Magic beans

Magic beans

Or, magic SEEDS, rather. They are…broccoli seeds

Broccoli seeds make broccoli sprouts, which are light, crunchy, flavorful, and have the slight bitter cruciferous taste like broccoli does. A delightful addition to salads, sandwiches or anything else that can be used as a vehicle for eating them.

Here’s the magical part: they are powerhouses of nutrients and vitamins, rich in antioxidants and enzymes, and even have a cancer-fighting quality due to its abundance of the anti-cancer phytochemical, sulforaphane. It’s like concentrating the nutritional benefits of three pounds of fully grown broccoli into a mouthful of green sprouts.

Sproutable Foods

In general, sprouting seeds, grains, or beans makes them more digestible. You know the rules for boiling beans: soak them overnight, discard the water, and they cook more efficiently and don’t give you… ehem, as much gas, right? This is because soaking initiates the sprouting process and also removes the phytic acid so that the minerals and vitamins can be assimilated by our bodies. When converting a seed, grain, or bean into it’s sprout form, though, they become more digestible because the proteins and starches change into simple sugars and free amino acids, and the enzymes and vitamin content increases. Healing With Whole Foods (by Paul Pichford) says sprouting “predigests” the nutrients in the seed, making it easier to assimilate and metabolize.

How to: grow your own sprouts

Growing your own sprouts is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Step 1) Soak a few tablespoons of any seed of your choice in a wide mouth mason jar for 6-8 hours. Attach a sprouting screen to the top or cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth, secured with a rubber band. After soaking seeds, discard water.

Step 2) Keep in a warm, dark place (I keep it in my cupboard) and rinse twice a day with cold water. Everytime you rinse the seeds, make sure as much as possible of the liquid is drained, so as to prevent mold from growing. It’s amazing how fast the process happens…

Step 3) 3-4 days later you will have fully grown sprouts creeping their way out of the jar! Take them out of the jar and place them into a large bowl, rinsing several times with cold water to loosen and wash away their hulls. When the sprouts sit out in the open, even for a few minutes, you will see them turn green with chlorophyll. Keep refrigerated; they will last up to a week in a sealed, dry container.

Try it at home- it’s quick, nutritious, and a heck of a lot easier (and cheaper) than eating 3 pounds of broccoli everyday. Plus you get to watch the magic happen each time you peak into the cupboard to check on them. Find broccoli sprouting seeds (or alfalfa, mustard, radish, etc.) at your local natural foods store near the bulk section. I would also recommend Handy Pantry or Sprout People for online sources.

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