What food can you grown indoor with no soil and is harvested in two to seven days, and can supply you year-round, regardless of the season? What food is simple to cultivate, produces no waste, is edible raw or cooked and can be eaten alone or with just about all other foods?
Sprouting requires neither sunlight or soil. No hard work, no digging. No defending your crops from insects and weeds. No getting sweaty and dirty. No insecticides and fungicides. You are assured your harvest is organically grown and as fresh as it gets.
Bean sprouts are so easy to make. And heartbreakingly cheap. You can buy big quantities of mung beans, aduki beans, black eyed beans, chickpeas and assorted lentils for close to nothing. You need not even buy sprouting jars, just use any glass jar and make holes in the lid. An empty glass mayonnaise, mustard or marmalade glass will do.
Few of us own estates, but most of us have a sink and a kitchen table and cupboard. Where we can find room for a sprout jar.
Sprouts are one of the most nutritious foods on Earth – pure, fresh, rich in nutrients and alive.
You can grow them all year round. Weather you’re 3 years old or 103. Weather you live in a sky scraper or on a deserted island. There will not be a shortage of sprouts because they’re not in season.
What’s sproutable? Botanically speaking, all nuts, grains and beans are seeds of plants. Every seed can create a new plant. That’s sprouting.
Sprouting does not require sunlight. Except for the leafy sprouts like broccoli sprouts, sunflower sprouts, pea sprouts, lettuce, mustard, radish, spinach, basil, cress, turnip, chia, flax, cabbage, sunflower and kale sprouts. They need sunlight for their photosynthesis. If you expose your leafy sprouts to sunlight after 4-5 days, they will provide chlorophyll as well as a ton of other nutrients such as vitamin K. Like other leafy greens, microgreens are exceedingly high in vitamin K.
As mentioned, no soil and no digging is needed to grow sprouts. Microgreens you can grow with or without soil. But not without sunlight. The soil helps to keep your sprouts from falling over. Helps them stay upright and grow towards the sun. If sunlight, the leaves of the sprouts will develop chlorophyll. If your microgreens are missing sunlight, you get long, lanky, no-color sprouts.
Start sprouting them in a jar in the dark for two days, then transfer to a clear glass container close to sunlight or a tray of soil and your sprouts will start to put down roots. Within the next 3-5 days you’ll have colorful microgreens.
Wheatgrass is supposed to be the healthiest of microgreen sprouts. Some try to chew wheatgrass, but you don´t eat it. Get a Greenstar juicer and you can have fresh wheatgrass juice every day. Grass juice from barley grass and kamut grass are also considered overly healthy, yet nothing tops wheatgrass.
At the Hippocrates Health Institute, founded by Dr. Ann Wigmore, people with the most severe health challenges regain their health from living off wheatgrass juice, microgreens and sprouts.
Wheatgrass is one of the best sources of protein on the planet. Meat has about 17% protein, eggs has about 12%. Wheatgrass have 25% protein. The best quality protein, as the protein in grasses is in the form of poly-peptides – simpler, shorter chains of amino acids – which assimilate faster and more efficiently. The superfood wheatgrass is what you call a complete protein, as it has all the essential amino acids.
Likewise, wheatgrass is one of the best sources of vitamin B12. It is also high in the other B-vitamins, vitamin A, C, E, and K, as well as minerals like zinc, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, boron, chloride, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, nickel, sodium, sulfur and many more.
Algae and grasses are the richest sources of chlorophyll in water and on land respectively. On top of chlorophyll, wheatgrass also contain carotenoids, bioflavoids, plant growth hormones and other immunomodulators as well as more than 80 enzymes. Furthermore, wheatgrass and other grasses have a high content of essential fatty acids. Dr. Ann Wigmore of the Hippocrates Health Institute had the better results working with wheatgrass. Barley grass comes second. Kamut grass third. Other grasses have outstanding nutritional charts, but wheatgrass
WHAT’S THE HEALTHIEST FOOD YOU CAN EAT…?
Some people might say sprouts.They say you can not eat too many greens. Likewise you can not eat too many sprouts. Sprouts are super high in vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, chlorophyll, essential fatty acids, flavonoids, plant fibers as well as health promoting plant hormones. Sprouts have a high water content. No unwanted growth toxins. They are low-calorie, detoxing, alkaline foods. Organic too, if you buy organic sproutables.
