A sprout is unique from any other food because of the place it occupies in the plant life cycle. It doesn't have any roots yet to gather its own nutrients, so it relies completely on the nutrients, and the enzymes needed to utilize them, contained within its seed. These unique conditions make sprouts the most complete, balanced form of nutrition in existence! The sprouting process converts complex carbohydrates into simple carbohydrates, protein into usable amino acids, and fat into fatty acids. This means that a lot of the work of digesting has already been done for our bodies when we consume sprouts. They're also chock full of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and enzymes. They have a high pH, helping to alkalize the body (which is a good thing).
Are you convinced yet of the amazingness of sprouts? Are you ready to grow some on your own? It's so easy, and you don't need any special supplies! Almost any grain, legume, nut, or seed can be sprouted. Just make sure the seed itself is for consuming, not growing (unless it's organic).
First, just soak your sprout of choice overnight in a mason jar or whatever you have on hand. (Hint: you need much fewer seeds or beans than you would think.) I go ahead and cover my jar right away with unbleached cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.
|I'm sprouting mung beans in this photo.|
In the morning, drain the water right through the cheesecloth, add fresh water, and drain again. Set upside down in a bowl so that water continues to drip through the cheesecloth. I like to set mine in front of a sunny window to soak up as much sunlight as possible so my sprouts will be extra full of chlorophyll!
Every 12 hours, rinse and drain your soon-to-be sprouts, just like you did the morning after soaking. Repeat the process till your sprouts grow to whatever length you desire. Then, toss them into wraps, on top of salads, tuck away in sandwiches, or just eat straight from the jar and enjoy the feelings of health and vitality that are soon to follow! Store in the fridge till you've eaten them up, and be sure to start a new batch of sprouts a couple days before your current stock runs out.
It seems like a lot of my friends have gotten the sprouting bug too! Check out this drool-inducing sandwich my friend Becca made with her homegrown sprouts. Swoon.
(P.S., all of this wonderful nutritional information about sprouts came from the book, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life. You really should check it out!)