My entry on my own experimentation on sprouting, HERE.

Doctors today are telling us to eat less meat and dairy. What other ways can we get our protein? We can’t eat fish all the time.

Beans and grains are a time-honored way to get plenty of protein with low fat, high fiber and no cholesterol. Sprouts: Alfalfa, Mung Bean, and Bean Mix, are beans that have been sprouted and are a wonderful option for a variety of vegetarian meals.

A sprout is produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable.

Sprouts can grow from the seeds of the vegetables above, from seeds of other vegetables, from grains such as buckwheat, and from beans.

Sprouts vary in texture and taste. Some are spicy (radish and onion sprouts), some are hardy and are often used in oriental food (mung bean), others are more delicate (alfalfa) and are used in salads and sandwiches to add texture and moistness.

A Little Bit of History

Medicinally and nutritionally, sprouts have a long history. It has been written that the Ancient Chinese physicians recognized and prescribed sprouts for curing many disorders over 5,000 years ago. Sprouts have continued to be a main staple in the diets of Americans of Oriental descent. Although accounts of sprouting appear in the Bible in the Book of Daniel, it took centuries for the West to fully realize its nutrition merits.
In the 1700′s, sailors were riddled by scurvy (lack of Vitamin C) and suffered heavy casualties during their two to three year voyages. From 1772-1775, Captain James Cook had his sailors eat limes, lemons and varieties of sprouts; all abundant holders of Vitamin C. These plus other fresh fruits and vegetables and a continuous program of growing and eating sprouts were credited with the breakthrough, thus solving the mariners’ greatest casualty problem.

Reasons to Sprout


The tiny seeds are packed with stored nutrients just waiting for the moisture to start the germination process. Germination is simply the birth and growth of a baby plant and it is both fascinating and wonderful just like the birth of a child.

A common sunflower seed, for example, is only 1/4 inch long, but it contains the blueprint necessary to provide for the development of a 6 foot plant. A grain of wheat, increases its vitamin E content 300% after only 2 days of growth and the B2 vitamin riboflavin jumps from 13 milligrams to 54 mg in the sprout. In general, b vitamins can increase 300% to 1400% depending on the variety.

Enzymes that start the chemical process of a developing plant are abundant in sprouts and help with digestion. Protein production in sprouts is quite dramatic since it is needed for the growth and development of cells.

Alfalfa sprouts contain 3.8% protein and sunflower sprouts contain 4.0% This compares with Boston and Bibb lettuce which contain 1.2%, New Zealand spinach 2.6%, and Iceberg lettuce less than 1% protein. Minerals also increase during germination. The potassium content of alfalfa sprouts is 870 mg (per 100g), while Boston lettuce has 264mg.

Alfalfa has 210mg calcium and New Zealand spinach 2.6mg. The addition of liquid kelp to the soak and or rinse water increases mineral content to levels that are as much or more than growing the plants in soil.

