Friday, August 3, 2012

The Goldmine in Your Kitchen

You know that old adage that goes, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is? Most of the time, I totally agree with it. But in this case, we have an exception. 

What if I told you that you could grow your very own fresh food right in your kitchen, and that it would be just about the most nutritious stuff you could put in your body? And that all it would cost would be a few minutes of your time and less money than you’d pay for a cup of coffee?

Seems like a sales pitch? Well, it is. Sort of. I want you to start sprouting sunflower seeds, because once you start, you’ll be hooked. Send no money now. Or ever. Just read on and learn the how’s and why’s of having your own indoor sprout garden.

The sunflower seed is the little food that packs a big punch.  You want anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits? They’re in there.  Are you looking to lower cholesterol, build healthy bones, help prevent migraines and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke? Look no further. How about reducing your risk of cancer, and helping to stave off muscle cramps, soreness, tension and fatigue? Sound good?
I have two words for you. Sunflower seeds. They contain Vitamins A, E and D, Phytosterols, Magnesium, Selenium, Niacin, Riboflavin and Thiamin. That’s good stuff.
So, you might be wondering, what’s wrong with just throwing some sunflower seeds on your salad and calling it a day? Nothing. They are a delicious addition to any salad. But, when you sprout them, a whole other world of nutrition and taste opens up for you.
The germination process can multiply the nutritional value of sunflower seeds by 300 to 1,200 percent. Yup, you read that right. Un-sprouted seeds are high in fat and protein, but sprouting converts the fat into essential fatty acids, and the proteins into the complete amino acid profile. You can think of sprouts as “pre-digested” seeds, thanks to their active enzymes, which make them much more nutritionally bio-available than their non-sprouted counterparts. And, to top it all off, sprouted seeds contain lots of iron, which can combat anemia, and loads of chlorophyll, which helps detoxify the liver and the blood.
Did I mention that the greens that grow from the seeds are delicious? You can use them instead of lettuce to make fabulous salads, include them in veggie wraps, add them to sandwiches, snack on them “as is” or use your imagination in incorporating them into your favorite recipes.
Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need.
Organic black oil sunflower seeds
You can find them sold in bulk in health food stores, or online with many retailers.
Organic potting soil
Just about every garden supply store carries this.
Spring water or filtered water
Buy it at the store or filter your own.
2 plastic trays with holes in the bottom
Available at nurseries or garden supply stores.
Wide-mouthed jar, rubber band and fine screen mesh (or cheesecloth)
You probably have these lying around the house or can easily get them at a local store.
And that’s it. That’s all you need to produce one of the most nutritious and delicious foods you can eat.
Soak your seeds.
Here’s what to do:
Measure out 1 cup of the sunflower seeds, put them in the jar, and add water to so that the seeds are well submerged. Put the cheesecloth (or mesh) on the mouth of the jar and secure with the rubber band.
Put the jar in a dark place, like a kitchen cupboard or pantry, and leave it there overnight (6-9 hours). In the morning, rinse them out a couple of times and drain them through the mesh secured at the opening of the jar. Be sure to drain well.
Place one of the plastic trays onto a large baking sheet (for the water to drain into) and cover the bottom of the tray with about 1/2 inch of soil. Spread the soaked seeds evenly over the soil and add water until the soil is thoroughly wet.  Place the second plastic tray on top of the soil/sunflower seed filled tray. 
The sprouts are pushing up!
You can leave the tray right on your kitchen counter – the seeds don’t need any special lighting or heat. During the next few days, you will notice that the sprouts have pushed the upper tray up. Strong sprouts!
After 3 or 4 days, remove the upper tray. Water once or twice a day, as needed to keep the soil moist, and in a few days, you will have your sprouts! 
This is what my seeds look like on the 2nd day.
They are ready to harvest when the stems have grown two leaves. Use scissors to snip the seedlings at the base, wash gently and enjoy!
You can start multiple trays a few days apart so as to have a constant supply of fresh sprouts. Once you’ve eaten all the sprouts in the tray, discard the used soil (you can put it in your compost pile or just add it to your garden), and start the process all over again.
Yummy sprout salad!

And there you have it. Once you start sprouting and see how easy it is, you’ll want to branch out into sprouting different seeds, nuts and grains. Your body, and taste buds, will thank you for it.


  1. Thanks for another smart and fun post Tamara. Sunflower microgreens are tasty and very nutritious, hands-down my favorite microgreen to grow and eat. Morning starts with sunflower microgreen smoothie with E3live AFA - perfect!

    1. Thank you, Dr. Ferng! That certainly is a great start for the day. :)

  2. Does growing in soil add any nutrients?


    1. Absolutely, David. Use a good, rich organic soil, and if you want to add additional minerals, you can add salt minerals to the water you use for watering the soil.

  3. I am going to try this with the kids & let you know how it went! Thanks Tamera

    1. I am so happy to hear that, Suenet! I know that you will do great and will love having your delicious microgreens available to you any time you want them.

  4. I searched for migraine info (just ordered E3Live), because my husband has a terrible time with them. He is finally with a neurologist, but it seems the only thing she can do is prescribe meds. He's tried chiropractic work, massage, and acupuncture, none of which made a difference. So, diet is on the top of my list, and I am hoping to incorporate the E3Live into an already-established routine of hot water with fresh lemon juice, which I send him off with in the morning. Will the hot water kill the benefits of the E3Live algae? Thanks, Virginia