The unloved sprout

Why are sprouts not more popular?

  • Part of the problem is simply that sprouts do not keep very well - and need refrigeration in order to stay fresh.

  • Another part of the problem seems to be that there is only a relatively low level of awareness concerning the health benefits of eating sprouts.

  • The nutrition in a number of excellent sprouts is bound up with fibre. This fibre can be broken down by chewing it - but the process is labourious - and the best extraction method involves relatively expensive dedicated equipment.

  • Perhaps some of sprouts' healthy qualities weigh in against them. They are low in fat, calories, sugar and patented artificial ingredients - essential items, if supermarket shelves are anything to go by.

Whatever the actual reason, sprout availability is not what it could be.

Many of the sprouts that are available are not sprouted far enough for my tastes. Sprouted mung beans are available, for example - but they are white.

Most growers recommend keeping mung beans in complete darkness - to avoid the bitterness that comes with the green foliage.

Sunflower, aduki, lentil and chickpea sprouts are similarly sold in a very young state. These sprouts are often rather sweet. They have not yet converted their stored energy reserves into growth - and there is no little or no chlorophyll.

Generally, I like my sprouts green. I'm prepared to eat almond and apricot kernels after only soaking them - but most other things that can realistically be sprouted I like to take through to whole plants.

Others seem to share my tastes - the so called microgreens are considered to be upcoming citizens in the sprouting world.

In particular up-market gourmet restaurants seem to have finally discovered that microgreens are tastier - and less fibrous - than their fully-grown cousins - and are using them to add delicate flavours to side salads and garnishes. Perhaps this will herald an upturn in fortunes for sprouts.

Anyway, the desirable properties of sprouts as food seem to be too great to pass up due to availability problems.

Fortunately, these problems are not insurmountable - and a fine solution to them exists - grow your own sprouts!

Go back to Tim's sprout farm.

Tim Tyler | tim@tt1.org | http://sprouting.org/