Sprouting made easy
MUNCY – Although cold weather is upon us, there is still a way to produce fresh greens inside the home. This was well demonstrated when Suzie Styer from Lairdsville returned to the Muncy Public Library in mid October for a second program on harvesting foods. In the summer, she presented a program on microgreens.
While showing samples of sprouted seeds plus the seeds used to start a plateful of nutritious greens to sample, Styer, who is a vegetarian, explained the benefits of sprouting seeds. Health benefits alone are quite impressive. “They are super nutritious,” she said.
Sprouts are known to improve the digestive system, boost metabolism, increase enzymatic activity, prevent anemia, lower cholestrol, reduce blood pressure, improve the skin and vision and support the immune system among others.
Some of the seeds suggested to use are alfalfa, red clover, radish, mustard, mung beans, lentil and buckwheat. “You can sprout any seed,” Styer said but the ones mentioned had the most nutritional and medicinal benefits. Others listed on the handout she provided were clover, fenugreek, sunflower, arugula and garbanzo bean. Styer also provided kits made to start them,
To get started, use a clean jar, quart or gallon depending on the amount of sprouts you want to start. “Sanitize a quart jar for smaller seeds and add one tablespoon of seed,” said Styer. Filtered water is preferred.
Cover the seeds slightly with water, drain and soak for 8 hours. Covers for jars with holes to drain water can be purchased or use a cloth. “Rinse them twice a day with cool water, and they should be ready to consume in three days, or up to a week,” Styer said. For legumes and grains, a half gallon jar is recommended, and makes sprouting them easier. Larger seeds may take longer. “Keep in mind, temperature may affect the soaking and sprouting time.”
Also it is important to keep draining the seeds well, and to allow plenty of air circulation. Styer likes to invert hers and prop them at an angle as she demonstrated with two or three jars at a time.
Once they are ready to harvest, rinse well, remove hulls and drain thoroughly before eating.
Every two days Styer said she starts more seeds. They are easy to grow in small batches. She prefers to use high organic sprouting seeds and sells her product to local restaurants. Her family loves eating them and their texture alone make wonderful additions to sandwiches and salads. The vitamins and minerals provide medicinal health benefits. Organic compounds contain a significant amount of protein and fiber. The provided handout listed calcium, iron, vitamin C, magnesium, copper, zinc and just about every vitamin there is, including vitamin K.
“These nutrients only increase as the sprouts continue to grow and develop,” she added. For storing, they can be kept in glass or plastic containers, sealed tightly in the refrigerator for a few days.
For added reference, Styer pointed to Sproutpeople.org where there is a growing sprout section producing 30 different sprouts with profiles and recipes.
Seeds can be ordered online or through catalogs.
Those who were present for the program got to enjoy some sprouted seeds. Linda Strausser, director of the Muncy Public Library said she would like to schedule more food harvest programs for the winter calendar.