Sprouted seeds, grains and beans is a healthy and fun way to bring fresh vegetables into your diet in the winter. Even if you don’t have the space for a garden, there is surely room for a few canning jars on your counter top.
Even those who don’t necessarily consider themselves “gardeners” can grow seeds for sprouting. Use this previous post from Self Reliant School to refresh your memory about how to sprout seeds
The goal here is to have a constant supply of fresh greens for your family. Not only will you save money on produce, you will find that sprouting gives you the ability to grow organically, have a constant supply of fresh food, and control what your family is eating.
As Jennifer says, sprouting is a quick way to get greens into your diet. “You can eat the seeds any time after they begin to sprout (as soon as they get those little tails) so that could be as soon as 3 days. It just depends on how you want to eat them.”
Sprouted Seed Characteristics
If you are a beginner to sprouting try many varieties and combinations to find what works best for your family. I’ve found that creating my own sprouting blend is the most cost effective.
There are certain seeds that have similar characteristics. You may wish to take this into consideration when you are creating your own sprouting blends. It can be hard to sprout large and small seeds in the same container.
Small seeds: Alfalfa, Arugula, Clover, Cress, Millet, Sesame
Grains: Barley, Buckwheat, Oats, Rye, Triticale, Wheat
Tender Beans: Mung Beans, Lentils
Hard Beans: Adzuki, Black, Garden Peas, Garbanzo (Chick Peas), Kidney, Lima, Navy, Pinto, Red, Soybean, White
Gelatinous Seeds: Chia, Flax, Garden Cress
Vegetable Seeds: Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Endive, Lettuce, Mustard, Onion, Radish, Turnips
Other Seeds: Almond, Pumpkin, Sunflower, Popcorn
As a general rule, sprouts are most nutritious when eaten raw, but they do retain some of their qualities when cooked. For a simple addition to any meal try steaming your sprouts for a few minutes, then toss with butter and serve as a cooked vegetable side dish.
You can also dry them in the dehydrator (low setting) and then grind them. Store the powder in a cool/dark place and add them when you’re baking or to beverages, desserts, and spreads. Use these dried sprouts anywhere you want an extra nutritional boost.
Sprouted Seed Recipes
These 5 recipes are perfect for introducing your family to fresh sprouts. Let’s get started!
Sprout Stuffed Tomatoes
1 cup lentil sprouts
4 medium size ripe tomatoes
1⁄2 cup chopped celery
1⁄4 cup chopped olives
1⁄2 cup shredded carrot
1⁄2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1⁄3 cup mayonnaise
Wash and clean the tomatoes by cutting off the stem end and removing the seeds. Sprinkle the inside of each tomato with salt, turn it upside down and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, divide into 4 equal parts and fill the tomato “cups.” Serve cold.
Cucumber Sprout Spread
1⁄2 cup mung bean sprouts
4 oz. cream cheese
2 oz. blue cheese (or substitute crumbled cheddar cheese)
1⁄2 cup grated cucumber
1⁄4 cup finely chopped celery
1 Tbsp. minced chives
2 Tbsp. chopped olives
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring the cream cheese to room temperature until it can be stirred (or purchase spreadable cheese). Finely chop the mung beans and fold them into the cream cheese. Combine the next 5 ingredients and make sure all excess water is drained. Incorporate them into the cream cheese mixture. Add salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Use this as a refreshing dip with chips and crackers, or as a sandwich filling using whole wheat bread, deli meat, and additional sprouts of your choice.
Wheat Sprout Baking Powder Biscuits
1 cup wheat sprouts
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. cream of tartar
1⁄2 cup shortening
2⁄3 cup milk
Sift the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening. Combine half of the milk with the wheat sprouts and add it to the dry ingredients. Add enough of the remaining milk to make soft dough. On a floured board, lightly knead the mixture no more than 5 times. Pat the dough into a rectangle ¾ inch thick and cut out 16 biscuits. Bake in a 400° oven for 15 minutes.
Pineapple Pinto Cake
1 1⁄2 cups cooked, mashed pinto bean sprouts
1 cup well-drained crushed pineapple
1 cup brown sugar
1 1⁄4 cup butter
1 egg (beaten)
1 1⁄4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
1⁄2 tsp. salt
optional: 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup chopped dates
Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare an 8x13 cake pan by buttering all sides and bottom. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the sugar, butter, vanilla and egg until well mixed. Stir in the mashed bean sprouts and pineapple to the wet mixture. Slowly begin adding the dry ingredients until well blended. Add the dates and nuts (if using). Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan and top with caramel frosting.
2 cups sprouted chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender
2 Tbsp. sesame tahini
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 1 1⁄2 tsp. Kosher salt (to taste)
Add the sprouted, cooked chickpeas to a blender. Add the other ingredients and process on low until it reaches the consistency you want. Dig in…it’s really that easy. You will never buy hummus again!
Recipe Resources for cooking with sprouts
Consider purchasing Sprouting for All Seasons - How and What to Sprout by Bertha B. Larimore for more recipes to incorporate sprouts into your family meals. You’ll be glad you learned this healthy way to garden in your kitchen.