Broccoli sprouts are an amazingly healthy, easy to grow crop that go with just about everything. They are easy to incorporate into your daily life and you’re body will thank you! Before you read on, know I’m not a doctor or scientist. This information is based on my research and I’m throwing out the disclaimer that you should do your own research and decide what’s best for you. This information is not intended as medical advice.
What Are Broccoli Sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts are just that – they are tender baby broccoli plants! They are eaten when only a few days to a couple weeks old. They can be used on salads, on sandwiches and wraps, or really just about anything! When I’m being lazy, I just throw sprouts in a bowl with some balsamic! (have you tried all the new balsamic vinegars available on the market? A couple of my favorites are cranberry pear white balsamic and fig balsamic! Thanks Olivia for the great gift!)
Health Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts
Along with fiber, protein, and vitamins, broccoli sprouts have high levels of a chemical called glucoraphanin. Yes, broccoli also has glucoraphanin, but broccoli sprouts have 10-100 times the glucoraphanin as the adult plants. So What is glucoraphanin and what makes it so special? Glucoraphanin, once in the body, is converted into sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is being shown to protect your cells from inflammation and a wide variety of diseases.
Things broccoli sprouts may be good for…
In today’s society, this one is huge. We’ve all been affected by cancer in one way or another. We’ve had friends and/or family members that have had to go through the battle with cancer, or maybe have it gone through it ourselves. It’s scary! And we still don’t have a good answer for it. Now, while no one is claiming that broccoli sprouts can cure or prevent cancer on their own, why not add this one simple food to your diet so it can be one of many tools to help with cancer prevention? Over there years, we’ve seen many studies that show the benefits of cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc) in protecting against various cancers (note: these studies are based on raw, or lightly cooked vegetables) The sulforaphane in these veggies is being shown to slow tumor growth and stop benign carcinogens from converting into active carcinogens.
One study showed that just 3 to 5 servings of cruciferous vegetable a week can reduce cancer risk by up to 40%! Considering how easy it is to add these foods to your diet (especially in the form of sprouts) why not just do it?!
Stomach Ulcer Treatment
The sulforaphane found in broccoli sprouts helps fight the bacteria that leads to ulcers – it may be more effective than treating ulcers with traditional antibiotics!
Mental Health: Now this is quite interesting. Can broccoli sprouts help with such things as depression and schizophrenia? Maybe! Researchers have found that sulforaphane may help reduce levels of a chemical called glutamate which has been linked to those disorders. While it doesn’t look like broccoli sprouts are slam dunk in treating those, with no negative side effects that I can find, why not just add broccoli sprouts to your diet…just in case?
Now, more of the good stuff. While being extremely low calorie, broccoli sprouts are packed full of fiber & protein. As I mentioned, they have 10-100 times the glucoraphanin as adult broccoli plants, and and they’re bursting with nutrients including:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
While nutrition facts can’t really be nailed down – I’m guessing this is because it has to do with water supply, genetics, etc, a decent general analysis for a cup of broccoli sprouts is:
- Calories: 20
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2 grams
- Sugars: 0 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts
And now what you’ve all been waiting for! Broccoli sprouts are so easy to grow! (The links below are affiliate links, so please click on them if you wish to buy. It helps support my site)
What you need:
- Wide Mouth Mason jar (I use a 1 quart jar) – Pick these up locally and they’re a lot cheaper than ordering online!
- Screen mason jar lid OR this kit that has a 2 jars and lids (this makes filling and straining fast and easy as well as being breathable)
- Broccoli Sprout Seeds (I always get organic – and this brand I’ve found is high quality)
Step 1: Put two spoonfuls (standard tablespoon for eating, not a measuring spoon) of broccoli sprout seeds in a mason jar. Screw your screened lid on the jar. Step one complete!
Step 2: Fill your jar 1/4-1/2 way with water to soak seeds and let rest overnight or about 8 hours.
Step 3: Drain the jar and leave upside down or at 45 degree angle for a few minutes to drain water well. When all water is drained, roll the jar around. The seeds will cling to the sides of the jar. This is what you want! This will prevent the seeds from sitting in a pool of water at the bottom of the jar and keep them spaced out so they can breathe.
Step 4: Place the jar in a dark cabinet, closet or corner. While the seeds are sprouting, you want to keep them in a dim or dark environment. This will prevent them from getting bitter.
Step 5: Twice a day fill up your jar with some water, swish around to wet all of the seeds. Repeat step 3.
Step 6: After a 4 or 5 days, your jar will be full of sprouts!!! You’re almost there. Place the sprouts in a sunny window and let them green up a bit. I wouldn’t leave them for more than a day unless it’s particularly cloudy. One day will make them nice and green. Longer will risk making your sprouts bitter. After a day, you are ready to store your sprouts in the fridge and start your next batch!
Storing Your Sprouts
Just because growing the sprouts was easy doesn’t mean you want to waste them, so make sure you store them properly. The best way to store your sprouts is in the refrigerator. Since they are living sprouts, you don’t want to suffocate them or drown them. Simply dry your sprouts (either spin them gently or pat them dry with a towel) and store them in a breathable container. This can be as simple as a container with plastic wrap that you’re poked some holes in, or if you’re going to be store sprouts regularly (like I do) have a dedicated plastic or glass container with some holes poked in the lid. This will be some trial and error. You don’t want so much air flow that it dries your sprouts out, but you also want them to breath.
Using Your Sprouts
Now that you’ve grown your sprouts, there are so many ways to use these delicious, nutritious sprouts! My favorite way to use them is on wraps and sandwiches. But I also love adding them to salads, or if I’m in a rush and just want something fast and easy – throw them in a bowl and toss them with your favorite balsamic vinegar! That’s it! Enjoy!