"Most people do not attempt to grow sprouts because they think it is too complicated. Yet we have very little to do with the process.”
Deep inside a seed, there is hidden a blueprint, a genetic package sleeping, waiting to awaken. As water is introduced, enzyme inhibitors are disabled and the seed explodes to life. Germination unfolds, and enzymes trigger elaborate biochemical changes. Proteins break into amino acids. Water-soluble vitamins such as B complex and vitamin C are created. Fats and carbohydrates are converted into simple sugars. Then the seed expends all its energy to break through the soil. Weight increases as the seed absorbs water and minerals. Finally life bursts forth from the earth, thirsting for sunlight, taking its new place in God's tapestry of Creation.
Through the miracle of germination, thiamin increases five-fold and niacin content doubles. Vitamin C, E and carotene increase. In fact, the vitamin C content becomes as rich as tomatoes. Sprouting is accompanied by an intense enzymatic hydrolysis of protein. Stored proteins are broken down into component amino acids. Because the protein is predigested, sprouts are more easily assimilated and less gas-forming than dried beans. Digestibility is vastly improved.
In 1940, the United States Army sponsored a full investigation on sprouted seeds, studying their usability as food during war. During World War 1, the British Army sprouted beans to ward off scurvy in the trenches. When building the trenches, they calculated the sprouting area needed to feed a battalion.
There is nothing like fresh bean sprouts in a salad. Sprouts can be cooked quickly with a dab of Soya sauce and a dash of fresh flax oil to make a delicious meal. Sprouts make a pleasant addition to soup as long as they are added a few minutes before turning off the heat. Just about any seed or bean can be sprouted for eating, and is great fun for the kids.
Make sure when you use seeds or beans for sprouting they are good-quality. Health food stores will have an abundance of beans and seeds for sprouting. If you find a problem in sprouting your beans and seeds, they are probably too old. Some beans available in stores have been treated with inhibitors to stop the sprouting process. Do not use seeds that are packaged for gardens because they may be treated.
Here are some examples of the most popular beans and seeds for sprouting.
Tools and Techniques for Sprouting
Most people do not attempt to grow sprouts because they think it is too complicated. Yet we have very little to do with the process. God has done just about everything for us. The key is to keep them moist and rinse them a few times per day, and then simply stand back and watch.
You are going to need a big jar with a perforated lid. You can use an elastic band with cheesecloth to replace the metal lid. A cheesecloth cover rinses easily. Remove any broken or damaged seeds before you begin to sprout. These seeds can rot and cause sprouts to have an unpleasant smell. Damaged seeds are much easier to remove at this stage than trying to maneuver through the delicate roots that are forming during the sprouting process.
Keep in mind that sprouting increases the seed volume 6 to 8 times. Four tablespoons will be sufficient for a quart-sized container. Soak the seeds or legumes according to the time given in the chart provided.
Rinse seeds well and place inside the jar. Twice a day rinse the seeds delicately so as not to break the little shoots. Broken shoots will begin to rot or go moldy, causing an unpleasant smell. You may find a pungent smell to your sprouts. This is caused by byproducts being produced by the growing sprouts. Sprouts should be moist, but keeping them immersed in water will cause them to rot. Rinsing twice a day ensures that they will not dry out and die. As sprouts begin to develop, lightly shake to remove excess water.
Sprouts do not have to grow in darkness as they would in soil. Some introduce sunlight during the latter period of sprouting, allowing the sprouts to produce chlorophyll and vitamin C. This will compromise vitamin B2, a fair trade for chlorophyll. When sprouts have grown to size, they can be kept in a refrigerator, but will continue to grow.
Sprouts are a living food, available any time you want a snack. Fun and simple to grow, cheap, nutritious, and versatile, whether for salads or healthy cooking. They are low in calories making them excellent for diets and easy to digest for delicate palates. You can freeze sprouts to use in vegetable soups.
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