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Gardening/ Tips & Hints

How to Sprout Seeds

sprouts and sprouted seeds

sprouts and sprouted seeds

When you think of sprouts, you probably just think of standard bean sprouts that you sometimes see lurking at salad bars. You may not put too much thought into where these come from or how to sprout your own. But actually, there are tons of benefits to sprouting at home, and you’d be surprised what you can all sprout. Plus, it’s easy to learn how to sprout seeds.

The benefits of sprouting

So why bother growing your own sprouts? Fresh sprouts actually come with a host of health benefits. A study stated that, “Sprouting of grains for a limited period causes increased activities of hydrolytic enzymes, improvement in the contents of certain essential amino acids, total sugars and B-group vitamins, and a decrease in dry matter, starch and anti-nutrients.”

Another benefit includes improved digestibility of proteins and starch. Eating sprouts is also a great way to increase fiber in your diet.

What can you all sprout?

You’ll be surprised to learn what you can sprout. Grains, nuts, seeds and beans are all up for easy sprouting. That means you can sprout sunflower seeds, chickpeas and almonds. If it’s the reproductive part of the plant, you can sprout it.

But don’t feel limited to just common foods. You can find more exotic lists of foods you can sprout, including items like onion sprouts and chia sprouts.

The soak and sprout method

The most popular way to go about this is the soak and sprout method. For this method, you’ll basically need what you’ll sprout and a mason jar. You can also find specific sprouting jars that make rinsing easier due to added mesh.

Start by simply soaking your seeds. Add the seeds to the jar (filling about a third of the jar), and then add enough water to cover the seeds by a couple inches. The tricky part here is each type of seed has its own soaking time, so you may have to refer to some online charts or instructions that may come with the package if you get seeds specifically for sprouting. Wait the specific soaking time.

Now this is the step where you’ll rinse the seeds. Just run water over your seeds in a strainer until the water runs clear, and then add the seeds back into the jar with new water. If you use a sprout jar, follow the instructions with the jar.

Now is really the time you’ll need patience. Depending on the sprout, it will take different times to sprout, too. Again, charts and directions will tell you how long your individual sprout will take.

You’ll need to rinse your sprouts several times per day at this stage, or at least twice daily. You’ll want some metal mesh inside the top of the jar, if you’re using a mason jar. Then you can rinse several times per day without removing the seeds. You’ll rinse the seeds with water, and then leave the jar at an angle facing down slightly so moisture can seep out and airflow can get in.

When the seeds have the tail or small greens you are looking for, you’re done. Rinse and store the sprouts in the fridge in cheesecloth, and use within a few days.

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