By Jennifer Dixon MBA ERYT 500
My husband and I have a small fresh Juice and Smoothie stand here at a local Farmer’s Market. It has been a great way to test our “product” of fresh, made to order Juices and Smoothies before we jumped full speed ahead into another business. (which, I’m happy to say, will be opening up shortly after we move into our new location two doors down!!) Along the way, we’ve made some pretty great friends and learned a LOT about fresh produce. The most recent introduction and my latest obsession are Sunflower Sprouts.
Making fresh juices requires a LOT of fresh fruits and veggies. Our juice (a super awesome, mega powerful CEADO that nearly broke the bank, but is amazing in its capacity to juice quickly and efficiently.) All those juices lead to a LOT of pulp and we weren’t sure what to do with it at first. Luckily, we were at a farmer’s market, and we made fast friends with a farmer that has goats. Goats, it turns out, LOVE juice pulp.
Along the course of our 2 + years at the market, we have gotten to sample some pretty amazing produce, fresh from the garden. Like Kristy always talks about, fresh is best, and man alive, it tastes AMAZING! This summer, our friends at Red Clay Farm started harvesting Sun Flower Sprouts and we have had the opportunity to taste these delicate greens –and let me tell you they are A M A Z I N G!!
The sprouts don’t take long to grow, usually inside of a week to get the couple of inches necessary to eat, they taste like a sunflower seed and a super crisp butter leaf were genetically cross-pollinated and basically had themselves a great little green leafy baby vegetable. Seriously, it’s really really good.
I didn’t know much about them, so I thought I would share this new veggie with you so you could try it too!
Sunflower Sprouts are considered “living” food. That means the nutrients pack a bit more punch (because they are easier to digest). The tiny little sprout carries some pretty cool nutritional punches.
Nutritional Benefits of the Sunflower Sprout
- Sunflower Sprouts are a complete protein – that means they can help you get the necessary protein your muscles need to recover after a particularly challenging yoga class. Protein also plays an important part in building your bone density-which can help fight against arthritis. ¼ c contains 6 grams of protein!
- Sunflower Sprouts are high in B vitamins–especially Folate, which is what every pregnant woman needs to help make healthy, brilliant babies.
- These tiny microgreens are high in Zinc–which can help boost your immunity but also boost fertility….so go ahead, eat a little more!
Sunflower Sprout Word of Caution…
Since this Green Leafy is technically a baby plant, it is packed full of energy to help grow a really big plant. That means it is a nutrient dense food–Ok, in English, that means these little suckers are high in calories and fat. One ¼ cup service size has almost 200 calories!
Good news / Bad news about Sunflower Sprouts
In that same ¼ c of Sprouts, you’ll get 16 grams of fat (total)–only 2 of those grams are saturated, the rest are poly and monosaturated fats which can help to keep you feeling full longer and control cholesterol levels.
What does all this mean?
Basically, Sprouts are tiny little nutritional powerhouses that we should definitely include in our diets, and maybe even in our indoor gardens (because you can have edible sprouts in 7 days!) but we probably shouldn’t eat them all day every day. I’ve found when it’s the middle of the day and I’m sorta getting the munchies for something I know I shouldn’t eat if I grab a few of these delicate delectables (funny how delectables have changed meaning as I’ve aged…) that the snack will tide me over till dinner time.
What do you think? Willing to give these little sprouts a try? Let me tell you how you can start growing some on your own. I mean, I love having them down at the market for me, but we’ve started to try our own hand at growing them as an experiment for the kiddos and because they really are that good and that easy to cultivate!
How to grow your own Sunflower Sprouts
- Soak your sunflower seeds for 8-12 hrs (overnight is easy) in a mason jar
- Drain your seeds by inverting your jar with a sprout lid (but I just used an old pair of my daughter’s tights screwed on by the metal outer ring of the mason jar lid) to empty the water
- Store in an inverted position–like leaning sideways inside a bowl to allow air to flow.
- Rinse and repeat twice a day (so every 12 ish hours)
- Eat when you see little buds forming!
The sprouts are technically edible inside of 12-18 hrs but you can wait up to a week (when a little stalk and tiny little green leaves form.)
These are super easy to make, fun for the kids to see growing, and ridiculously healthy. Let me know if you give sprout growing a shot, or if you check some out at the next farmer’s market. I’d love to hear what you think!
*Nutritional information gathered from Livestrong.com
**Amazon Affiliate Links were used in this article