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Sprouted seeds, beans and grains are easy to grow, and they're inexpensive, versatile, delicious and full of nutrients. Sprouting enables the use of hard seeds as nutritious food without cooking. Seeds are the embryo and food supply for new plants, and when a seed is sprouted, much of it's stored energy bursts forth providing protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibre.
Fluffy sprouts, such as alfalfa and red clover are wonderful for salads and sandwiches, especially pita pockets. Firmer sprouts (mung beans, adzuki beans, blue peas, soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, mustard seeds, radish seeds, buckwheat...etc) can also be tossed in salads or added to stir-fries during the last few minutes
You can sprout several types of seeds together in different combinations.
Sprouts need moisture, warmth and darkness. Soak 2-4 tablespoons of seeds overnight in a cup of tepid water in a one-litre bottling jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a purchased sprouting lid or a square piece of cheesecloth or netting held on with a rubber band or canning ring. Drain and then twice daily (three times during hot weather) rinse with warm water and drain well. Keep jar on it's side and covered with a towel.
You can help your crop of leafy sprouts by breaking them up daily once they start to clump. Loosen them with a fork or your fingers, or dump them out and shake them apart. Sprouts are stronger than they seem, but be reasonable gentle.
Sprouts are usually ready in 3-5 days, depending on temperature. Some sprouts become bitter if they get too long. Fluffy sprouts like alfalfa and red clover will fill the jar at 3-4 cm in length. Grains and sesame and sunflower seeds are ready at 1cm or less; beans and other sprouts are best at 1-2 cm.
For more information on sprouting your own seeds, refer to the New Zealand's Wolefoods Handbook (2020 edition) which is available at Family Pantry for only $11.00.
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