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Complete Guide to Sprouts: Kinds, Growing, Recipes, and Nutritional Profile

Sprouts are the germinated seed of a vegetable. They are baby plants on their first step to becoming full-grown plants: just starting to grow a root. Their nutritional values are much higher now than they were when they were seeds. Growing them at home is easy, cheap, and quick: it can even take as little as two days. And they're a good source of fiber. Who doesn't want some fiber? 

Kinds of Sprouts

different kinds sprouts in bowls
As any seed sprouts to become a plant, there are many many kinds. They're usually divided into 4 categories:
  • Legumes: mung bean, kidney bean, black bean, lentils, and snow pea sprouts.
  • Vegetables: broccoli, alfalfa, mustard green, and red clover sprouts.
  • Nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds sprouts.
  • Grains: wheatgrass and quinoa sprouts. 

Of course, this is only a partial list, but for starters - it's more than enough. The most common ones that you've probably tried before are alfalfa, mung bean, red clover, and broccoli sprouts. 

A little misconception about Brussels sprouts: despite their name, they are not​ sprouted seeds, of course. They're a full-grown veggie, who's close relatives with cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. 

Nutritional Values

kinds of sprouts
These are nutrition bombs! This comes as no surprise when you think about it: not long ago they were just "newborn" seeds, they are packed with all the nutrients a baby plant will need in order to become a strong mature plant. Let's inspect then. 
They contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Broccoli sprouts, for instance, are a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folic acid, and the antioxidant sulforaphane. Moreover, they are low on fat, sodium, and calories. 
For people who suffer from diabetes type 2, sprouts will help regulate their blood sugar levels. Researchers are still not sure why, as various experiments showed different reasons for this effect.
Sprouts also may reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood cholesterol levels.
But here's the catch. They grow in the same conditions bacteria thrive in, warm humid climate. Even if your sprouts are contaminated, the symptoms aren't lethal. That doesn't mean we shouldn't avoid them still. We have some sanitation instructions down below for when you grow your own sprouts. If you'd like to purchase sprouts from the store instead of making your own, make sure you choose a transparent and trusted supplier. In any case, you should always wash the sprouts and your hands thoroughly.
Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with generally weaker immune systems are recommended to thoroughly cook sprouts. We have a stir-fry video recipe down below. 

How to Grow at Home

Sprouts grown in jars
Sprouts grow easily and quickly and they don’t rely on soil or sun.
You'll need:
-Big jars with a wide enough opening.
-Rubber band.
-Your seeds of choice. Purchase seeds that are specifically for sprouting; they will be labeled. 

1. Sanitize your work area. Wash your hands. Keep your pets out of the kitchen.
2. Sanitize the jars and lids thoroughly with boiling water. 
3. Wash the seeds, place 2 tbs in the jar, and cover with a few inches of water. Make sure the seeds take no more than 1/4 of the jar, as they will expand significantly.
4. Cover with the cheesecloth and secure with a rubber. Let sit for 8-12 hours at room temperature. 
5. Drain, rinse and drain again. Place the jars upside-down, but at an angle to allow drainage and air-circulation through the mesh. A small bowl is a good solution for that. 
6. Rinse and drain the seeds between two and four times a day, making sure that they never dry out completely.
7. Harvest after 3 to 7 days. 
All sprouts can be eaten raw, and all but the most delicate (like alfalfa) can be gently cooked as well. Once you've got your sprouts, keep them in the fridge. 
Here's a video guide for your convenience: 

Some Recipes

sprout salad
Sprouts are a good additive to almost any meal. You can boil them, oven-roast or steam. If you use them raw they are a great additive to salads and sandwiches. You can use them to upgrade your bagged salad mix.
Or enjoy a classic stir-fried dish:
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