I love sprouts! Don’t you?
What’s that? You don’t eat sprouts? I suppose I can understand that. They’re pretty expensive and once you get them home, they tend to turn to mush before you can eat them all, especially if everyone else in the family turns up their nose at “little green things.”
Whether or not anyone in the house besides you is interested in growing or eating sprouts, the fact remains that sprouting is a seriously healthy thing to do. Sprouted foods have a higher amino acid content, and are therefore a more accessible source of protein, than their unsprouted counterparts. Sprouting also increases the content of fiber, vitamins and essential fatty acids while improving the availability of minerals.
You can’t go wrong with the oxygen and chlorophyll available in sprouts, either. Chlorophyll is alkalizing, meaning that it counteracts acidic conditions in the body. Acidity can be insidious. Your blood needs to stay within a very specific pH range in order for you to be healthy, and if that gets thrown off by acid-forming foods (think meat, dairy, eggs and most everything else in the Standard American Diet), minerals get pulled from the bones and other vital places to balance the pH. But if you take in a lot of fresh, whole foods such as leafy greens and, of course, sprouts, your body is much more capable of maintaining proper blood pH.
Need another reason to start sprouting? How about the fact that sprouts have the highest concentration of phytonutrients per calorie of any food? Phytonutrients like carotenes, anthocyanins and isoflavones can only be found in plant foods, and they’re what give plants their health-improving properties and disease-fighting power. The more you can get from whole food sources, the better off your are, and since sprouts are so small, you can get a whole lot of phytonutrient bang for your buck by including them in your diet.
Now you’re thinking, “Okay, sprouts are awesome. But sprouting’s got to be complicated and messy and I barely have time to brush my teeth let alone babysit tiny green things.”
Don’t despair! Sprouting is really, really easy and you don’t have to invest a whole lot of time or money in it to get a bunch of tasty, healthy sprouts whenever you want. For those of us, like me, who have little or not sprouting experience and absolutely no free time whatsoever, there’s a great book called Homegrown Sprouts.
Written by Rita Galchus, a.k.a. Sprout Lady Rita, Homegrown Sprouts is a beautiful book jam-packed with information on every aspect of sprouting. It starts off with an introduction to the benefits of sprouts and sprouting before going into a comprehensive overview of several different types of sprouters:
- Jar sprouters
- Easy Sprouter
- Hemp sprouting bags
- Tray sprouters (regular and automatic)
- Terra cotta trays
- Wheatgrass and barley grass trays
Of course, you can’t get started with sprouting without something to sprout, so Galchus explains that next, including the importance of choosing organic seeds to ensure that sprouts are free of pesticides and chemicals. And since you don’t want anything else unhealthy to befall your sprouts before you eat them, she includes information on how to care for sprouts while they’re growing and the best ways to store them once they’re ready to eat.
“Okay,” you’re thinking, “that’s all fine and good, but I have no idea how to sprout things.” That’s where Galchus’ comprehensive, step-by-step instructions come in handy. Complete with full-color pictures for many of the steps, she walks first-time sprouters through the methods necessary to sprout beans and legumes, grains, leafy green seeds, gelatinous seeds, shoots and grasses in just about every type of sprouter mentioned in the book’s introduction. Some sections include special instructions such as growing shoots and grasses in soil or a growing medium and how to grow microgreens. The section on grasses also offers a brief overview of juicers for those interested in making their own wheatgrass juice shots at home!
Of course, what would a book on sprouting be without some suggestions on what the heck to do with all the sprouts you get once you’ve sprouted? Galchus makes the point several times that sprouting is an economical endeavor. Depending on what you sprout, you can wind up with anywhere from 1.5 to 32 times the volume of what you started with. That means you’ll be nomming on sprouts for a long time.
So what do you do with 32 times the sprouts? With suggestions and simple recipes for hot or raw soups, sprout salads, sandwich options (including PB&Sprouts!) and even raw hummus, you can incorporate fresh, tasty little greens into your daily diet with hardly any effort. This part of the book also includes information on juicing, blending and dehydrating sprouts. Not every suggestion is a vegan one, but the book is extremely vegan-friendly overall given the fact that its focus is on turning staples of the vegan diet into powerhouses of nutrition. (Oh, and if you’re interested in sharing your sprouts with your pets, there are a couple of pages that go over that, too!)
The best resource in the book, in my opinion, is the “easy guide” chart near the back. It condenses all of the information on sprout measurements and yield, how to soak, how long to soak, the best sprouters for each type of seed and how long each takes to sprout into one easy-to-read chart. With this handy reference, it only takes a quick glance to refresh your memory on how to sprout just about anything.
Homegrown Sprouts is a fantastic resource for people who have never sprouted before, are getting back into sprouting or have just gotten a new type of sprouter. The simple layout makes it easy to read and easy to follow no matter what kind of sprouting you want to do. If you’re looking for a comprehensive resource for all things sprout-related, this book is it!
Are you completely jazzed about sprouting yet? One look at this book and you won’t be able to resist! You can enter to win your own copy just by leaving a comment on this entry telling me why you want to start sprouting (or, if you already sprout, what got you started). The contest runs through Saturday, June 14th @ 8pm EST. Good luck and happy sprouting!
Giveaway is now closed. A winner will be chosen and notified via e-mail by Monday, June 16th. Good luck to all who entered!