Yes, I know there are / have been scares regarding sprouts and salmonella or Escherichia coli. Those bacterial infestations are more prevalent in commercially grown sprouts. Providing you carefully wash the seeds before sprouting them there is no reason why you cannot grow sprouts at home.
Also, apparently some sprouts can contain harmful toxins and should thus be reserved for stir frying prior to eating. Any any sprouts of the solanaceae family (tomato, potato, paprika, aubergine or eggplant) or the rhubarb should definitely be avoided, as they are poisonous.
Providing that you purchase your seeds from a store (a health store is probably the best) in which they are packaged as food, there should be no problem in sprouting them. Seeds sold for crops / planting should not be used, as they may contain toxic chemicals.
|Seeds for sprouting|
Pulses (pea family) : alfalfa, chickpea, fenugeek, lentil, mung bean, pea, soyabean*.
Cereals: oats, maize (corn) wheat, rice, barley, rye, quinoa, and buckwheat.
Oily seeds: sesame, sunflower, almond and linseed
Vegetables and herbs: broccoli, cabbage, carrot, celery, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, onion, rocket and tatsoi.
* Important update: Apparently Soyabean is one of the harmful beans, and, if sprouted, should be added to a stir-fry.
The seeds can expand to eight times their size and will germinate within 2 - 4 days from the start of soaking. If you soak for longer than the necessary time you run the danger of making the seeds ferment or rot.
Once they are to the required state of growth, sprouts will keep in the fridge for at least a week.
Sprouts are an excellent source of protein and vitamin C. They have established that the sprout retain their B complex vitamins, and, further, sprouting increases the amount of Vit. C and Vit. A they contain. Sprouting also causes starches to be converted to simple sugars, which allow sprouts to be more easily digested. And sprouted beans do not contain the gas making properties of cooked beans :)
They are quite simple to sprout. I have a fancy sprouting tower, but they may just as easily be sprouted in a plain glass jar with holes pierced in the lid.
|My sprouting tower|
Place them on the sprouting tray / in a glass jar. Sprinkle a small amount of water over the seeds, and cover.
At the end of the day, rinse the seeds again. This not only cleans them, but also replenishes the water they require in order to sprout.
|Sprouts at the beginning of day 2|
|Sprouts on the morning of day 3 - |
the mustard seeds are beginning to pop open
Toss a selection of sprouts with crumbed feta and fresh croutons and dress with your favourite salad dressing, add them to your salads / stir fries, fill half an avocado with sprouts, add them to an egg mayonnaise sandwich or use them as a garnish. I even enjoy a sandwich of plain sprouts. They could probably also be blitzed in your favourite smoothie. Or eaten as a non-fattening snack.
|Day 4 - there are less than I started out with,|
as I can't resist fresh sprouts, and I couldn't wait
for them to finish sprouting...
Remember - as with everything - everything in moderation! Don't overdo the eating of sprouts. Use them as an extra source of nutrition, not as a replacement.
And sprouts are a good reason to allow some of your organic vegetable plants to go to seed for reasons other than next season's crop.