Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The delicious alchemy of Sun Flower Microgreen Sprouting

I want to tell you about my favourite micro green snack. The magnificent, nutritious and delicious Sunflower Sprouts.

This really is a superfood and well deserves such platitudes. Sunflower greens are an excellent source of protein and supply all the amino acids needed to repair and grow muscles and tendons. An amazing post workout snack for all you keep-fit enthusiasts.

They have a very fresh, nutty and crunchy taste and texture, great in sandwiches, salads, and toppings for soups and pasta. I also put them in my smoothies if I have an excess just to add an extra nutrient punch, although this is rare because I really enjoy biting into the fresh crunchiness, my mouth is watering as I write this.

As well being packed with protein they're also a great source of complex B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin C & E, Selenium, Zinc and the most important Chlorophyll.

Micro Green Sprouted Salad

I use two methods for growing my sunflower sprouts, either in my sprouter (see below) or in a growing tray planted in 2cm of soil.

I usually go with the sprouter method as we are travelling a lot of the year and to carry a bag of soil around is not convenient. 

Simply take one handful of organic sunflower seeds, soak for 8hrs in filtered water until you can see the seeds splitting and the first signs of the white shoots appear on and then evenly place in sprouting tray, add more water and place the lid on the sprouter. You'll need to keep an eye on them so that they don't dry out, I usually add additional water gently every two days, also keep out of direct sunlight as the tender new shoots can easily scorch. 

Once started you'll notice growth every day and they will soon be reaching for the light. As the first leaves develop they will force the seed husk off the plant and after 4-5 days you'll be able to start teasing off the husks freeing the leaves which will then start to fatten.

Your crop of sunflower greens will be ready in approx 10 days. When the stems are strong and the first leaves are smooth and plump gather the plants and wash well with filtered water through a sieve. If you want to trim off the roots you can, personally I don't, I eat the whole thing, no waste. They will store in the fridge for a couple of days if needed, in a glass jar or container, that don't last that long usually in our home. 

The other method of growing your greens is more or less the same. Soak seeds as described previously and the place individual seeds on a 2cm deep bed of damp soil in a tray. Then cover with a thin layer of sprinkled soil and place in a dark cupboard for a couple of days. When the seeds started rooting and sprouting green shoots bring out into the light and gently water when needed. When ready to harvest take sharp scissors and cut the stalks just above the soil, then wash and consume. With this method you have the advantage of being able to get even more nutrients from the soil, you can even add minerals to the soil mix that will give extra goodies to your plants.

If you really want to get serious about your sunflower harvest, stagger planting your seeds two days apart. Get several trays going and then plant new seeds when the first tray is harvested, that way you have a constant supply of fresh greens. A greenhouse or growing room is ideal for this method and you'll be surprised how much you can produce with 7-10 trays. I promise sunflower sprouts are the most delicious greens you'll ever taste. They are now become very fashionable in a lot of the top restaurants also but you'll be paying a premium for the pleasure.

If you want to give this a go you can get sprouting seeds from my favorite supplier

or from our shop where we also have a selection of sprouters

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