Thursday, February 19, 2009

An Easy Way to Boost Your Vitamin Intake

If you are wondering what in the world this is....well, it is a new effort we are making at providing more food for our family, as well as maintaining optimum health benefits. These are sprouts. The picture to the right is Alfalfa and to the left are the beginning of our broccoli sprouts. Sprouting is one of the easiest and most cost efficient ways to boost your minerals and vitamins. A sprout, at its optimum time for eating, may contain as much as 300 to 600% more vitamins and minerals than the plant fully grown. If you look at most of the green powders and such you get from the health food stores, they are loaded with sprouts! That is because sprouts are so good for you. And, for people like me who are renting our home and do not have the liberty of tilling up lots of ground for a garden, this is a great way to get started toward the simple life and toward a more healthy lifestyle. I bought a sprouting tray, but you do not have to do that to sprout. If you are looking for a great how to book, as well as a book that explains all the benefits of sprouting, I would recommend the book "Sprouts the Miracle Food" by Steve Meyerowitz. He is also known as the Sproutman! So, if you search Sproutman, you will come up with a lot of hits for him.

This is a closer view of our alfalfa sprouts. Whenever I have been to salad bars, I have always added alfalfa sprouts to my salad when they were available. But, honestly, they really had no taste to me. Now I know, after sprouting some of my own, that it was because all the flavor was probably taken from them during the shipping or storing process. Alfalfa sprouts are amazingly delicious and even have a sweet taste to them. Even my pickiest eater of my children loves to just take a handful and eat them just like that! You begin sprouting seeds first of all by getting the seeds. I buy organic because I want to start with a product that does not have any harsh chemicals. Then, I put about a couple of TBS in the bottom of a mason jar and fill the jar with distilled water and put the lid on to soak them overnight. The next day, I pour them in my tray and give them a good washing (about 30 seconds) with the spray hose from my sink. I do this two times a day. Every sprout gets to its optimum health level at different times. Alfalfa is about a 3 to 5 day process, not counting the overnight soaking. You can also sprout inside the jar as well. If you do this, you will need some kind of lid to help with proper drainage, or use cheese cloth so that all your sprouts do not fall out! :) You must have good drainage. So, after you water your sprouts, you drain the water out. They also need air circulation, which is why I prefer the tray. But, there are some sprouts that are better by sprouting with the tray, or even a sprout bag. What you don't want to see with your sprouts are the white fuzzies! That is the beginning of mold and it usually means that they are not getting enough water and proper air circulation. The great thing about the Sproutmans book is that he gives you all that information for almost every seed imaginable! So, give it a try and see how easy it is! Happy Sprouting!

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