How to Grow Health Foods in Your Kitchen

With a simple container garden you can grow protein-rich and vitamin-packed salad vegetables on a kitchen shelf–or even inside a drawer. Forget about soil for this type of gardening. All you need is a clean waterproof container, water and seed. Then within a few days a teaspoon of seed develops the bulk of at least a cup of coleslaw, with enzymes and vitamins at their peak because it is still alive and growing.

Alfalfa makes even more bulk than most of the other seeds. A teaspoonful of dry seed produces about two cups of sprouts that look rather like very finely shredded lettuce, but the flavor has a hint of fresh young raw peas. Use it like lettuce in salads and sandwiches–or with mayonnaise as coleslaw. Grated carrot, chopped basil leaves, dill or parsley all give pleasant variations to its flavor.

Sprouted alfalfa also makes a pleasantly refreshing and satisfying snack when piled high on toast or rye wafers liberally spread with peanut butter. Or for a light, quick, sustaining dish, mix up to a cup of the sprouts with a few tablespoons of cooked rice plus chopped egg or cheese.

Sprouting salad alfalfa contains over 40 percent protein and is rich in a wide range of vitamins. It is claimed that a half cup of sprouted alfalfa contains as much vitamin C as six glasses of orange juice. Its vitamin B2 content builds up tremendously after the seeds have been sprouting for four days.

Mung_BeansMung beans or Chinese bean sprouts , my favorite, are comparatively well known because of their fairly wide use in Chinese dishes, but they are also excellent for salads, either mixed with or as a substitute for cabbage in coleslaw. Bean seeds are reputed to be completely sustaining, but their food value increases four or five times after they have been sprouted for three days.

Under moderately warm conditions they need to be eaten within five days after sprouting, otherwise they develop leaves and become stringy. However, they can be stored in a refrigerator after being boiled for a minute or two, drained and then sealed in a plastic bag.

Fenugreek, one of the lesser-known sprouting seeds, is becoming more popular because of its pleasant mild curry taste soon after sprouting. This disappears as the sprouts gain size, but they are still a welcome addition to salads or various cooked dishes and are reputed to be good for gastric disorders, including ulcers.
From dry fenugreek seed to edible sprouts takes only three to four days. Although the sprouts are larger than those of alfalfa they also make a palatable and attractive topping for biscuits or toast with peanut butter, – creamed cheese or other slightly savory spreads.

Lentils are one of the earliest recorded sources of food. Biblical history tells us that Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a porridge-like dish of lentils. Lentil soup apparently was well known for its sustaining powers, but lentils become still more nutritious and also more appetizing when sprouted. They can be pre-sprouted for soups, and when eaten raw they have a slightly sweet, pleasantly fresh nutty flavor.

Oriental red beans are also available in the “seeds for sprouting” range. These have been valued for centuries as a high source of protein in China, Korea and Japan. In some parts of the Orient it is still customary for people to carry a few of these beans in their pockets to be nibbled at when sustenance is needed, but they are far more palatable and nutritious after being sprouted for three to five days.

Mixed salad seed is available in progressive countries for sprouting. This contains all the seeds so far mentioned and gives a pleasant flavor combination with a good balance of nutrients. However, it is as well to try the various components separately, and then later you can make your own mixtures for sprouting according to your particular preference.

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