SPROUTING GOOD HEALTH
With the growing season in most areas either over or coming to an end, thereis still in incredible option for providing your family with home grownvegetables year-round. I am speaking, of course, of sprouting. Sprouts areeasily grown indoors and are a potent source of many vital nutrients, manyof which are particularly important for vegetarians. Imagine if you can,all the vitamins, A through G, protein, calcium, iron, fiber, choline (a fatcontroller), folic acid, and iodine, all wrapped up in a delectable andversatile family of foods. Sprouts also provide generous helpings ofessential trace elements, magnesium and potassium, amino acids, andcarbohydrates. The nutritional value is truly astounding. Making sproutsan integral part of your diet is something that is certainly worthconsidering. High levels of antioxidants and bioflavonoids make them anideal food for helping to detoxify the body. This process is vital inneutralizing the damage done by dangerous free radicals within our bodies.It is especially important for children, whose small bodies andunderdeveloped immune systems put them at risk for toxic overload fromcommon daily toxins all around us.
There are many different types of sprouts. Some light sprouts, such asalfalfa and red clover, make good garnishes and are excellent when used inplace of shredded lettuce. Others such as Garbanzo and slightly sproutedred winter wheat are more substantial and can make up a hearty meal in andof themselves. Their flavors vary greatly from nutty to refreshing and evenspicy.
You may be able to find a couple of different varieties of sprouts at yourlocal health-food store, or maybe even your supermarket. However, it islikely that you will have a limited selection, and what you do have tochoose from may not appear very appetizing. Just like any other food, thefresher the sprouts the better.
Growing your own sprouts is a simple and enjoyable alternative. Childrenespecially enjoy growing sprouts because they get to harvest their crop in amatter of days, rather than months as with conventional vegetables. Unlike growing outdoors where the purity of your crop can be influenced by a numberof factors, including residue from previous pesticide applications to your property as well as your neighbors lawn and garden care practices, growingindoors with filtered water insures the integrity of your organic crop.
There are three major methods of growing sprouts: the tray method, the soilmethod, and the jar method. Certain sprouts are compatible with differentmethods of growing. The jar method is the easiest and the most time testedof the three. It is also suitable for growing the widest range of sprouts.The jar method is an excellent place for the novice to begin.
THE JAR METHOD
To begin you will need a quart-sized or larger wide-mouthed jar, abreathable cover, and something to affix it to the jar (a piece of muslin,cheese cloth, or nylon mesh held on with a rubber band or a canning ringwill suffice, or you can purchase a lid specifically designed forsprouting), seeds that can be sprouted using this method (see chart below),and access to water. Once you have your supplies gathered, place at able spoon or two of seeds in the jar. Rinse the seeds with warm water, and then strain them through the mesh screen. Refill the jar with warm waterthree times the depth of the seeds and let them soak overnight. Be sure to keep the jar in a dark place such as a kitchen cabinet. In the morningdrain your jar. It may be necessary to leave the jar propped at an anglefor a couple of hours while the water completely drains off. Cover your jarwith a towel during this time. Rinse your sprouts with cool fresh water 2or 3 times a day until they are ready to eat. For sprouts that requiregreening, clean the jar, replace the sprouts and place the jar in indirect sunlight for about a day or until the sprouts green. When your sprouts havereached maturity, pour them into a bowl of clean water and skim off all ofthe hulls that float to the top. Eat them right away ,or refrigerate yoursprouts in a plastic bag for up to a week.
EATING YOUR SPROUTSTypically people use sprouts on salads, sandwiches and in soups, but theycan be used in many other ways as well. Sprouts can take the place of regular vegetables in just about any dish. Experiment and use your imagination. You just might be surprised at how delicious your meals turnout. Add sprouts to coleslaw, potato, and pasta salads. Also try adding them to stir-fries, macaroni and cheese, and on top of pizza. Just rememberto add your sprouts as the last step in the preparation process to preservethe most nutrients. For a hearty salad, try soaking bulgar wheat in cool water in your refrigerator for a couple of hours, combine half a bowl ofbulgar with the sprouts of your choice and cover with your favorite dressing. My family greatly enjoys bulgar with mixed bean sprouts and Annie’s Goddess dressing. You can also add tomatoes, carrots, or anything elsethat sounds appealing to you.
Written by: Melody Sanislo
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