Any food that requires enhancing by the use of chemical substances should in no way be considered a food.-John H. Tobe
I like this time of year. Not the cold. Let’s be clear. I do not like any temperature under 78.4 degrees. (How nice that the Mister likes it a frigid 12 degrees at night and sleeps with a fan on overhead, lest we try and dream about anything besides moving really fast in a convertible or skydiving) But I DO love the starts in their trays growing rapidly and signifying all the potential of the coming year. I love that I am not outside weeding anything. I really enjoy planning the garden and how perfect and pristine is it on paper. Ina Garten, move on over, my imaginary herb beds smoke yours.
Oh, and I live in the southern US right now, so winter doesn’t involve the hell of snow and ice.
But I miss the variety of fresh veggies we have in the spring and I am itching to bring in baskets of flavors we haven’t had in a long while.
Around here, the winter gastro-monotony is broken not just with fare from the grocer but also with sprouts from our kitchen.
They are so verdant and have just the right amount of crunch…they taste like spring.
Sprouts and microgreens are incredible for your health. You do not need me to tell you about how amazing they are because Wellness Mama does a great job of that here. NutritionFacts.org talks about the benefits here of broccoli sprouts, and microgreens here. And it is good as fodder for your livestock! Rachel Falco addresses that here.
I can tell you that the pick-me-up of sprouts becomes addictive. Your body wants all the wonderfulness from raw, non-irradiated seed that has had the life force activated. Once you get used to using them, you crave them.
On our counter sits a sprouting tower. We have four trays and one is started every two days. Most seeds can be sprouted this way. Sunflower seeds need some soil to start so they go in a tray. Why the tower instead of the jars? Great question. The jars work well for the chickens but we have found the only way to keep them drained enough for a high output of people food is to set them almost upside down to drain and I don’t like the logistics of it.
The shorter the chain between raw food and fork, the fresher it is and the more transparent the system is.-Joel Salatin
Here is what growing sprouts at home is actually like:
First, I hem-haw around, trying to remember why I came in the kitchen. It is 5:45 in the am and I cannot function. I drink my second huge glass of water and leave. Around 7, I come back to the kitchen because I remember I wanted to start a tray today. But then I do a few dishes and eat a handful of (raw) nuts from the bowl on the counter, distracted again. I notice the sprouting tower only has one or two trays going. So, I make sure the water has been dumped from the bottom tray, grab a clean tray and add one Tablespoon of sprouting seed (clover, radish, broccoli, salad blend? Who knows? I’m crazy that way.) Then I fill the top tray with water and place it on top. A while later, after the water has cycled through all the trays and I am in the kitchen to re-re-reheat my coffee, I will empty the bottom tray.
That is it.
It takes under a minute to keep sprouts going (once you remove all the me wandering around from the equation.) Just run water through them once or twice a day. Read your instructions.
The two BIG TRICKS are to keep the trays washed and sanitized between uses and to make sure your sprouts are well rinsed. My system has a little white thingy (technical term) in the bottom that needs to be on properly or water will stand in the bottom of the tray instead of running all the way out. This makes for stinky rotten sprouts and can lead to harmful bacteria. If this happens, throw them far way and sanitize before starting over.
Aren’t I worried about the potential for the scary bacteria about which the people trying to warn you away from vegetables are so vocal?
I also drive a car, ride in planes, shake hands with people, touch gas pumps, grocery carts, work in raw manure, generally go out in public and breathe the air so I am a risk taker.
You have to accept a certain amount of risk in life to live it. Remember the show Monk? Even he was at risk at all times.
I have other neurosis. And there are thousands of things people eat on the SAD that are guaranteed to harm you. No argument, they are horrible for the body and mind (not to mention the spirit) every single time. Eating something that is amazingly good for you the vast majority of the time is pretty much the best you can do.
SO if your sprouts stink, don’t eat them.
So, yay! Pretty! Now what do I do with them? Well, I’m glad you asked. We like them on salads (endless possibilities here), sandwiches (except pb&j), on veggie burgers, falafel (yep, I’m breaking sandwiches down into groups), mixed into tuna salad, on avocados, beans sprouts go in stir fry, I throw them on my veggie pizza (with arugula!) and the kids just get in the fridge and eat them straight out of the tray. Since they will eat an entire tray before I bust them, I am looking into getting another tower.*
Chew on this
For some motivation at the grocer, Donna Gates gives you food for thought with 10 Things the Processed Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know.
I adore Robyn O’Brien. She and her crew (tell me she has a team of people helping her with all her research because no one can be that productive) are on top of the food markets and trends. Since I run around saying, “Life is better when you know your food,” to everyone who will let me jump on a soapbox, her eye on the markets is helpful. Here are some must reads to dip your toe in the pool of food cognizance:
I am obsessed with the toxic load modern humans carry (and the microbiome…do not get me going about it) so here is a primer Robyn posted by Bonnie Modugno on endocrine disruptors in our food supply.
Still believe the labeling GMO’s will cost consumers money? Despite the fact that the labels change with every Disney movie or holiday? Check out the treatment consumers get in other countries here and consider the double standard.
Pay the farmer now or the doctor later should be common sense but since people love to twist exclusively reductionist science, here is a take on the value and pricing of organic food.
Happy eating, Katy
*I know, I know, I use a lot of asides when I write here.