By Larraine Roulston:
While raw veggies and fruits have enzymes, they are low in concentration compared to sprouted seeds. The differences in enzyme concentrations are enormous. At the sprout stage, a plant is at its highest nutritional value.
Growing sprouts is not only easy and fun but also a way for parents to provide their children with all the essential natural, organic vitamins and minerals they require. Also packed with proteins, enzymes and phytochemicals, sprouts have been shown to help digestion, increase energy levels and provide a boost to the immune system. Studies have also shown that mung and other types of sprouts contain high levels of a natural cancer fighting compounds. What’s more, everyone can afford to eat sprouts; they cost only pennies per day to grow.
Sprouting is a method of germinating seeds to be eaten either raw or cooked. It is a lifestyle change for families who are looking for a non-pharmaceutical path to improving health and wellness. It takes only a minute to put some beans into a sprouter. The next day you can watch them start to grow, and in a day or two they are ready to eat. They can be tossed into smoothies, placed on salads and cereals, added to a sandwich, eaten as a snack or put into a small lunchbox container. You can bake loaves of bread with sprouts, as shown on www.breadexperience.com.
A do-it-yourself sprouter can be made with two jars and some mesh or by placing a metal vegetable steamer into a bowl and covering it with a clear lid. After much experimenting with homemade sprouters, in 1999 Tony Hornick invented a more efficient method that would keep the sprouts out of the water while providing an easier way to rinse them. His design uses a shallow plastic tray, a raised stainless steel screen, and a clear bubble style lid.
With whatever sprouter you choose and the recommended beans such as mung, chickpea, lentils, adzuki or soybeans, you are ready to begin. Simply rinse a small handful of beans and set them on a screened tray over some water. Place the lid on top to retain moisture. Rinse the beans and change the water twice a day – every morning and evening works well. If sprouted beans are consumed daily, one pound of beans provides approximately a month’s supply of sprouts.
Teachers seeking practical and healthy fundraising ideas need not look any further than sprouts. Sprouter advocate, Cathy Nesbitt www.cathyssprouters.com, who teamed up with Hornick in 2012, states that she has had great success introducing sprouting to schools as a fundraising concept. Schools can begin with a minimum order of 10 sprouters and a large quantity of certified organic mung beans. Students then sell the units for a suggested retail price of $25.00 and bag the seeds themselves in 1/2- or 1-lb. bags that can be sold for $3.00 or $5.00 respectively. Once parents realize their true value, sprout kits make a great school fundraiser.
As Cathy says, “Sprouting is a big part of my health plan. I start my day with two tablespoons of sprouted mung beans and have done so for over 12 years.”
Tony’s passion in life is to share the benefits of sprouts and sprouting with as many people as possible.
Larraine Roulston writes the Pee Wee at Castle Compost adventure series. Visit www.castlecompost.com