seeds or beans into a jar - use much less for alfalfa - about half a tablespoonful. Rinse with cool water then soak in water for about 6 hours or overnight.
Drain then rinse carefully in cool water and drain thoroughly. Stand the jar in a warm, light position out of direct sunlight.
Rinse and drain the seeds twice a day with cool water until ready (usually 3 to 6 days). Harvest the sprouts when the ‘tails’ are still short so they taste sweeter.
Once sprouted, eat the seeds right away or put them in the refrigerator where they will keep for a few days in a closed container or plastic bag. Keep rinsing them daily.
Good hygiene is vital for successful sprouting, so the sprouts need to be regularly rinsed and thoroughly drained. If they are slimy, mouldy or smelly they either have not been rinsed or drained properly or there are too many in the jar. Throw them away.
If they taste bitter or the 'tails' are long and discoloured they are too old - throw them away and start again.
Using your sprouts
Sprouted seeds such as alfalfa or radish are delicious in salads, pitta bread, wraps or sandwiches or mixed with other vegetables for juicing. Try a burger topped with alfalfa and garlic mayonnaise.
Sprouted beans are good used in stir-fries, pasta, soups and casseroles, or added to nut roast or burgers.
Children usually love them and will happily eat them just as they are.
Any sprouted seeds, beans or grains can be added to bread mix.
Or try stirring some into cooked vegetables just before serving – good combinations are brussels sprouts or broccoli with sprouted mung beans, or peas with alfalfa sprouts.
Birds love them too!
For a good reference book see *The Sprouters Handbook at Amazon UK.
Featured image by alicja at pixabay