Did you know that sprouting grains, legumes, and other seeds can give you many times the nutrients that eating them in cooked form does?  When they are sprouted, they are actually providing you with a source of fresh, whole food and are actually more like vegetables and greens!  Our survival in hard times and the maintenance of the health of our families is much more likely if we have available to us a source of fresh foods, which sprouts provide.

       It used to be the case that half the sailors on long sea voyages would die of scurvy; but when Captain James Cook gave his crew sprouted beans on a regular basis, not a single man was lost to scurvy on his first 3-year long voyage!

       Here are some amazing facts about sprouts:

       • They grow in any climate with only a little water.
       • They rival both beef and store-purchased produce in nutritional value.
       • They mature in 3-5 days and may be planted at any time.
       • They require neither soil nor sunshine.
       • They equal the vitamin C in oranges and tomatoes.
       • They have no waste and are easily digested.
       • They can be eaten without processing or preparation.
       • They last several days without refrigeration.
       • They are low in calories and are a complete protein.
       • They have been used for 1000’s of years as both food and medicine.

       Almost any seed, grain, or bean can be sprouted for food, and they produce many times their weight in food.  Only 1 lb. of alfalfa seeds will produce 8 lbs. of sprouts!  What you have to make sure of is that the seeds, grains, or beans have not been treated in ways that kill the life of the seed, “the germ”.  If they have, they won’t sprout.  Many friends of mine have tried to sprout their storage wheat with varying success.  You'll have to test your own storage grains to see what will and what won’t sprout.  Hard red winter wheat seems to store very well.  If a grain won't sprout, it still has calories and can be made into things like bread, but its nutritional value has decreased with the death of its "germ".  I suggest that you hold onto your grains, even if they won't sprout, until the time comes that you are replacing them with something better.

       When I finally got around to trying to sprout, I couldn’t believe how easy it was.  I just got out a wide-mouth mason jar, poured in 1/3 cup of mixed (assorted) sprouting seeds that I had just gotten from Walton Feed, put on my medium-sized sprouting lid that I got at the Good Earth (local health food store -- set of 3 sizes for about $4.25), filled the jar with water (starting in the morning), let it sit on the countertop until dinner time, poured the water out through the lid, rinsed them a few times, and then rinsed them about 3 times a day.  In 3 days I had tons of sprouts, and by the 3rd or 4th day the whole jar was stuffed with them.  They were so delicious.  We were eating them plain, on sandwiches, and in salads.  This assorted bag of sprouters included:  adzuki beans, red and green lentils, mung beans, peas, triticale, spelt, hard red wheat, and soft and hard white wheat.

       How to actually do sprouts is so simple.  JUST:  

       • Soak small seeds for 4-6 hours and larger seeds for 8-12 hours.  
       • Then start rinsing them with lukewarm water and draining them
          well 2-3 times a day for 3-5 days, keeping them moist but not soaked.

That’s it!  Some do better in the dark than in the light, and the longer they grow and/or more sunlight they get, the stronger they taste.  When they get to the point where you like them the best, put them in a bag in your fridge and eat them up!  A general rule is to let the teenie seeds like alfalfa and broccoli sprout for a few days until their tales are long, and let them be in the sun the last couple of days so that they green up.  They taste great.  Bean sprouts get stronger and more bitter the longer their tales get, so I just let them sprout until the tales are barely visible, and then EAT THEM!  They stop growing as soon as you put them in the fridge.
       Here’s a list of recommended seeds, nuts, grains, and beans for sprouting:  adzuki beans, alfalfa seeds, almonds, cabbage seeds, chick peas, clover seeds, corn, cow peas, fenugreek, green peas, lentils, millet, mung beans, mustard seeds, oats, radish seeds, rye, sesame seeds, soybeans, sunflower seeds, triticale, watercress, and wheat.
       You don’t have to have tricky equipment, although the little plastic mason jar lids are wonderful, but even a towel, nylon stocking, or strainer will work!  Just anything that your seeds can be in and drain through is great.  

**Be careful not to leave sprouts out so long that they are growing bacteria.  Rinse well before eating.

 -- A great book on sprouting is:  The Hippocrates Diet and Health Program, by Ann Wigmore.

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