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Food for Thought: See What’s Sprouting

By Janet Verney.

(October 29, 2020) — As the weather gets chilly here in the northeast and we spend more time indoors, a fun project for all ages, is sprouting! I don’t know about you, but it is this time of year that I truly miss my garden and being able to grow my own foods, so this gives me a bit of that indoors.

Sprouts and microgreens are considered the king & queen of all the greens. They are a raw, “LIVING” foods that are still growing when you eat them. They pack a positive nutritional punch and are filled with great protein. Some of the other praise I’ve heard over the years of these tiny greens include: high levels of phytonutrients, antioxidants, anti-cancer benefits, high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Not a bad resume for a little sprout!

Below are three ways to grow these wonderful superfoods.

Sprouts: There are many varieties of sprouts available for growing (broccoli, onion, fenugreek, lentil, adzuki, radish, mung, clover, alfalfa, etc.). Try a new one from time to time and see which ones you like best. You can also purchase a blended variety pack. Each type has its own nutritional benefits, but they are all so good for you.

Sprouting Instructions:

  1. Soak 1-2 tablespoons of seeds overnight in a wide-mouth, 2-cup glass mason jar with a sprouting lid (lids can be found on Amazon, or often at your local health food store).
  2. Drain and rinse seeds in the morning and turn upside down onto a platter, slightly tilted to maintain airflow. At this stage it is best to keep them out of direct light.
  3. Rinse and drain seeds twice daily for 3-4 days until you see a little tail emerge from the seed.
  4. Now it’s time to place them in a sunny window. Continue to rinse and drain for another day or two.
  5. On the last day of rinsing, allow the sprouts to drain during the day or overnight, then cover with a solid lid and place in the refrigerator. The sprouts will continue to grow, but more slowly in the colder temperature of the fridge.
  6. Sprouts usually keep well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Discard if they look slimy or start to get brown.

Shoots: My personal favorites are pea and sunflower shoots. They are wonderful in salads or for juicing. Together they make a complete amino acid and are super high in protein. To juice them, you will need a juicer, not a blender. I love my Omega, model 8006, which I bought on Amazon in 2013 and it’s still going strong! Here is my go-to juicing recipe that I have first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach and at least a half hour before having anything to eat.

Green Smoothie

  • 1 handful of pea-shoots
  • 1 handful of sunflower-shoots
  • 1 small organic cucumber
  • 4 stalks of organic celery
  • ¼ – ½ sliced organic green apple (optional)
  • 1” piece of organic ginger, not peeled (optional)

Shoots Instructions:

  1. Soak 1 cup of shoot seeds overnight in a wide-mouth, 4-cup glass mason jar with a sprouting lid. NOTE: sunflower shoots will float to the top so it is best to use a small cup to keep them submerged in the water for soaking overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse seeds in the morning and turn upside down onto a platter, slightly tilted to maintain airflow. At this stage it is best to keep them out of direct light.
  3. Rinse and drain seeds twice daily for 3-4 days until you see a little tail emerge from the seed.
  4. Rinse one final time in the morning and allow to drain for 4-8 hours before planting, or placing in a water sprouting container.
  5. If you are going with soil rather than the water method, add about one inch of organic potting soil to a 10×21” black plastic tray. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and cover with about ¼ inch of soil. Mist with water and place the tray where it will get indirect light. For optimal growth, it needs to be kept in 70-80 degree temps.
  • If you choose to grow them with the water method, you will need to purchase the trays & the lid on Amazon and follow the enclosed instructions. I am new to this method and have found that the sunflower-shoots are prone to getting moldy with all the water, so I am still experimenting with this process.
  1. Water lightly each day as needed, but you do not want soggy soil.
  2. When the shoots are 3-4” high, give them a haircut, a section at a time, or all at once and store in the refrigerator. They keep about a week in the fridge.

Microgreens: These baby greens are far superior to their fully grown versions.  They are filled with high levels of vitamins & minerals and phytonutrients.  They are great in salads & wraps.

  1. Add about one inch of organic potting soil to a 10×21” black plastic tray. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and cover with a dusting of soil. Mist with water and place the tray where it will get indirect light. For optimal growth, it needs to be kept in 70-80 degree temps.
  2. Water daily, but not soggy.
  3. When the microgreens are 3-4” high, give them a haircut a section at a time, or all at once and store in the refrigerator. They keep about a week in the fridge.

I hope you give this sprouting a try, have fun doing it, and enjoy the results!

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at connect@roots2wellness.com. Until next time!

Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives!  Also known as the Gut Guru, Janet oversees IIN’s advanced course in Gut Health. Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at connect@roots2wellness.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com. 

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