Economy and Ecology
Sprouts are an excellent way to feed your family for very little money. A pound of alfalfa greens for example starts with only 5 tablespoons of seeds costing about 25 cents.
Where else can you get organically grown greens for that price! Even if you do get organic produce, it often comes from far away. The costs of transporting food across continents or international borders is driven by politics, price of oil and other factors we cannot control and which do not serve the farmer or the consumer. When you grow your own, you get the freshness factor.
Let’s face it, a head of lettuce that is picked a week ago, transported across the country, stored in a warehouse and on grocery shelves is not as vibrant as the one fresh picked from your garden. Sprouts are alive and grow right up to the time you put them on your plate.
The nutrients are in their prime and the enzymes are abundant. This “live food factor” delivers to us all of nature’s secret ingredients that old produce no longer has to offer.
Is it organic? Of course! You can be sure because you are the grower. No questions about organic verification are necessary. A harvest of home-grown indoor organic greens and beans is available year-round whether you live in Hawaii or Alaska, in January or July.
Easy to Grow
The sprouts grow themselves. All you have to do is keep them warm and moist. New techniques such as using a sprout bag (designed for sprouting) instead of a jar, make sprouting fast and simple. Just dip the bag in water twice per day. It literally takes seconds! You can grow bushels of fresh young sprouts in little space and little time. Green thumb not required
To make the sprout
Any container that provides drainage, aeration is rustproof and easy to sanitize is adequate. Stainless steel or plastic is most commonly used. Size depends on the scale of the sprout operation and the amount of been seed to be sprouted. Mung beans increase in size about 6 fold when sprouting is completed. This can be used to determine the volume or pounds of seed needed and the size of sprouting container required.
When using round sprouting containers such as 2.5 to 5-gallon plastic pails equipped with drains, use about 3-4 lb of seed in a 2.5 to 3-gallon pail or about 5 to 7 lb seed in a 3 to 5-gallon pail.
Some sprouting operations will use perforated bottom plastic trays in which the sprouts are to be marketed. This is preferred or even required by some buyers.
Under proper conditions 4-5 days are required from the start of the sprouting process until the sprouts are ready for consumption.
Use only untreated seed, not seed treated for planting purposes. Treated seed is usually dyed, but may not be. Be sure to check if this is not known.
Wash seed thoroughly, picking out any foreign material, and obviously blemished seeds.
Soak seed in lukewarm water (90-95 F) for 2 to 4 hours, or at room temperature (68-72 F) overnight. This is to bring all the seed to a uniform moisture content, and to begin the germination processes in the seed. Drain and rinse. Place in sprouting containers if different from the soaking container.
For thicker, yet tender sprouts, which are preferred, apply a weight of about 0.5 ounce per square inch of surface area across the seed (a 2-lb weight would be needed over the seed for an 18-inch diameter pail). Weights should be cushioned. This can be done by placing a porous pad between the seed and a perforated piece of rigid plastic (for ease of cleaning) or board on top of which the necessary weights are set. Air and rinse water temperature manipulations may also be used to manipulate sprout characteristics.
Maintain a sprouting temperature of 70-80 F during the entire sprouting period (about 5 days) for best quality sprouts. Temperatures of between 80 and 85 F result in slightly quicker growth but produce more elongated sprouts. Sprinkle thoroughly with lukewarm water (70 F) every 4 to 6 hours, allowing the water to drain completely each time, for maximum flushing of accumulated carbon dioxide and metabolic wastes and to provide adequate aeration and oxygen flow. Watering frequency may be reduced to 6-8 hour intervals per day during the fourth and fifth days. Water temperature and frequency of watering are particularly important during the second day of sprouting to maintain the desired temperature, since this is the time that the greatest amount of heat is generated by the sprouting seeds. Sprouting seed must not be allowed to overheat or stand in water since anaerobic conditions will develop, the seed may die or decay, and bacterial contamination may result.
Alfalfa seeds are the easiest to start off with. You can purchase the seeds at a health food or bulk food store. Get a coffee jar, peanut butter jar or other type of jar that is about one quart size. Put one tablespoon of alfalfa seeds in the bottom of the jar. Don’t use too many seeds or you’ll get clumps of seeds that do not sprout. Put a square of cheesecloth or nylon stocking over the mouth of the jar and secure it by putting an elastic band around the opening of the jar. Pour water on the seeds to cover them plus a couple of inches and let the seeds soak overnight.
After soaking, drain the water through the screening. Twice a day, pour water onto the seeds, swish it around and drain the water off. Keep the bottle of seeds in a dark place or keep it on the counter with a cloth covering it. Tilt the bottle on its side and let the seeds spread around on the sides of the jar to give them lots of room to expand.
The sprouting process takes about 4-5 days. On the last day, when the sprouts are about 1 inch, put the jar in a sunny window for about 4 hours. The leaves will turn green during this time from the development of chlorophyll and then your sprouts will be ready to enjoy!
This sprouting method can be used with a variety of different seeds, grains and beans. With soy bean and chick peas, rinse four times a day and make sure they are well drained or they’ll rot. The following is a time table for sprouting with the desired length of each type of sprout and how long it should take.
Make sure the seeds have plenty of air circulation and throw out any that are not sprouting. Most seeds sprout well at about room temperature. Seeds will store for about 4 to 6 days in the refrigerator.
Light is not necessary in the germination process. Light will cause some green color to develop in the primary leaf. Greening is considered a defect in many types of sprouts.
Sprouts are ready to harvest after 4-5 days. If used, remove the weights and rinse the seed coats out of the seed as much as possible. Removing excess water just before packaging, using a centrifuge or other means, enhances keeping quality if care is exercised to avoid damaging the sprouts. The sprouts are then ready to use, process, or package for sale.
Presently, sprout production and use has increased. An endless variety of seeds are used. In general, sprouting requirements are similar to those described above. Variations in production include the use of small amounts of light for the greening of leaves of some sprouts such as cress, and the obvious lack of need for weights for others such as radish. Temperature is the most important variable with different types of sprouts. Keep in mind whether the vegetable is a cool or warm season crop when experimenting with different sprouting temperatures.
Sprouts are grown from peas, chickpeas (garbanzo), lentils, alfalfa, radish, cress, buckwheat, rye and wheat, but the market generally handles primarily mung, alfalfa, radish and cress sprouts, and in some cases mixes of some of these.
Sprouts of broccoli and other brassicas have recently been found to contain large quantities of inducers of enzymes that protect against carcinogens. Levels of these inducers are 10-100 times larger than than found in broccoli heads.  ”Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens.” Other brassica sprouts containing large quantities of the inducers include arugula, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, crambe, daikon, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, red radish, turnip, and watercress.
Sprout seeds
Sprouting grains, beans, almonds and other seeds is a much overlooked way to use these basic foods. You’ll find ways to use sprouts in various recipes in this section. You’ may also use them in place of green leaves in the winter. As a sandwich filling sprouts give body ad flavour. The followings and table will show how simple it is to prepare sprouts. Use dry beans, whole hulled sunflower and similar seeds, and shelled, unbalance almonds.
Soak seeds in water overnight in a mason jar. Next morning, drain off the water and rinse the seeds until the water runs clear. Drain well. Place a stainless steel screen in a metal ring or cheesecloth with a rubber band over the jar opening to hold in the seeds. Large seeds may be grown and rinsed in a colander.
Set the jar on its side, and rinse the seeds two to three times a day for one to four days. Refrigerate the sprouts when they are ready.
Variety No of days Amount of seeds Serving suggestions Health benefits
Alfalfa 3-4 1-1/2 Tablespoon Raw in salads, sandwiches, or chopped in Baked goods Vitamin C, carotene, chlorophyll, vitamin.K and many other nutrients
Almonds 1 1 cup Raw or roasted snacks, salads, hors d’oeuvres Lower blood cholesterol level, reduce heart disease, rich in vitamin E and useful source of calcium
Adzuki beans (or azuki beans) 2-3 1 cup Cook until tender and use in ban salad or chili favourable calcium to phosphorous ratio (4:1) for helping preventing osteoporosis
Black beans (Black turtle bean) 1-3 1 cup Cook and serve on tortillas or other flat breads. Use in bean soup.

