The most common type of seed to sprout is the alfalfa seed. Alflafa is actually a legume (I just learned that!). Sprouting seeds make for easier digestion and increases nutritional value. One cup of sprouts has only a measly 10 calories but supplies a ton of nutrients such as phytochemicals, vitamin C, folic acid and B vitamins. Sprouts also provide minerals such as copper, zinc, manganese and magnesium. Most significantly, sprouts contain phytoestrogens which ease menopausal symptoms and prevent osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease. Phytoestrogens suppress angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels needed to feed cancer cells. WOW, all this from these little sprouts! I just eat them because they taste good!
If you buy sprouts in the store, look for ones that are crisp and clean. Bypass ones that look soggy and slimy! Keep them refrigerated and eat raw! Alfalfa sprouts have been linked to salmonella and E. coli, this is the reason they are on the “do not eat” list for pregnant women and high risk individuals. I was so sad to give up sprouts when I was pregnant! I started growing a fresh batch right after Noah was born!
Sprouting at home is actually quite simple and MUCH cheaper than buying them in the store. All you need is a large jar and sprouting lids. Spouting lids can be found at your local health food store or online. I have even made them using cheese cloth when I didn’t have the lids.
Follow these directions for no-fail sprouts!
1. Rinse the seeds and place in jar and cover with water. Let soak for 12-24 hours.
2. After they have soaked, empty out the water and rinse. Place in an area without direct sunlight. Rinse seeds twice a day, morning and night.
3. Once the seeds start sprouting, place in more sunlight. Switch to the bigger lid as the sprouts begin to grow, this allows the hulls of the seeds to get rinsed out.
4. Your sprouts will be ready for eating 2-3 days after they initially sprout.
Alfalfa sprouts make a crunchy addition to salads, sandwiches or veggie burgers.