I realize not everyone has the time, space, or the desire to plant and tend an organic vegetable garden. For those who do – and I know this firsthand – it's one of the most rewarding experiences you could ever imagine. However, did you know you can grow some of the healthiest, nutrient-dense foods on earth without a garden or even an outdoor planter box?
That's right. You can grow your very own live, raw superfoods at home. And they're easily grown indoors on a windowsill in as little as 3 to 5 days!
My hamster, Teddy, is munching out atop a sprouter that I use sometimes for smaller seeds such as broccoli, alfalfa and daikon radish. But you may also use a large mason jar. Isn't he cute? :)
WHY EAT SPROUTS?
Here are 9 good reasons to eat organic sprouts:
They can contain up to 100 times more natural enzymes than raw vegetables and fruits
They're a source of sunlight energy, or biophotons, for your body's processes
You can get up to 20 times the vitamin content in the first few days of sprouting
The quality of protein is higher when sprouted
The fiber content is higher when a seed is sprouted
You get more essential fatty acids in a sprouted seed than the vegetable
Minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, bind to protein and become more usable
Sprouts have oxygenizing and alkalizing effects on your body
Sprouts are the ultimate locally grown food, and since you grow them right on your windowsill, you know EXACTLY what you're eating!
Because of their valuable nutritional content, including an abundance of highly active antioxidants, sprouts and shoots are one of the best foods for fighting free radicals and supporting cellular regeneration.
Sprouts and shoots each have their own unique nutritional qualities. For that reason, I like to grow a variety to have several types on hand.Here's a quick comparison of some of the most popular beans, nuts, and seeds:
Alfalfa A significant dietary source of beneficial phytoestrogens, and phytochemicals, including canavanine and saponins. A good source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, K.
Broccoli Specially known for its high content of the precursor to sulforaphane. Also contains concentrated amounts of phytochemicals.
Clover Significant source of isoflavones and phytochemicals.
Lentils Contain 26% protein. Can be eaten without cooking.
Mung Bean Good source of protein, fiber, vitamins C and A.
Pea Shoots Good source of vitamins A, C, folic acid, zinc, and magnesium. High in protein.
Sunflower Contains minerals, essential fatty acids, healthy fats, fiber, and phytosterols. Good source of vitamins A, E, B family, and iron. High in protein.
HOW TO SPROUT NUTS, SEEDS, GRAINS, AND BEANS
GET a quart-sized mason jar. Remove the solid middle insert of the lid, and cut a piece of cheesecloth or breathable mesh to fit inside.
FILL one-eight of the jar with nuts, seeds, grains, or beans, and fill the rest of the jar with water. Screw the lid on with cheesecloth or breathable mesh screen in place.
SOAK for 6-8 hours.
DRAIN/RINSE Pour the soaking water out of the jar, fill with fresh water, and rinse well by swirling jar and drain.
INVERT the jar and lay at an angle so that air can circulate, and the water can drain off. Allow to sit on the on counter near or under sunlight.
REPEAT this process, rinsing every few hours, or at least twice daily.
WAIT In 3 to 5 days, the sprouts will be ready. Sprouts vary from 1/8-inch to 2-inches long. When ready, rinse sprouts well, drain, and store in a jar (with the solid part of the lid replaced) in the fridge.
ENJOY Sprouts are a fabulous nutrient-rich addition to raw salads, sandwiches, and wraps, and are also tasty in smoothies, soups, and stews.