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How to sprout safely at home

With my first sprouting ‘experiment’ an overwhelming success – not just with you lovely ladies but with my family – I thought now was the perfect time to revisit this home grown veggie technique.

It’s easier than many think to create the sprouts that add so much flavour and texture to those springtime favourites. As well as creating utterly delicious dishes, sprouting seeds, and kernels unlocks an impressive list of benefits.

Sprouting actively boosts nutritional value, and eliminates those troublesome, gas-producing starches. It reduces the cooking time of legumes to make midweek meals a breeze too. While scientific evidence is limited regarding the exact benefits of sprouting, sprouting enthusiasts regularly shout about a number of plus-points.

Overall health is thought to be improved by incorporating more sprouts into your diet, with sprouts said to help improve digestion, lower cholesterol, aid weight management, support immunity, and enhance skin health to name but a few advantages that enthusiasts highlight. But where on Earth do you begin when reaping these rewards at home? Start growing your own sprouts at home with our handy guide.

Choose your seeds

So many grains, nuts, beans and seeds can be sprouted, which makes choosing your first seeds or kernels to germinate a little daunting. Alfalfa green, aduki, broccoli, clover, mung bean, chickpea, and radish sprouts are all great for first timers.

Whatever your chosen seed, remember soaking and sprouting times vary accordingly. Sprout People offers some great guidance on sprouting times and other sprouting basics.

Exercise caution

Whilst there are many plus-points to enjoying sprouts at home, there are also some risks that you need to be aware of as Dr. Axe details:

“It’s important to be careful about how you sprout your own seeds. Raw sprouts have the potential to grow bacteria that can potentially be harmful. According to reports, commercially grown raw sprouts have emerged as a significant source of foodborne illness in the United States. For example, they’ve been associated with the pathogenic bacteria Salmonella and E. coli.”

Sprout safely by working in a sterile setting. Choose nuts, seeds and beans that are of the raw variety and certified pathogen free where possible.

Rinse seeds and kernels before soaking and make sure all sprouting containers (a large bowl or mason jar will do) are fully sanitised.

Soak in water

Once the seeds, beans or grains have been thoroughly cleaned, add them to your sterile container, and fill with water.

As a rule of thumb, you should put double the amount of water in with the grains to counter absorption. Any floating grains or debris should be removed at this stage.

Cover the top of the container with a cheesecloth and secure. Soak at room temperature for between 3 and 12 hours. The soaking time will vary from seed to seed.

Drain and repeat

Once soaked, drain the water through the cheesecloth. Rinse the whole lot in fresh water and drain again thoroughly. Repeat the process at least twice a day for the next four to five days until the seeds sprout. The newly sprouted seeds or kernels can then be enjoyed in a tasty salad, sandwich, stir-fry or other meal.

In addition, these sprouts will be good to eat for the next three to four days. I also freeze my sprouts so they can be added to soups and salads later, but make sure they are dry before freezing flat.

Just grown your first sprouts? Check out these delicious sprout recipes for inspiration on where to use them.

we all need to nourish in order to flourish

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