When a seed starts to grow, and a tail develops, that is when you get a sprout. Sprouts are highly nutritious and can be easily grown at home without the use of soil.
Inexpensive sprouting supplies, including kits and seeds, can be bought online and at some health food stores and supermarkets. Make sure when you purchase sprouting supplies that you are only buying organic sprouting seeds. Buy in small quantities and keep them in a dark and cool area prior to sprouting.
A partial list of seeds, beans, legumes and grains appropriate for sprouting includes alfalfa, cabbage, clover, fenugreek, mustard, radish, sesame, sunflower, adzuki beans, chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, green peas, wheat, rye and triticale. If you grow your own sprouts, harvest them within four to eight days for maximum enzymatic activity.
When you do not have the time to grow your own sprouts, purchase them at a local fruit and vegetable market, or in the fresh vegetable department of your supermarket. Health food stores that sell produce often offer sprouts as well. However, it is recommended that you grow your own sprouts as it is cheaper in the long run, more fun and you know it’s organic!
Sprouts are fresh when their roots are moist and white and the sprout itself is crisp. Caution: Regardless of the source, do not use seeds that have been treated with a fungicide. Treated seeds are not edible and can be recognized by the coating of pink or green dust on the seed coat. Seeds sold for planting purposes fall under this category. Use only seeds sold for sprouting or eating not for planting.
Store sprouts in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator, and use them as soon as possible. Rinsing daily under cold water can extend their life. Mung bean sprouts can be frozen in an airtight bag for several months, if they are to be used in cooking. Try to eat them fresh and not frozen though to maximize nutrition.