You have limited space in your vertical garden, so you have to make every inch count. Thankfully, broccoli sprouts are not only easy to grow but also have incredible potential health benefits. From adding more fiber to your diet to just wanting a delicious additive to your meals, broccoli sprouts might be just what you need.
These sprouts are causing a stir in the healthy lifestyle community, while also taking your vertical garden to the next level. Space efficient, healthy, and useful broccoli sprouts are a wonderful addition that can be grown on a regular and frequent schedule. All you'll need is the seeds, some water, a jar or tray sprouter, and some knowledge on what they are and how to grow them.
What Are Broccoli Sprouts?
Broccoli sprouts are essentially just immature broccoli plants. They’re harvested before they get very far in their development to be used in their sprout forms. Are they really different from broccoli though? The sprouts themselves don’t have a high quantity of vitamins K and C like mature broccoli. They do have a much higher concentration of myrosinase. Which makes them completely different in their overall structure. That myrosinase is the key to unlocking serious potential health benefits.
The myrosinase works with your stomach and breaks down the glucosinolates in the sprouts to a more useable form. This form, called isothiocyanates, activates other enzymes that overall encourage the body to remove potential disease-causing agents.
Once the sprouts mature, they change drastically. Leaving them with a higher quantity of vitamins K and C instead of a plethora of glucosinolates. You'll never get quite the same potential benefits from mature broccoli. Overall, these immature little plants may pack a solid punch in the fight against some diseases. The beautiful thing about broccoli sprouts, though, is that the seeds are easy to get.
Where can you get them?
There are a variety of places to get broccoli sprouts, including online. There are even a variety of brick and mortar stores that may carry them. With hundreds of places to purchase them, you do need to be careful.
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Some suppliers aren’t producing trustworthy sprouts, which is why so many people opt to grow their own. Kroger, one of the nation’s largest supermarket chains, stopped stocking them in 2012. This is due to their suppliers being unable to provide safe sprouts into their customers.
Some people are concerned that the environment you need to grow sprouts in is similar to that of growing bacteria. Thankfully, you can grow broccoli sprouts safely on your own, without much worry about getting sick. The biggest problem seems to be that some suppliers don't care about how their sprouts were grown.
Growing and eating safe sprouts overall is an easy enough feat to manage if you rinse the sprouts daily. If you're careful when you grow your broccoli sprouts you'll find that they're safe and rewarding.
Why Should You Include Them in Your Vertical Garden?
These sprouts are tenacious and determined to grow, even without soil. You only need a small space to grow quite a few of them. On top of that, you don’t need a lot of them to pull in the potential health benefits. Just a small addition to your meals -- or as a snack -- adds more fiber to your diet.
You can use a variety of methods to incorporate broccoli sprouts into your vertical garden. One method involves using a simple mason jar, while the other allows you to hang them vertically along a wall. Regardless of your available space, broccoli sprouts are extremely versatile. They're also delicious and can be added to a variety of amazing recipes. They're easy to incorporate into a vertical garden but how do you grow them?
They’re easy to grow
Broccoli sprouts are incredibly simple to grow regardless of the method you choose. The mason jar method is relatively simple, you add 2 tablespoons of broccoli sprouts and a few inches of water to the jar. You'll need a sprouting lid to cover the top at first. From there you should store them in a warm dark place overnight. This will encourage the sprouts to begin to grow, a kitchen cabinet or closet is a great place to tuck them away.
The next morning drain them and give them a gentle rinse with clean water. Make sure you get all of the water off in the end. You'll need to do this a few times a day, continually encouraging the seeds to grow. Eventually, they will break open and a root will come out. From there they will grow about an inch long with yellowed leaves. This is the point where you place them in the sun to encourage healthy growth.
You'll need to keep up the rinsing process throughout their lives until you're ready to eat them. When their leaves are dark green they're ready to go. It can take anywhere from 3 days to a week in total. From there It's time to refrigerate them and use them as needed. Before you move them to the refrigerator you should swap the sprouting lid out for a regular mason jar lid.
Growing broccoli sprouts vertically
You could also use the vertical hanging method. You start them horizontally, but a few days in, you can hang them and care for them on a wall. To manage this method you will need a tray sprouter. This will help keep your sprouts from falling out all over the place. It does take more time to grow them, but they'll be hanging on the wall instead of in a jar.
After you're done with the initial soak, rinse the sprouts thoroughly. Be sure to use a lot of water pressure to rinse them well. From there you're going to wait 12 hours and then rinse them a few more times. Wait an additional 12 hours between each rinse, you should only need 2 or 3 rinses at this point before moving on to the next step.
Wait 12 hours from your last rinse and you'll spread them across the tray. Use a spray bottle to move them, coating the tray evenly. You should use much less water pressure so you can move them around easily. You can also use your hands to spread them if you can reach them. After another 12 hour interval feel free to rinse them gently, be sure not to disturb their location on the tray.
After another 12 hours, you can hang the sprouts and turn up the water pressure a little when you rinse them. Drain them thoroughly after every rinse. It's not easy to disturb the sprouts at this stage, but you still don't want to turn the water pressure all the way up or spray them harshly if you're using a water bottle. 12 hours after that rinse they're edible, but you should spray them again, to remove any seed hulls.
What Are Broccoli Sprouts Good For?
Broccoli sprouts seem to be good for everything from health detoxes to cooking. They're delicious additions to any recipe and it's easy to add them in. Even if the recipe doesn't initially call for them, you'll only need a small amount to make a difference. You can cook them in a stir-fry or put them in a soup. They may even have a wide variety of health benefits such as cancer-fighting agents. They also may help your respiratory and heart function.
Though growing and eating broccoli sprouts is not dangerous, you need to be sure you rinse them regularly throughout their growth stage. Also, remember that any potential health benefits are not yet backed up by scientific proof published by reputable sources. Otherwise, broccoli sprouts are a scrumptious addition to a wide variety of recipes.
The Broccoli Sprout Revelation
Your vertical garden is vertical for a reason. With such a confined space, being conscious of everything that’s planted in it is essential. You need to weigh the cost of growing each plant, how much space each plant will take up, and, how much harvest you’ll get. Overall you're judging to see if growing that plant outweighs the trouble involved. Broccoli sprouts are definitely worth it.
They're nutritious, easy to grow and able to grow in small areas, and cost-efficient. It doesn’t matter if you want a great source of fiber, to take advantage of the possible health benefits or just a wonderful addition to a recipe, broccoli sprouts have you covered. Do you have a favorite recipe that includes broccoli sprouts? Share it in the comments so we can all enjoy it.