Right next door to a small Mexican restaurant (where they’ll make you a vegan burrito if you ask) in an industrial part of Salt Lake City, there’s a small, unassuming store that’s easy to miss. It’s a tiny health food store and purveyor of fresh ingredients to local vegan and vegetarian restaurants called Cali’s Natural Foods. One afternoon while poking around the bulk grains, the fruits and vegetables and the cases filled with tofu, yogurt, tempeh and jars of Vegannaise, I came across a basket filled with mason jars and small packets of seeds. Future sprouts. I’d been hearing about the health benefits of the cute little fellers, so I decided to buy a jar and sprout some for myself. I’ve been sprouting regularly ever since. Now my stir frys, salads and sandwiches all get the royal sprout treatment.
Sprouts are loaded with vitamins, minerals and enzymes – bursting with all the good stuff stored in the seed to give the future plant a jump start. They are a whole food, easily digestible and research has shown that sprouts may also protect us from diseases like cancer and heart disease.
To reap the most benefits, get a variety of seeds (broccoli, alfalfa, buckwheat, etc.). You don’t need a special jar to get your sprouts going (tho’ you will need some seeds; try Whole Foods or other natural foods store or go online), you can start some in a pie dish or in a small baking dish. Just remember to rinse and drain them daily and to keep them in the dark for the first 3-5 days. They’ll need a few hours in the light get their green on. They’re ready to eat when they’re the size you like. Keep any remaining sprouts in the refrigerator – remembering to rinse and drain daily – until they’re all gone!