The ground is frozen, the garden sleeps.
It was inspiring to hear all the newly-found home gardening skills that were acquired during the pandemic. Some tilled new beds, some grew planter boxes on their patio, some grew culinary herbs in their windows. I really enjoyed gardening this summer. It is hard to describe the experience of planting seeds and watching a squirrel dig them up, or planting a young plant and watching the groundhog enjoy it. After all of that, the sensation of triumph that comes with the first harvest.
Did you know that you can grow really healthy food all year long, and it is really quick and easy, no dirt needed?! I have been growing ‘sprouts’ all year long. You’ll see a small package of these for $5-8 at wholefoods. You can actually sprout any seed – it’s the first step in the growth of the new plant. There is a great proliferative action of the plant in this sprouting stage – filled with life-producing energy. Most people sprout some specific seeds: broccoli, alfalfa, mung bean, peas, radish; however the list goes on.
There are many ways to sprout, but I’m going to explain a minimally involved, small scale setup.
- Acquire a seed of choice, I would recommend: organic broccoli seeds or organic alfalfa seeds
- Soak 1-2 tbsp of seeds in a mason jar in a dark place for 2 days, changing the water 2-3 times a day. If you forget to change the water at least twice a day, throw them out. It is possible to have the seeds go bad if contaminated. It is not worth it. I assume everyone has mason jars- otherwise they are hard to find for a fair price due to the pandemic and manufacturing delays.
- This lid makes it easy to rinse and change the water of the seeds. After soaking for ~2days, then flip upside down after rinsing. To suspend the mason jar, this is a nice sprouting rack. Continue to rinse 2-3 times daily, if you miss a day, throw them away.
- Over the course of 1 week you will watch your seeds sprout, and when they are about ~1inch long, crisp healthy green color, they are ready to supplement any meal or snack – salad, sandwiches, etc. Cooking sprouts deactivates most of their benefits.
- You can store them in the mason jar in the fridge, which will halt their growth, continue to wash prior to use.
- Other pointers: HYGEINE- make sure you handle your mason jar and lid with clean hands, and never let the lid sit in its own drainage puddle. I leave mine over a small plate that I have to remove the water daily. You can tell if your sprouts have gone bad by off-odors, visible mold, or other questionable colors varying from healthy green.
Benefits of sprouts:
- Eating nutrient dense foods keeps you satiated longer.
- Broccoli sprouts are high in Diindolymethane (DIM) which helps the liver breakdown inflammatory estrogens (not all estrogens are created equal, eg 2-hydroxy, 4-hydroxy, vs 16-hydroxy estrogen). Living in a world with excess xenobiotics (plastics, chemicals) it’s too easy to have unhealthy estrogens.
- They are high in sulforaphane which has proven anti-cancer benefits and considered one of the healthiest compounds to have in your nutrition.