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ALL ABOUT SPROUTS

 

Long a staple of Oriental and vegetarian diets, sprouts are nutritious, flavourful, and blend extremely well with all kinds of foods.  They contain minerals, protein and any of the vitamins essential for a healthy life. Nutritionists have come to realize sprouts are one of the few complete foods. They are rich in vitamin C, as citrus fruits.

Sprouts’ health giving components originate in each bean, grain and seed’s embryo. The future plant tissue contains nutrients to nourish the growth. They fade away only after the new plant takes root, feeding off minerals in the soil, or the chlorophyll of leaves.

Sprouts must be harvested early and consumed before nutritional reserves are absorbed by the seeds scientist Determined that the vast majority pod all vegetation produces edible sprouts, from alfalfa sprouts to garbanzo beans and cereals. Potato and tomato sprouts are poisonous.

Sprouts can be added to appetizers, salads, sandwiches, even desserts as they take on the flavour of the foods in the mix, give a new texture dimension, and some taste of their own. Raw sprouts blended into vegetable juices add pizzazz.

Each spore has a unique taste, ranging between sweet and bitter. If you are looking for unique flavours, add mung, alfalfa and lentil sprouts to soups, stir-fries, salads, sandwich fillings, meat loaves, even into bread dough. Alfalfa and mustard seed sprouts can be substituted for scallions and celery in chicken and tuna salads

There are three types of spouts – seed-, grain- and bean. Alfalfa, clover, millet, radish and sesame sprouts belong to the seed family, taste sweet and are rich in vitamins C and K, and minerals. Barley, oat, rye and wheat sprouts are usually sweet a and may be used in baking. All may be dried and ground, are rich in vitamin E and protein. These are the grain sprouts. Bean sprouts are divided into three classes; tender beans, (including green lentils and mung beans) tough beans and the soy family.

In 1282 B C the Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung has recorded his success in growing mung beans and now scientists have established that their high vitamin A and C levels. They also contain substantial amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Tender bean sprouts are a staple of almost all Oriental cuisines., Kidney-, lima-, navy- and pinto bean sprouts, belong to the tough beans sprouts family and require intensive farming.

The soy family includes the soybean along with garden peas and garbanzo (chick) peas. All contain significant amounts of vitamins A, B complex, C and F, calcium, phosphorus, iron and lecithin.

Nuts with thick hulls can also yield sprouts, such as almond-, peanut- and pumpkin-seed sprouts, which possess a bitterish taste, but enhance the taste of other foods.

Sprouts grow effortlessly and can be harvested shortly after planting. Of all, mung beans have the shortest growth cycle. The basic sprouting equipment consists of a large container, a measuring cup, paper towels and a wire-mesh strainer. After harvest, sprouts should be placed in plastic bags and refrigerated./ A few drops of water per day, or a damp towel in the bag, will keep them fresh for up to ten days.

Sprouts retain their natural flavour best when simply sautéed in butter or olive oil, but can also be steamed, baked or toasted. Sprouts represent a welcome changes to your diet from both culinary and health perspectives.

Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu
 

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