Most of us as kids probably remember sitting at the dinner table staring at what seemed to be an enormous pile of nasty green stuff on our plates. Asking repeatedly to be excused and hearing mom say “not until you eat your broccoli, it’s good for you”. My sister and I would try the usual tricks such as spreading it across the plate, hiding it in our napkins, or even trying to coax the family dog into helping us out. It never worked….
What we didn’t know is it turns out mom was right! It really is good for you. Broccoli contains the very powerful antioxidant sulforaphane which is now being used to treat and cure cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other medical ailments.
As an adult, I love broccoli and prepare it all the time. For those of you who don’t share my enthusiasm for the most popular of all the cruciferous vegetables, I have some good news. Broccoli sprouts contain even higher concentrations of this antioxidant and in fact, just 1 ounce of broccoli sprouts contains the same amount as 3 pounds of fresh broccoli! Just think how much easier it would have been to “eat your broccoli” if there had only been 1 once of sprouts on your plate.
There are many other health reasons why sprouts are so good for you as well. Research has shown that a single sprout can have as much or more of certain micronutrients as an entire mature plant. These increases range from 30%-500% of certain vitamin and protein content while being lower in carbohydrates. Sprouts are also a good source of chlorophyll, said to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Sprouts are, quite frankly, a super food that are simple to grow at home and absolutely delicious.
Homegrown broccoli sprouts ready to eat.
To grow your own sprouts, you will need a few simple items such as a Sproutmaster or Easy Sprout. Broccoli Sprouting Seeds or any of these other types of sprouting seeds, a glass jar or bowl to soak your seeds and water. That’s it!
The process is very quick and easy. First, you need to soak your seeds overnight in clean room temperature water. Once they have soaked, you simply pour them into your sprouting device, rinse with water, and drain THOUROUGHLY! Place your sprouter anywhere out of direct sunlight and at room temperature, I use my kitchen counter. You must rinse and drain every 12 hours (twice a day) for the first three days. Always be sure to drain very thoroughly. The most common cause of inferior sprouts is inadequate drainage.
On day 4, after rinsing, leave the lid off your sprouter and place them where they can get some light. It doesn’t take much light to green them up and you will want to avoid direct sunlight so you don’t burn them.
Continue to rinse and drain every 12 hours and they will be ready on day 5 or 6. At this point, it’s up to you if you want to “de-hull” them or not. If you do, simply place them in a large bowl of water and stir them around. The hulls will rise to the surface where you can simply skim them off. Remove the sprouts from the water and allow them to dry by placing them back into your sprouter for 8-12 hours or overnight. They are now ready to place into a container and store in the fridge. Fresh sprouts that are stored correctly will last a couple of weeks but mine never make it that long. We usually go through the entire batch in a few days at the most. Once you try them, you’ll understand why!
The following images show the entire growing sequence in 24 hour increments. I am using the Sproutmaster tray to grow my sprouts in.
Seeds after soaking overnight and placed in sprouter.
24 hours later, notice the roots emerging!
At 48 hours, lots of root mass and small leaves.
72 hours and they are ready for “greening”.
This is still at 72 hours and moved into indirect light. Look at how much volume they now take up compared to day 1.
96 hours. They continue to grow and are turning green from exposure to light. At this point, they are ready to eat or de-hull.
The de-hulling process. Notice how they all float to the top for easy removal.
Broccoli sprouts can be used on sandwiches, appetizers, salads, eaten plain or for lots of other recipes
“Everything” bagels with broccoli sprouts, cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and English cucumber.
Homemade Ritz crackers with broccoli sprouts, cream cheese, pickled red onion, and English cucumber.