Lots of parents know a sure fire way to trick their kids into eating healthy, have them help you grow food! When Fall and Winter come around, there’s no running out to the garden to grab a tomato, especially in the Pacific Northwest. There’s an easy way to grow fresh food indoors and get some superior nutrition for your children at the same time – sprouting! Just check out the antioxidant info/cancer preventive properties of broccoli sprouts! While you’re at it, you can give your kids a science lesson or two.
Sprouting has been a popular method of providing fresh food with great nutrition for many years. In the early days of its popularity, most growers just used a Mason jar with a cheesecloth or mesh lid. Now, there’s tons of different equipment to make your sprouting as easy as can be. The Mason jar remains the most popular. Sprouting has one small danger, bacteria like salmonella and e coli. You can lessen the danger dramatically by following some simple rules:
- Always purchase Certified Organic sprouting seeds (there’s never been a problem with certified seeds)
- Wash your seeds before soaking
- Rinse with the highest pressure from your sink
You can find more detailed information on sprouting from the link below. The basic directions are:
- Wash your seeds, remove any debris. Non-chlorinated water is best.
- Add 1-2 Tablespoons of seeds to your jar, cover with 2-3 inches of warm water. Soak overnight.
- Drain using cheesecloth (attached to jar with a rubber band) or a specialty sprouting lid.
- Rinse very well, twice a day until they are the desired size. This can take 1-7 days depending on the seed.
- Store in the fridge inside a food storage bag with a paper towel. Eat within a few days.
Sprouts are great on sandwiches, in soups and in dips. You can ‘hide’ them in food like meatloaf to give your kids, and yourself, a good nutritional boost!
Detailed information on sprouts:
FDA Warning on sprouts
After several incidents of bacteria outbreaks, the FDA added this warning to store bought sprouts. A great reason to grow your own! Always buy Certified Organic.
Sprouts in soups, salads and dips
Sprouts can be used in various dishes including soups, salads and sandwiches. Think outside the box by using them in meals like meatloaf, casseroles and burritos. You could even blend them up and add them to sauces, etc.
Mung beans growing in a jar
Mung beans growing in a jar with a meshed lid. A good choice for kids to grow because Mung beans are super easy to sprout. Add them to stir fry for the best taste. 3-5 days to sprout.
Alfalfa sprouts for sandwiches and salads
Alfalfa sprouts may be the most recognizable sprouts. They are used most often in sandwiches and salads and have a very mild taste. A good ‘starter’ sprout for kids to eat. 5-6 days to sprout.
Mixed bean sprouts, all organic
Organic mixed bean sprouts are very tasty and crunchy. These also make great baby greens. Try making egg rolls and fried rice with these. Of course, the standard sandwiches, salads and soups are all improved with mixed bean sprouts. 3-5 days to sprout.
Spicy radish sprouts
A big favorite! Radish sprouts have a wonderful, spicy taste that accents almost any dish. Great mixed with Mung bean sprouts in Asian salads with soy sauce dressing, Spring rolls and on sandwiches. 4-5 days to sprout.
Broccoli sprouts to prevent cancer
Broccoli sprouts look like Alfalfa sprouts but actually taste like radishes! It is believed that when eaten, they provide antioxidants to stimulate the ability of cells to protect against disease, primarily cancer. Fantastic instructions for broccoli sprouts HERE.
Clover sprouts, easy to grow
Clover sprouts are fun and easy to grow. They can go bad quickly so you really have to stay on top of them! Natural medicine suggests that clover sprouts offer relief from hormonal issues for women. 5-6 days to sprout.
The wait – sprout jar
The waiting is the fun part! Kids love growing things and sprouts provide quick results with big satisfaction. Jars are great, but check out the other methods for sprouting HERE.