Springin’ Sprouts

I have been growing sprouts in my kitchen(s) for about 35 years. I think they are now part of my DNA! Seriously, a salad with sprouts feels naked to me.  Perhaps the best way to convey the importance of sprouts, especially in the light of Earth Day and eating lower on the food chain, is to reprint excerpts from an article  written by Bill London and found in my book, Johhny Alfalfa Sprout* , written many years ago when I wrote it for Maryknoll missioners.

The article is called “Sprouts for the Third World,” but most of the information is useful for all people. London draws on the expertise of David Beguin if the Department of Human Nutrition at Washington State University and Dr. Patrick Finney, a food researcher for the USDA.

Here are the reasons listed for sprouting, quoted or paraphrased directly from the article:

1. Sprouting counters disease. Their digestibility is crucial for children with gastro-intestinal diseases like dysentery or cholera.
2. Sprouting promotes self-sufficiency.  By using locally available seeds in a low-tech process, sustainability and self-sufficiency are encouraged.
3. Sprouting increases food value-Nutrients (vitamins & minerals) are found in higher concentrations in sprouts.
4. Sprouting improves digestibility – Phytic acid and trypsin inhibitors (to be less palatable to animals) are broken down by fermentation, cooking, and sprouting, with the latter considered most healthful by the author and the  most economically feasible.

5. Sprouting counters refined foods-Sprouts are traditional in some Third World countries. If we adopt sprouting, we can cut back on refined foods, here and elsewhere.
6. Sprout cereal is considered a superior weaning food according to WSU researchers.
7. Sprout flour enriches bread, leading to higher protein efficiency ration as well as increasing digestibility and palatability.
8. Sprouting promotes health-Sprouts adds nutritional value to anyone’s diet.
9. Sprouts can alleviate food problems-Dr. Finney believes that sprouting is one of the solutions to today’s food problems as well as those in the future.
10. My input– Sprouts are a delightful, crunchy addition to many dishes. ES

* The Johnny Alfalfa Sprout Handbook gives step-by-step instructions for “windowsill gardening.” Go to MY BOOKS for ordering information.

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