The nutrient density is higher in sprouts than in their mature counterparts. The nutritional density is higher than in vegetables.
THERE’S A SPROUT FOR EVERYONE..!
Most sprouts are tasty and crispy, unless overgrown and bitter and dried up, having lost their crispiness and succulence. Like the supermarket sprouts. A few types of sprouts are stringy, like buckwheat and some types of pea greens, and one eventually gets tired of pulp getting stuck in your teeth.
Sprouts like fenugreek, radish, onion, garlic and horseradish have a very particular taste which not everyone fancies. Same with oyster cress which taste fish. Mustard sprouts taste like mustard. Chia sprouts spicy and tangy. Flax sprouts pungent to bitter. Cress is hot like mustard.
Mucilaginous seeds such as chia, flax, cress and psyllium have a high content of water-soluble fibers and will make a gel when put in water. These high water-soluble fibers are supposed to be really good for your intestines.
Some sprout quinoa. I like quinoa as much as anybody, however sprouted, uncooked quinoa and amaranth taste like soap because of the saponins. They say saponins are not good for you.
You can sprout peanuts. Not the salted and roasted ones. And corn. Both real nice. You just dry corn on a cob, then collect the kernels and soak them. I was told you could sprout rice, and I tried. No success.
Sunflower greens are my personal favorite, succulent and super crispy, loaded with essential fatty acids, like the sunflower seeds.
If you want extra crispy and juicy sprouts, re-soak them in chilled water 20-40 min before serving.
MAKE YOUR OWN SROUTS
How to sprout? The actual sprouting is simple. You have small dry, hard seed. Add water and warm conditions. Then you have sprouts. No soil. No mess. The actual work is just soaking and rinsing.
First soak your sproutables overnight. Big beans require longer soaking time, 8-24 hours depending on size. Always change the soaking water after 12 hours. Soaking time varies from size of the legumes, grains and seeds. Tiny sproutables such as alfalfa and clover you can get away with soaking for only 3 hours.
Buckwheat have the shortest soaking time, they are soft enough to eat after 15-30 min in room temperature water. When saturated with water, the seeds, grains and pulses will have expanded to twice the size. Some to 15 times the size.
Sprouting time depends on temperature as well as size. The higher the temperature, the less sprouting time and the more frequent you will have to rinse your sprouts.
Remove unidentified floating objects and toss the soaking water. Then rinse your sprouts on regular basis. Small sproutables 2-3 times a day. Beans 3-6 times a day.
They will quickly start to grow a little “tail” – that’s a root – and get soft enough to eat. Eat them within few days, while they are super fresh. If you wait to long, they will go dry and the “tail” will grow stringy. To slow down the process and the growth of the sprouts a bit, you can refridgerate your subjects. Few might remain small and hard, as if petrified. Unsprouted subjects can be detected by unchanged size. Don´t try to eat those. They´re hard as stone.
There are many options for which type of sprouting vessel to use. Bamboo trays, sprouting jars, plastic tray towers, flower pots, a saucer, earthenware terracotta crocks, a towel or sprout bags such as cloth straining bags – so called “sprouting bags” – or even the end of a pair of nylon stockings. A plate with cotton or paper tissue will do. Perhaps use a fine mesh for tiny sproutables like alfalfa and clover as small seeds probably will be flushed out of the trays with the rinsing water if the holes are too big.
One can also get fully motorized state-of-the art sprouting vessels with automated soaking and watering. All you need to do is add the sproutables.
The final rinse should always precede the harvest by at least eight hours.
Soaking water should be room temperature. Ice cold water will shock the sprouts, hot water will kill them or cause mold, causing crop failure.
And never try to sprout split peas or split lentils. Only whole.
Others might fancy your sproutables. If you keep your seeds for too long or don’t keep them in a properly closed container, insects might invade and start to eat them too. If you consider insects an unfit food, use those seeds to sew in your or someone’s garden and get a new batch to sprout.
You cannot overdose on spouts. All the time we are bombarded with newsflashes on what to eat and what not to eat. Eat protein. Don’t eat protein. Don’t eat fats. Eat the good ones. The good fats. Stay away from carbs. Eat 80% carbs. Don´t eat fruit. The new food pyramid. The new, new food pyramid. However there´s one thing all nutritionists and researchers seem to agree on: you cannot eat too many vegetables and greens. Or sprouts. You can’t overdo it.
