Even though I’ve known about the nutritional benefits of sprouting for quite some time, I’ve only recently started experimenting with growing my own sprouts and adding them to green smoothie recipes and other dishes. So, from now on, I’m determined to not just include more sprouts in my diet, but to learn how to grow them, and start a mini-sprout garden in my kitchen.
Really, when you think about it, it’s probably the most local, freshest, most nutritious food that you can get, especially in the winter. And even in other times of the year – not everyone has a garden – but you can have sprouts growing in your kitchen all year long.
Plus, sprouts are considered a SUPER FOOD – they are probably the most nutrient dense of all foods, while being incredibly affordable and easy to grow.
Sprouts can provide you with a steady year-round source of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, chlorophyll and protein, as well as a high concentration of health and youth-supporting enzymes.
To boot, they are low calorie and contain little or no fat. The fat they do contain is the healthy fat that your body needs. As some of the most nutritious foods that exist, they make a great addition to any healthy eating plan.
You can have them fresh all year round, even when fresh vegetables are hard to find. It’s easier than planting a garden outside and they’re ready much quicker. And the best part is that you can grow fresh sprouts right in the comfort of your own kitchen. It takes less than 2 minutes a day and they are ready in 3 to 7 days, depending on the variety. You can sprout seeds, beans, grains and nuts. Some of the most popular varieties are alfalfa, broccoli, red clover, radish, mung beans, lentils, garbanzo beans and peas.
So What Are the Health Benefits of Sprouts?
The essential requirement for health and healthy weight loss is a diet that is high in nutrients and low in calories.
Doctor Fuhrman calls it a Nutritarian diet. (You shouldn’t really be thinking of it as a diet in a sense that you do it for a few weeks and then go back to your old ways. It should become your lifestyle.)
Problem is many of the foods we buy at the supermarkets today are not as fresh and nutrient rich as we believe. Many items have to travel across the country (or across the world) to get to where we live. They have to be treated with various life-extending substances and procedures.
And buying supplements can get very costly.
Obviously the best solution would be to grow your own food, but that’s not for everyone…
Sprouting is something that anyone can do that is easy to do and will provide tremendous benefits to your health, helping you lose weight, reverse disease, increase energy, or whatever your goal.
Apparently, sprouting magnifies the nutritional value of the seed and makes the nutrition more bio-available to the body. It boosts the B-vitamin content, triples the amount of vitamin A and increases vitamin C by a factor of 5 to 6 times. Starches are converted to simple sugars, making sprouts very easily digestible.
Have you heard about the Hippocrates diet? In the renowned Hippocrates Institute, where they regularly cure terminally ill people using only nutrition and other lifestyle modifications, sprouts are one of the key ingredients on their menu.
Sprout Smoothie Recipe
Sprouts are really versatile. You can use them in smoothies, blended soups and salads, as well as regular salads, on sandwiches, stir fried with vegetables, or enjoy these nutrient-packed delicacies as a snack all by themselves or added as a garnish to a main dish.
To make a smoothie, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sprouts to any smoothie recipe. Don’t put too many sprouts in your smoothie, and it will take on an overwhelmingly grassy flavor. Used in moderation, however, and sprouts are an absolute delight.
You can grown them yourself (see the instructions below), or simply buy them in a grocery store (that’s what I did for this recipe). If you don’t like the effort that growing your own sprouts takes, many health stores and farmers market have sprouts – but the selection may not be impressive and it will cost much more than if you grown them yourself.
- 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup pineapple, frozen
- 1/2 banana, frozen
- 1 cup water
- 1/4″ – 1/2″ fresh ginger, minced
- 1/16 teaspoon of Stevia (or agave nectar)
- 1-2 ice cubes, to thicken
- Blend ingredients in a powerful blender until smooth and creamy. Thin with water or thicken with ice if desired. Enjoy!
