The Ultimate Guide To
Sprouts are one of the most incredibly nutritious, affordable and easy to grow foods we have available. They are one of very few edible plants that can be grown with limited exposure to the sun, which is why sprouting should be an important part your survival strategy.
Sprouts are a living food.
Plant based foods in their original and uncooked form are what we call a “living” or “raw” food. Once any food has been cooked or heated, it loses essential vitamins and nutrients and becomes a dead food. Living foods still contain all the life giving nutrients (enzymes, oxygen, vitamins, nutrients and chlorella) that are absolutely vital to the proper maintenance of the human body.
Sprouting at home can help improve your health and provide fresh food during emergencies. In this booklet we will teach you everything you need to know about preparing, purchasing, growing and harvesting a year round organic sprout garden right in your own kitchen.
Ounce for ounce sprouts are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. According to Sproutpeople.com and Wikipedia sprouts contain:
- Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K,
- Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Zinc, Chlorophyll, Phosphorus, Niacin, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid
- Trace Elements
- All amino acids
- Protein: up to 35%”
Sprouts are alkalizing to the body
Most modern diets are incredibly acidic, which leads to weak bone, fatigue, weight gain and an out of balance digestive system. Eating alkalizing foods like sprouts help to balance the diet and lead to better overall health.
Sprouting helps your digestive system
Sprouts help to neutralize something called phytic acid, an acid in your body that binds with minerals like calcium, iron, copper, zinc and magnesium. When phytic acid is bonded to those nutrients your body is unable to absorb them. Sprouts will allow you to absorb these nutrients better, which help nutrient absorption from any food that you eat.
Sprouts also help to neutralize enzyme inhibitors, allowing healthy enzymes to operate. Adding them to your regular diet can also help with the breakdown of complex carbohydrates and sugars and turn them into glucose molecules making them easier for your body to digest. It has been suggested that sprouts even deactivate a carcinogen found in grains call “aflotoxins”.
*Under certain conditions food borne illnesses can occur during the sprouting process. Although this is somewhat rare (like with raw milk) since sprouts are grown in moist, warm conditions bacterial growth can occur. However most sprouting seeds are tested for bacteria and as long you use uncontaminated seeds and use clean equipment and water and refrigerate your sprouts the risk of bacteria is almost 0.
More on Sprouting Nutrition
Sprouting kits and seeds are very affordable, particularly if you obtain seed from a farm store and buy in bulk. Some stores have 20 lbs of seeds for about 20 dollars; remember that a few tablespoons can fill up an entire jar with sprouts. A small package of live sprouts can cost 5 dollars or more at the grocery store.
Growing your own sprouts requires very minimal effort to get started. It’s easy, quick and fun. Get the kids involved and make it part of your routine. With a few minutes a day for 3-5 days you have a week or more worth of sprouts. See easy how growing your own sprouts can be.
When you sprout, or grow anything yourself, you are helping the environment by reducing the amount of energy and thereby reducing the amount of carbon emissions that are needed to bring food to your table.
Sprouts are a great survival food. Most stored foods loose nutrients over time; additionally cooked foods lose a great deal of the initial nutritional value. Sprouts are a quick and cheap food that can supplement the rest of your food storage.
What to Sprout?
There are many different options for which seeds you can sprout, the most popular being alfalfa and mung bean sprouts (what you’ve most likely seen in the store).
Popular Sprouts include:
- -Mung beans
- -Snow, Green Pea
- -Garbanzo bean
- -Chinese Cabbage
- -Lentils (French, green, red)
- -Black Eyed peas
- - Black, Kidney Beans
Sprouting Instructions and Dietary Information for Individual Seed Types
Where to buy
Many local stores carry sprouting seeds. Some good places to look are health stores, preparedness stores, farm stores (not always best for consumption). Some great sites to buy online are:
Once you have sprouting seeds you will need to purchase or make a sprouter.
The jar method of sprouting is one of the easiest ways to sprout. You can create your own using a mason jar and some kind of screen like cheesecloth, mesh or metal screens. Cheesecloth is probably the easiest and most sanitary method; you will need a rubber band to secure it to the top of your jar. There are also several pre-made options like the Sprouting Jar from Handy pantry shown here.
Another great method for sprouting is known as “the bag method” or sometimes the hemp bag method. Some people swear by the bag method, saying that it has better air circulation and drainage than other methods, which allows for high yields and better sprouts. Some debate exists about bag sprouting however; some have suggested mold is more common with the bag method. Since sprouting bags are very affordable and easy to transport, they are a great option.
There are several different types of sprouting trays available like the popular Sproutmaster and the Sprout Garden. A huge advantage of the tray system is you can grow a lot more sprouts and use less space. The only real drawback to using a tray sprouter is that they are slightly more expensive and slightly more difficult to use. For larger production a tray is a great option, if you don’t need a lot of sprouts one of the other methods would be preferable.
Make Your Own
A simple sprouter can be made easily with a mason jar and some cheesecloth. Simply attach the cheesecloth to the top of your mason jar with a rubber band and you’re done. Below are some great tutorials on other Do-It-Yourself sprouters.
How to Sprout
There are several different ways you can sprout but the basics apply to every method.
Soak Your Seeds – Soak your seeds in warm water (NOT hot water) for about 24 hours, smaller seeds can be soaked for 6-12 hours. Make sure that you use purified water, as contaminates from water can be absorbed into the seeds and in turn pass it on to you. Also many states use chlorine and fluoride in the public water, water with these chemicals should be avoided if possible.
Drain – The next day once your seeds have had time to absorb the much needed water you will need to drain the jar. Use your cheesecloth or covering here so that you can drain the water and keep all your seeds.
Store Away From Light – Set your jar or cloth away from light in a warm place. A popular option is to place the jar in a kitchen cabinet. For proper airflow and drainage you jar should be place angling down like pictured. Some people say to store your jar upside down but this is a mistake because you will be covering your lid, blocking airflow and reducing the space your seeds have to grow.
Rinse, Rinse, Rinse – Everyday you will need to rinse your seeds, drain them and put them back into the angled position. Rinsing your seeds 2-3 times a day is recommended for most types of seeds. By the 3-5 day your sprouts should be ready for the next step.
Put out in the sun - The final step to your sprouts is exposing them to sun, this will allow them to absorb chlorophyll which will add the green color to your sprouts as well as help your sprouts develop nutrients. Most seeds only require a few hours of sun exposure, but it will vary depending on what seed you are using.
Harvest and Enjoy – A common question is how do I know when my sprouts are done? Some of it is guesswork, but with seeds you will see green leaves and with beans, nuts and grains you will see white chutes. Basically they should look like the photos below. This site has great info on when to harvest different seed types
If you see mold on your sprouts, or notice any other odd things DO NOT eat them. If you do have mold on your sprouts here are a few things you might consider doing differently next time to prevent it.
- -Improve air circulation. Although cabinets work most of the time, sometimes you will not have enough fresh air flowing to your seeds. If this is the case try some other dark location, or add a small fan to improve circulation.
- -Make sure your seeds are properly drained. Poor drainage is a leading cause of mold, that’s why we angle our jars.
- -Clean your sprouter and any equipment used in the process (including your hands)
- -Try using colder water during rinses and consider adding an additional rinse per day
- -Consider switching to a different sprouter