Pulses contain toxins, well enough. Toxins such as the digestive inhibitor trypsin, lectins, as well as saponin and cannavanine. After sprouting beans and chickpeas for two days, the toxins are neutralized, though. Lentils less. After soaking and cooking them, all toxins a destroyed. Some however warn against eating raw sprouted legumes. In regard to the potential dangers of legume toxins, researcher Dr. Emil Bardana points out, that we are talking about trace amounts and that you would have to eat a whole wheelbarrow of legume sprouts to suffer any effect.
Alfalfa sprouts apparently are mildly toxic, also containing saponin that can damage red blood cells and cannavanine that can harm the immune system, as well as trypsin.
Buckwheat contain fagopyrin, and if ingested in large quantities, can cause fagoyrism – skin sensitivity to sunlight. Traditional cooking destroys fagopyrin.
If your sprouts doesn’t have have good ventilation so excess moisture and heat can escape, the lack of air can cause rot and mold, which will make you sick. Never grow sprouts in closed containers or in plastic bags
At some point somebody got sick from eating sprouts and the all sprouts was taken off the shelves in the supermarkets. The sprouts had simply been watered with contaminated water.
Pigs, chickens and hence eggs have salmonella. The ones that are over the acceptable value and could make you sick, are taken out and mostly never reach the supermarkets. Meat has a daily allowed value of E-coli from the feces from the intestines of the cows. Any piece of meat with an E-coli value under this daily allowed limit is sold and eaten, no problem.
Outbreaks of infested meat is so frequent, the papers don´t bother to write about it, unless a little boy has died from eating a hamburger. Food-borne illnesses caused by sprouts are rare. In healthy people the stomach acid destroys most pathogens, and the rest of the digestive tract neutralizes the few acid-resistant unwelcomed guests that survive.
Presently, organic fertilizers include blood meal, bone meal, pee and poop, from the farmed animals, oozing with hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and pathogens.
Hence sprouts may not be the worst of food hazards.
“Vegan Organic” farming herald plant-based fertilizers without pathogens.
There are sproutairians out there. I’ve met them. They believe sprouts are the perfect food and live off sprouts. Nothing but sprouts. And they were of sublime health. Apparently you can throw away your expensive vitamin pills and mineral supplements, enzyme supplements, protein pills or protein powder or whatever you’re spending fortunes on. Nature knows best and natural foods is always better than supplements.
Apparently one can live off sprouts and baby greens and be of perfect health, but probably one will have to endure a certain amount of ridicule from others.
Mind you, most people out there have perhaps ingested soy bean sprouts once at a chinese buffet, thinking it was something else, or as garnish alongside a bleeding steak. They may not even know you can eat them.
When we eat corn, for instance, we eat only its kernels and discard of cob, husk, stalk, leaves and roots. Kernels are rendering more food than do un-sprouted kernels. With sprouts, you can eat the whole sprout, root to top. No waste. Thus, the worlds hunger issues could be helped, not only by “diet for a small planet” vegetarianism, but also from a “diet from a small plant” in these days of food waste.
Organic produce is superior to chemically fertilized and pesticide-sprayed supermarket produce, well enough, but is not always fresh and rarely cheap. A head of romaine lettuce flown across the continent hardly compares with lettuce sprouts freshly harvested from a kitchen sprout garden.
As mentioned no pesticides or insecticides or fungicides are needed. No chemicals. No fertilizers. Compost your sprout waste. Growing sprouts is dead sustainable in every way.
What to do with the soaking water? While bean soaking water is not for consumption, soaking water from grains and seeds are ideal to put in soups and sauces. Or let it ferment into beer. Or some other fermented drink or food, like Dr. Ann Whigmore’s “Rejuvilac” health drink, made from sprouted wheat berries, left to ferment.
Feed the bean soaking water and excess grain and seed soaking water to your house plants and you will no longer need to buy commercial plant foods, most of which are either chemical or, if organic, are made from dead animal bodies. Your plants will thrive.
What are sprouts? Botanically speaking all nuts, grains and legumes are seeds of plants. Every seed can create a new plant. That plant then creates a thousand new seeds. And those seeds whole fields and forests. Germination of these seeds starts to happen when the conditions are right. Air, water, darkness and warmth. Once your sprouting operation gains momentum. As the seed transforms into a sprout, it’s nutritional value skyrockets with its growth.
