With the recent scare regarding alfalfa sprouts and salmonella, it is natural to be concerned. However, to completely avoid eating sprouts because of this outbreak is unnecessary.
There are two forms of action you can do right now that will ensure that when you eat alfalfa sprouts they will always be salmonella free. The first form of action is to grow your own sprouts. Not only is it cheaper to grow your own sprouts, but by buying sprouting seeds you will know the batch and the source of the seeds.
The second is to buy from a reputable source (click here for a great company that sells organic sprouting seeds). The company you buy should be selling seeds that are for sprouting and tested for pathogens.
When you grow your own sprouts it’s easy to clean seeds if you need to just to be safe, even if you are comfortable with your sprouting seeds source.
To clean seeds to grow your own sprouts from potential contamination and potential mold, you can do one of 3 things in the soaking stage:
• In 500ml of water in the soaking stage add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) or vinegar
• 5 drops of hydrogen peroxide (food grade, 35% – dilute it in water before adding)
• Add 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide (3%)
If you are buying from a trusted sprouting seeds supplier to grow your own sprouts, contamination is extremely rare as their quality and safety checks for their seeds are superior. Regardless, learning to grow your own sprouts is always recommended over buying store bought sprouts.
It is important when you buy seeds for sprouting that you buy seeds that are designed for sprouting and from a reputable company.
Here is a quick list of things you should look for when buying seeds for sprouting:
- The sprouting seeds must not have any human pathogens.
- The sprouting seeds must not have plant pathogens.
- The sprouting seeds should be uniform in size and color.
- The sprouting seeds should have a high quick germination.
- The sprouting seeds should not be scarified and should have very few damaged seeds.
- The sprouting seeds should have a low moisture content but not so low as to damage the seed.
- The sprouts produced from the seeds for sprouting should germinate uniformly and show good vigour.
- The seeds for sprouting should have few over-soaks (over-soaks are seeds that soften quickly when put in water.)
- The age of the seed is important. Some seed is best if aged, while others are not.
- The sprouts from the seeds for sprouting should have a good flavor and shelf life.
Of course no one expects you to look for these things when you are buying sprouting seeds, which is why you need to buy seeds for sprouting from a reputable company.
If you purchase seeds that aren’t designed for sprouting, you may face problems such as a contaminated seed for example one with salmonella bacteria. More commonly though, you will end up with seeds that won’t sprout and will start to rot in the sprouter.
Again, purchase seeds for sprouting from a company that specializes in seeds for sprouting as their quality will be superior.