Beneficial to kidneys and reproductive function and diuretic effect. Black bean juice is effective for hoarseness, laryngitis, kidney stones, bed wetting, urinary difficulty, and hot flashes of menopause.

* see preparation and dosage

Garbanzo beans (chick pea) 1-2 1 cup Cook until tender and use to make hummus or toss in salad or soup. Beneficial to pancreas, stomach, and heart. Contains more iron than other legumes and is also a good source of unsaturated fats.
Lentils 1-3 1 cup For lentil soup and cooked for lentil salad Diuretic effect, beneficial to the heart and circulation, stimulates the adrenal system, and increases vitality of the kidney.
Mung beans (The common Chinese sprouts) 2-3 1 cup In Chinese recipes, salads, in a miso soup and as stir-fried vegetables. Detoxifies the body, beneficial to the liver and gall bladder and diuretic effect.
Soybeans 2-4 1 cup Cook until tender, add to salads, mash for Sandwich spread Helps lower risk of heart disease, eases constipation and improves intestinal health, Steadies blood sugar level, rich in iron, Calcium and potassium, ease menopausal Symptoms, and may reduce the risk of breast Cancer breast Cancer
Sunflower seed 1-2 1 cup toasted or raw for snacks, tabbouleh fruit salads Provides good levels vitamin E and B-vitamin and Iron. Contains linoleic acid that lower blood Cholesterol levels and prevention of heart Diseases
How to use  ”Ideas” –

Add to tossed salads
Use in coleslaw (cabbage, clover, radish)
Try in potato salad (mung bean, lentil)
Try in wraps and roll-ups (alfalfa, sunflower, radish)
Stir-fry with other vegetables (alfalfa, clover, radish, mung bean, lentil)
Blend into fruit shakes or juices (cabbage, mung bean, lentil)
Blend with vegetable juices (cabbage, mung bean, lentil)
Replace celery in sandwich spreads (lentil, radish)
Mix with soft cheeses for a dip (mung bean, radish)
Grind up and use in sandwich spreads (lentil, radish)
Top grilled cheese sandwiches after grilling (alfalfa, clover)
Stir into soups or stews when serving (mung bean, lentil)
Mix into pancake or waffle batter (buckwheat)
Eat them fresh and uncooked in a sprout salad (salad mixes)
Top omelet or scrambled eggs (alfalfa, clover, radish)
Combine in rice dishes (fenugreek, lentil, mung bean)
Add to sushi (radish, sunflower)
Saute with onions (mung bean, clover, radish)
Puree with peas or beans (mung bean, lentil)
Add to baked beans (lentil)
Steam and serve with butter (mung bean, lentil)
Use in sandwiches instead of lettuce (alfalfa, clover, radish)
Where to Buy
You can buy seeds for sprouting in stores, just be sure they are raw,  it is possible to buy them online but they are much much more expensive.
I personally purchased a sprouting set from online and a variety pack of seeds, I did this because it was important to me to have a variety to try what I liked I only knew I liked Alfalfa, bean sprouts, and radish sprouts. But I will buy them in bulk from markets that offer them in my area, if your not sure where to buy, ask friends where they shop organic, most often thats here you will find bulk bins.
You can also buy several varieties in the grocery store, bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts are the most readily available.
Food Storage and Your Sprouts
This is very important because this is why I even bothered with researching sprouts at all. You can save sprouts and for the most part they have shelf lives of 2-5 years in the raw untreated form. But its important to keep them in a breathable container, vacuum sealing or oxygen absorbers are not the answer because they will no longer be viable for growth as sprouts.  I have seen it recommended in more than one place to keep them in canning jars that you can open every few months and let fresh air into them.
I recommend 1lb of seed per month, I have seen other sites claim to advise 1 pound of seed per person per month, but I would think you would be constantly eating greens that way and since I don’t eat them constantly, and you should use what you store, I don’t think that such a large amount in my family is viable. Not for the long haul.

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