How to Grow Your Own Sprouts
Sprouts are easy to grow and take a minimum of effort. You probably already have everything you need to start your own kitchen garden. Once you’ve gone through the process once or twice, it will become easy.
To grow sprouts in jars on your kitchen sink, you will need:
- a wide-mouth jar
- screen or netting
- a rubber band
- a bowl to drain the jar
- fresh water
- sprouting seeds
Choose organic sprouting seeds whenever possible. The problem is that seeds that are not specifically sprouting seeds and not organic may be chemically treated with pesticides.
You’ll find lots of sprouting supplies and books on Amazon.
Two ounces of seeds will yield 1-2 pounds of sprouts, and 8 ounces of beans will yield 1 pound of sprouts.
Your sprouts will grow best when the temperature is between 65F and 75F (18C and 25C).
- Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of seeds or 3 to 4 tablespoons of beans in a wide mouth jar.
- Cover with netting or cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.
- Rinse a couple times, then fill the jar 3/4 full with pure water, room temperature, and soak 6-8 hours or overnight.
- Drain soak water. Rinse 2 or 3 times in cool water.
- Invert jar and prop at angle in sink or bowl to drain.
- Rinse 2 or 3 times twice a day in cool water.
- Place sprouting jar in bright light, but not direct sunlight, last sprouting day to allow chlorophyll to form.
- Sprouts will grow three to seven days. Seed sprouts, like alfalfa or red clover are 1″ (2.5 cm) to 2″ (5 cm) long when ready. Bean sprouts, like lentils or peas are 1/4″ (.5 cm) to 1/2″ (1 cm) long when ready. These are more tender when small. Mung beans are 1″ (2.5 cm) to 2″ (5 cm) long when ready. They are best grown in the dark to prevent bitterness. They should be rinsed 3-4 times a day. Taste the sprouts as they are growing to see when you like them best.
- Drain well. Cover the jar with a lid, or transfer to a covered container. Refrigerate to store.
Soaking times and amounts of seeds for sprouting in a quart jar:
- Alfalfa seeds: 4 to 8 hours
- Clover seeds: 4 to 8 hours
- Broccoli seeds: 8 to 12 hours
- Whole lentils: 8 to 12 hours, then eat
- Fenugreek seeds: 4 to 8 hours
- Radish seeds: 4 to 8 hours
- Raw hulled sunflower seeds: 6 to 8 hours, then eat
- Chia seeds: 6 to 8 hours, then eat
- Sesame seeds: 6 to 8 hours, then eat
- Wheat berries: 8 to 12 hours
- Rye berries: 8 to 12 hours
More Great Ways to User Sprouts
Once you get your sprout garden going, you can use the sprouts in a variety of ways, not just in smoothies.
- Add to tossed salads
- Use in coleslaw (cabbage, clover, radish)
- Add to potato salad (mung bean, lentil)
- Use in wraps and roll-ups (alfalfa, sunflower, radish)
- Stir-fry with other vegetables (alfalfa, clover, radish, mung bean, lentil)
- Replace celery in sandwich spreads (lentil, radish)
- Grind up and use in sandwich spreads (lentil, radish)
- Stir into soups or stews when serving (mung bean, lentil)
- Mix into pancake or waffle batter (buckwheat)
- Eat them fresh and uncooked in a sprout salad (salad mixes)
- Combine in rice dishes (fenugreek, lentil, mung bean)
- Add to vegetable sushi (radish, sunflower)
- Saute with onions (mung bean, clover, radish)
- Puree with peas or beans (mung bean, lentil)
- Add to baked beans (lentil)
- Steam and serve with butter (mung bean, lentil)
- Use in sandwiches instead of lettuce (alfalfa, clover, radish)
P.S. There have been some articles in the press about sprouts not being a safe food to eat. Read my article about the safety of sprouts.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
If you have a favorite recipe, why not submit it here in the comment section of this smoothie recipes blog for others to enjoy too!
I also welcome any comments, questions and suggestions. Thanks!