Health Notes #17

Natures Live Food--Sprouts

Sprouts are delicious! Enjoy them raw -- in salads, on sandwiches and burgers, or garnish with them. Some can be steam tenderized as in stir-fries or sprinkled over soups or stews.

Sprouts are Nutritious! They contain vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes that multiply during sprouting and are a natural source of fiber. They are one of the few known complete foods. Dieters delight in sprouts. They are low in carbohydrates and calories, but rich in essential nutrients.

Sprouts are Economical! One heaping tablespoon of alfalfa seeds produces one quart of sprouted vegetables. Most varieties of seeds will yield 5-10 times their weight in sprouts for pennies a serving.

Select natural, untreated seeds exclusively for sprouting. Try any of the many selections, or mix according to the flavor you and your family like. Possible seeds are alfalfa, cabbage, radish, clover, lentil, mung beans or wheat berries.

Our favorite for salads is a mixture of alfalfa, radish and clover. These are all small seeds and grow at the same rate so they can be mixed in the same jar. (I premix the dry seeds in a quart jar and store in the refrigerator. My ratio is 1# alfalfa, 1/4# clover and radish.)

Three easy steps to growing your own:

1. Allow 1 slightly heaping tablespoon of seeds per wide mouth quart jar. For the larger seeds, as mung bean allow about 1/4 cup per quart. Add water about 1/4 way up the jar and soak overnight. I use a sterilized nylon stocking and a jar ring for a top.

2. The following morning, drain your soaked seeds. Rinse these seeds by filling the jar with tepid water and swirling the seeds around gently. Turn the jar upside down until they are thoroughly drained then lay on its side scattering the seeds evenly in the jar. Rinse morning and evening or more often if the weather is hot.

3. Continue with the above rinsing until the sprouts are 1-1/2 to 2 inches long and nicely green. (About 4-5 days.) To get most of the hulls out I gently pull the sprouts out of the jar and swirl in a large bowl of cool water. The hulls will mostly either sink or rise to the top. Drain thoroughly before refrigerating by putting them back into the jar and turning it upside down. Put a tight lid on the jar.

(These are available in most grocery stores.)

If you want to grow mung bean, sunflower, soy or lentil sprouts make sure you don't let the light get to them as it will make them strong tasting. I put them under the sink in my dishpan so that I won't forget to rinse them. It is best if they are rinsed more often, like 3-4 times a day.

Try sprouted lentils sauteed with onions and peppers and served over rice. Use your favorite seasonings.

Wheat or oat berries are good and may be used in homemade bread by grinding them and adding a couple handfuls of raisins. Mix in the raisins well and press into a small loaf pan baking at 200OF for 2 hours. You'll be surprised how sweet the bread tastes, and its very nutritious. Also you can use the sprouted grain directly in your favorite whole grain recipe. Let the sprout get only as long as the berry.

I let my mung beans grow 3-4 inches long and throw them into a stir-fry just before serving. They are also delicious in salads, but some people like to cut them up for that purpose. Some have found that sprouting your beans makes them more digestible.

Sprouting is a fun project for children and a good responsibility because the yield isn't very good if you forget. Children enjoy doing something for others and what fun to serve their family sprouts they have grown. They'll enjoy eating them more also.

No man sees his shadow who faces the sun.


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