Sprouts are rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, beneficial enzymes and phytochemicals, as these are necessary for a germinating plant to grow. These nutrients are essential for human health.
Seeds that can be sprouted:
One of the most common sprouts is that of the mung bean (Vigna radiata); another common sprout is the Chickpeas & alfalfa sprout and the barley sprout.
Other seeds that can be sprouted include adzuki bean, almond, amaranth, annatto seed, anise seed, arugula, basil, brown rice, navy bean, pinto bean, lima bean, broccoli, buckwheat, cabbage, canola seed, caragana, cauliflower, celery, chia seed, chickpeas, chives, cilantro (coriander, dhania), clover, cress, dill, fennel, fenugreek, flax seed, garlic, hemp seed, kale, kamut, kat, leek, green lentils, lupins, pearl millet, mizuna, mustard, oats, onion, black-eyed peas, green peas, pigeon peas, snow peas, peanut, psyllium, pumpkin, quinoa, radish, rye, sesame, soybean, spelt, sunflower, tatsoi, triticale, watercress, and wheat berries.
Moisture, warmth, and in most cases, indirect sunlight are necessary for sprouting. Some sprouts, such as mung beans, can be grown in the dark. Little time, effort or space is needed to make sprouts.
To sprout seeds, generally the seeds are moistened, then left at room temperature (between 13 and 21 degrees Celsius) in a sprouting vessel. Many different types of vessels can be used. One type is a simple glass jar with a piece of cloth secured over its rim. ‘Tiered’ clear plastic sprouters are commercially available, allowing a number of "crops" to be grown simultaneously. By staggering sowings, a constant supply of young sprouts can be ensured. Any vessel used for sprouting must allow water to drain from it, because sprouts that sit in water will rot quickly. The seeds will swell and begin germinating within a day or two.
Sprouts are rinsed as little as twice a day, but possibly three or four times a day in hotter climates, to prevent them from souring. Each seed has its own ideal sprouting time. Depending on which seed is used, after three to five days they will have grown to two or three inches in length and will be suitable for consumption. If left longer they will begin to develop leaves, and are then known as baby greens. A popular baby green is sunflower after 7-10 days. The growth process of any sprout can be slowed or halted by refrigerating until needed.
Common causes for sprouts to become inedible:
Seeds are allowed to dry out
Seeds are left in standing water
Temperature is high or too low
Insufficient air flow
Contaminated source of water
Poor rate of germination of seed