Once germination start, biochemical processes starts.
Starches convert to simple sugars. Protein break down to amino acids. Fats are converted into unsaturated fatty acids. Enzymes activate and the content of vitamins increase two to tenfold. Sprouts increase in nutritional content as they grow, especially in vitamin A, B-complex, C, E and K. The vitamin C in sprouted peas increases eightfold in four days, the vitamin B-complex in sprouted wheat increases sixfold and vitamin E threefold in four days of sprouting. Many different minerals abound in sprouts, and in an more assimilable, chelated form. If eaten raw, the sprouts contain heaps of enzymes.
Sprouts are quite high in protein. Especially sprouts of legumes. Proteins consist of amino acids. When ingesting food, you break down the protein into amino acids and then reconstruct the amino acids into body protein. Sprouting break down the protein into more utilizable amino acids for you, saving you the work.
As the sprouting process starts, the oils in a seed are converted into more digestable, more ready-to-use polysaturated fatty acids, which the body will use for fuel rather than storing for fat.
The carbohydrates in the sprouts are also converted into simple sugars, again saving the body the preliminary work. Using less energy on digestion, the body can use the energy on other things. So sprouts give you loads of readily available energy and they have low GI-index carbs, thereby not affecting your blood sugar too much. Even lower than their cooked counterparts. Chickpeas and other dried peas have a glycemic index of just 32. Lentils have 21. The GI values of sprouted legumes are even lower as the content of carbs and thereby the glycemic load decrease by 2/3 when sprouting.
Sprouting also chelates minerals. Chelating means binding the minerals with amino acids into an organic form, ready to use.
Sprouts and other live foods contain an array of anti-oxidants, anti-carcinogens, live enzymes, vitamin complexes, nucleic acids and plant-based antibiotics and their concentration of nutrients have gone up many times since the process of germination started.
BRUSSEL SPROUT SPROUTS
Sprouts of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard, turnip, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts, canola, rocket, radish, cabbages and mustard greens are exceedingly high in phytonutrients such as sulphoraphane, which are said to protect you from cancer.
Sprouts of brassicas are in general said to be exceedingly healthy.
Crucifers are particular high in vitamin A and C.
Oriental greens of the Brassica family include bok choi, tatsoi, mizuna, rutabaga, hon tsai tai and garland chrysanthemum, and the sprouts of which are a little more pricy and hard to come by.
Read the article “Broccoli Sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protects against chemical carcinogens” from 1997 by pharmacologists at John Hopkins University.
Indole-3-carbinol, a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, brussel sprouts, and cabbage, has been found to modify a key enzyme involved with the spreading of cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer.
Researchers have known for some time that Indole-3-carbinol reduces cancer cell growth, disrupts cancer cell migration, and weakens cancer cells. This is especially true in hormone-related cancers, which is why Indole-3-carbinol is currently in human clinical trials for breast and prostate cancer.
Furthermore researchers found that Indole 3 carbinol modulates an enzyme called elastase, in turn changing a gene signaling switch called cyclin E. During cancer, cyclin E takes on a shorter form, which causes cancer cells to reproduce very rapidly. Indole-3-carbinol blocks elastase from changing cyclin E into its cancer-generating form. The researchers showed that this arrested the development of breast cancer cells. This is the first time a precise biological mechanism for Indole-3-carbinol has been identified, and is considered a major discovery in the war on cancer.
SPROUT YOUR BREAD AND MAKE YOUR OWN BEER
A meal comprised entirely on sprouts may be your idea of a green meal, but may not be appealing to your family and friends. The good news is you can use sprouts in tons of ways in your cooking.
Sprouts are not just garnish. You can add fresh, crispy sprouts to salads, sandwiches, sweets, muesli, bread, granola, stir frys, soups or casseroles, boost your smoothies or blend them into a raw porridge. Add sprouts to any dish. You can even make sweets and desserts with them. Or beer. Hell, even on your pizza…! Sprouts make a delicious pizza topping..
One can make sprouted bread of sprouted grains. Wheat, rye, barley, oat, triticale, buckwheat, millet, corn, rice. You get he best results from using sprouted hard spring wheat. The type of grain determines the taste and, because of the varying moisture content, also how well it holds together. Sprout for 40 to 65 hours, depending on conditions – including 8-10 hours of soaking. Hereafter rinse the grains three times a day, until the longest of the roots are 1½ to 2 times the length of the grain. Then grind and “bake“. Traditionally the sprouted breads were baked in the sun, the maximum amount of nutrients preserved. These days you also have the choice of a dehydrator or an oven at very low temperatures. No more than 125 to 150 degrees, as enzymes are destroyed at temperatures at 104 degrees.
