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broccoli sprouts - how to get started sprouting

OMG! Did you read the new Harry Potter book yet? I always LOVED HP and his gang of quirky friends at Hogwarts! So excited to read the next installment.

Ok, enough of my fandom outburst and let's get down to business.... did you know that broccoli sprouts have some pretty exciting nutritional properties, are easy to grow yourself and they are tasty? These sprouts are harvested at 3-5 days old and are just baby versions of the cruciferous veggie you recognize as broccoli. Once of broc sprouts coolest qualities is that they are chocked full of sulforaphane, and have 10-20 times more of this compound than the grown up version of broccoli. Sulforaphane has been the subject of numerous studies (check out Dr. Mercola's site for tons of science) that have shown how it may:

  • increase heart health;

  • reduce triglycerides;

  • lower blood pressure;

  • reduce the bad bacteria, H. pylori, that often leads to stomach ulcers;

  • boost liver detoxification;

  • enhance the body's ability to fend off gastric cancer;

  • target breast cancer stem cells;

  • increase the eye's ability to fight toxins;

  • reduce symptoms of asthma or other respiratory disorders;

  • protect skin cells from sun damage;

  • and may even stop the growth of malignant tumors.

The best part about these cute little sprouts is that they are easy to add to your daily meals. Broc sprouts are best eaten raw, but you can add them to a quick stir fry or steam them. Limit cooking time to preserve their health components and nutrients (but cook them if you are nervous about food-borne illness concerns). I add them raw to my salads for a fun crunch (but be sure to check your teeth for "leftovers" after eating).

You don't have to pay $4 for a small box of broc sprouts at the store - you can have a baby garden in your kitchen for cheap! You will need a few supplies to get started and they are easy to get:

  • wide mouth canning jar, like these

  • organic broccoli sprouting seeds, like these

  • cheesecloth and canning ring or sprouting jar lid, like this

  • optional - citric acid (to deter mold growth), like this or this

  • distilled or filtered water

Day 1 PM: Sterilize your jar in the dishwasher, fill with 2 tablespoons of broccoli sprouting seeds and cover with distilled/filtered water. Leave overnight.

Day 2 AM: Drain the water well and let the jar sit on its side in a cool (65-75 degree), dark place in the kitchen.

Day 2 PM: Add 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid to the jar, cover the seeds with water, swish and drain well. Leave the jar on its side.

Continue to do this on Day 3, both in the morning and evening as well as on Day 4, both AM and PM.

Day 5: How do things look? Are your sprouts ready to harvest or would you like them to grow a bit more? It's your call. If they continue to grow, keep rinsing each morning and evening. Finished sprouts are 1 to 2 inches long and can be "greened" by leaving them in the sunshine now. 2 tablespoons of seeds will yield 2 to 3 cups of sprouts.

Store your full-grown baby-sprouts in an airtight storage container in the fridge. I put a paper towel in there to absorb any extra water. They will keep for about a week.

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