DIY Sprouts

By Jackson Pittman 

As the cold draws closer and our gardens may not be producing as many of the fresh leafy greens we depend on for our organic intake, we find ourselves looking for alternative indoor growing methods. 

While our aquaponics bed forever supplies us with fresh lettuce, dill and sage, we have come across a great new salad supplement with tremendous health benefits: sprouts.

Grown from seed to salad in a matter days, sprouts can be brought to fruition solely off water and air and consumed as a little premature plant. Because the only growing procedure for them is soaking and rinsing, they require no spacious potting container and care only twice a day, making them ideal for the working gardener or busy salad eater. Not only that, they are also much healthier than any store-bought vegetable, as each sprout contains the nutrition of a fully grown plant! Put them in the salad or eat them as they are for a crisp snack, read on to learn stunning health benefits and about how to grow sprouts. 

Better Farm's organic sunflower sprouts.

*Health Benefits* 
Sprouts are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes, all of the things which are wonderful about mature plants. In some ways, they are even healthier than fully grown plants. Sprouts have been found to have 400 percent more protein than lettuce, and 3900 percent more beta-carotene—and that's for each sprout—so eating a handful of sprouts is like eating more than a dozen fully mature vegetables! In addition, broccoli and brassica sprouts have been found to contain 20-50 more times the amount of sulforaphane, a natural cancer-fighting compound, than the mature broccoli plant itself. That's only in one sprout! Another beautiful thing about sprouts is that in contrast with store-bought vegetables, which start losing nutrients the moment they're plucked, sprouts continue to gain nutrients right until they are eaten! This is why it is great to eat them raw, although they can be stir fried or juiced (oreven apparently fed to chickens!). 

They're truly powerful healthy foods, packed with more enzymes and lots of other fancy sounding vitamins and minerals (such as phytochemicals, nitrosmines, anti-oxidants and isoflavone) that boost your immune system more so than any other time in the plant's life. When considering all of these factors, they truly are miraculous for the health conscious grower, and not only that, but they are ridiculously easy to grow considering how beneficial they are! 
(Source: Energise for Life

*How to Grow*
 Sprouts are incredibly easy to grow. They can be purchased online as organic seeds, or you can just use any leftover seed you already have and don't intend to plant. They can be grown in specially designed hemp mesh bags made for the draining and soaking process or using a jar with a mesh lid (like us!). Specifically, any container that has a mesh fine enough to let water in but keep tiny seeds from falling out in the soaking and draining processes will work perfectly. You can also find plenty of cool sprout growing devices online! Once you have your sprouts and container, all of the difficult work is done. 

From then on it's these three simple steps: 
  1. Submerge the seeds in water and let soak for 12 hours. 
  2. Drain the water they soaked in and then begin to rinse and drain seeds 2-3 times every 12 hours. 
  3. Continue rinsing 2-3 times twice a day until desired sprout growth in achieved. Depending on the seeds, sprouts are usually good and edible after 4-6 days! A good idea is to start the first step of soaking a full 12 hours before you wake up in the morning so you can get into a cycle of rinsing them as soon as you wake up (or before you leave for work), and then once again 12 hours later. That's how we do it here at Better Farm

Many thanks to Shelly Botuck for all these wonderful, organic seeds for sprouting!
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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.