One can add herbs, chopped onion and garlic, grated vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, sprouts and dried fruits to the bread dough. Or a bit of sprouted lentils or chickpeas for high protein breads. Herb-onion-garlic, grated carrot or zucchini with cinnamon, raisin-walnut and many more variations.
If you leave raw loaves of sprouted bread out for 24 hours, you get a sourdough bread. Then “bake” for 2 ½ to 4 hours.
Sprouted flat breads, chapatis and crackers can be made from the dough as well.
Essene bread is made with sprouted mung or soy beans, but you can make a bread entirely out of sprouted grains. Grain. Buckwheat, millet, rye, wheat, barley. ”Essene” bread is made with just sprouted wheat and dried in the sun. ONE INGREDIENT; sprouted wheat berries for instance or some other type of grain. Or a combination of grains. The grains get sweet as you sprout them, so sprouted bread is very sweet. Naturally sweet. No sweeteners have been added. No oil, salt, flour, leavening or additives.
The recipe is quite simple:
1 1/3 cup of dry wheat berries, which equals 3 ½ cups of sprouts, which equals 1 pound of bread.
Sprouted bread is so different from baked bread. This bread is unquestionable the most nutritious bread. It has more vitamins than baked bread, because the grains are sprouted. In two days of sprouting, vitamin A increases 50-75% and vitamin B1, B2, C and E has gone up by many times. It also contain more fiber than whole wheat bread.
If you can´t be bothered to make your own sprouted bread, no worries. You can usually find an array of sprouted breads on the shelves in most health shops.
If you soak unhulled barley with water and blend it, then let it steep and strain it. Let it ferment and you have brewed beer. This brew saved British sailors from scurvy so they could pillage and plunder in good health. Do not boil the brew, then the vitamin C would get destroyed.
If you don’t like beer or sweet sprouted bread, there’s tons of great recipes with sprouts out there..
I personally love to make a raw porridge of soaked buckwheat blended with banana and apple for breakfast, topped with pieces of fresh fruit, cinnamon and perhaps some muesli. Buckwheat is gluten free and have the shortest soaking time of all grains, 15-30 min, so you don’t even have to plan ahead. You can use other types of grains if you don´t like buckwheat.
Soaked buckwheat, millet or wheat make your smoothie or shake extra creamy. Alfalfa, clover, sunflower and pea shoots can be juiced with your fresh green juices or blended into salad dressings.
Cooking microgreens like alfalfa turns them into mush, but you can stir fry them.
Sprouts and microgreens are dead colorful and will make a beautiful garnish as well.
Here´s a recipe for sunflower sprout cookies
Girl Sprout Cookies
2 cups of sunflower sprouts
1 cup ground raisins
1½ cup ground sunflower seeds
¼ cup flax
Knead all the ingredients, except the flax. Grind again to fully combine (this can be done in a food processor). Knead in the flax. Shape into balls and roll in coconut, or shape cookies by flattening between wax paper. Allow to dry 1 hour before refrigerating.
Sunflower Sprout Crème
4 cups sunflower sprouts
2 cups fresh fruit juice of your choice
½ cup ground sunflower seeds
3 tablespoon fennel or anise
The recipes above are from “Sprout Garden” by Mark M. Braunstein. It’s worth spending money on this book, it has a variety of good recipes.
Check out www.friskespirer.dk/opskrifter for recipes with sprouts.
Sprouting nuts, seeds and grains improves their taste as well as digestibility Try to soak almonds or hazelnuts for a half a day. Simply soaking them makes them taste more and make them juicy and crispy.
They say dry sunflower seeds taste like wood, whereas sprouted sunflower seed tastes like the leaves.
“Sprout Garden”, Mark M. Braunstein, 1999
“Wheatgrass – Nature´s Finest Medicine”, 2006, Steve Meyerowitz
“Sprouts For the Love of Everybody”, Viktoras Kulvinskas, 1988
“Nutritional Evaluation of Sprouts and Grasses”, Viktoras Kulvinskas, 1978
“Friske spirer”, Miriam Sasha Sommer, 2010