Well I can quite honestly say I’ve never experienced such awful weather in June! What is going on? Most of my plants are still in my polytunnel, which has just had the side blown off!
So since it’s not easy or much fun to be gardening in the actual garden I thought I’d share a great idea which I use all year round to provide myself with the most fantastic, organic, living food source!
Yes you may have guessed I’m talking about sprouting your own seeds, which are nature’s miracle and probably the most underestimated food available to us today, incredibly easy, fast, inexpensive so nutritious and absolutely delicious!
Sprouts are an exceptional food source. If you consider that every wee seed contains everything locked within it to grow into a plant and sprouting initiates that growth then by eating them we are accessing all of that great nutrition! Sprouts are rich in natural plant enzymes which are vital in maintaining digestive and overall health. Enzymes are perhaps the most vital ingredient in our food but are sadly they are woefully deficient because of modern cooking and processing methods.
Sprouted grains and seeds represent nutrition at its simplest which provides us with a direct link to nature itself! I really love that connection, that’s where Nourished by Nature came from. You really can’t beat organic food you have grown yourself and sprouting seeds is as about as simple as it gets.
Sprouts have such a complete nutritional profile - we literally could live on them and nothing else!
However raw grains, seeds and pulses contain enzyme inhibitors which ensure the seeds don’t sprout prematurely before the conditions are right. These enzyme inhibitors interfere with our digestion by preventing our own digestive enzymes from working properly and preventing us from utilising and absorbing some of the nutrition and causing digestive upset.
Cooking destroys most of the enzyme inhibitors but unfortunately also destroys all the beneficial plant enzymes which we need to make the food complete and digestible.
So to sprout a seed is to let nature convert it into a perfect food. No man-made process can match the way that plant enzymes effortlessly change all the inert proteins, fats and starches into amino acids, essential fatty acids and simple sugars, which are easy for us to absorb and utilise.
So much of our food is so far removed from its natural form, refined and processed to be almost unrecognisable as food; so sprouted grains and seeds represent nutrition at its most pure and simplest and actually provides us with a direct link to nature itself.
I sprout seeds and lentils all year round.
I use a three tiered sprouting tray from ……. http://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/products/being-fare/being-fare-salad-sprouters/?PCode=DSGPESS15&gclid=Cj0KEQjw-tSrBRCk8bzDiO__gbwBEiQAk-D31U0_rUNxVUTWqFqgBNCyS-zTqKsFpP4AHa7tlTcwsX0aAkWE8P8HAQ
You can also use a large glass jar , with a piece of muslin secured with a rubber band but it’s a bit of a faff to be honest and I’m all for making life easier so I’d highly recommend the tiered tray. It’s so simple, you don’t need to pre-soak anything. Just pour a single layer of your chosen seeds in each of the trays with the solid green collecting tray underneath and rinse them twice a day under the tap. You can use the collected water for your plants or just empty it down the sink. I find the seeds do best away from direct sunlight so don’t put them on a sunny windowsill, they will dry out too fast. Just put them on your kitchen worktop near the sink for ease of rinsing! Seeds and lentils tend to sprout at different rates so you can just use them as they are ready. I also move the trays around a bit, the top tray dries out quicker so rotate them every day or so.
My favourite things to sprout are green lentils, puy lentils, mung beans, alfalfa seeds, broccoli seeds and sunflower seeds.
Always use organic seeds if possible, I get mine from www.skysprouts.co.uk for great value and quality.
I buy loose organic lentils from Locavore or Wholefoods.
They all taste different, broccoli seeds are a wee bit hot like radishes, green lentils are just deliciously sweet and juicy, alfalfa seeds are finer with a slightly fresh leafy taste, mung beans are actually otherwise known as beansprouts, although much smaller if you sprout them yourself. Commercial ones are grown under controlled conditions, in the dark I think so that they are very pale but long and crunchy! You can literally sprout any grain, lentil, bean or seed so just try a few to find your favourites.
But rest assured whatever you sprout will add incredible nutrition and vibrant living energy to your life and who doesn’t want more of that??
If you don’t fancy sprouting your own seeds, although I don’t know why you wouldn’t given the health benefits, Wholefoods sell a good selection from Sky Sprouts, which is the company I order my seeds from. Although they are packaged in plastic containers which is not great for the environment, and end up in landfill. So I’d strongly recommend you start sprouting your own!
Another great thing about sprouts is they are so versatile and will generally keep in a covered container in the fridge for 4 or 5 days; here are just a few of my favourite ways of enjoying them:
Delicious simply on their own as a snack
Juice them or add to smoothies
Use as garnish for soups
Sprinkle on salads
Use in wraps
Great as a topping on oatcakes, rice cakes or crackers with coconut oil, tahini and slices cucumber or tomato
So what’s stopping you……Happy Sprouting!!!
…your health in your hands…
I just love dips and quite honestly don’t think our family could survive without hummus of some sort! It’s a frequent snack in our house but really healthy and delicious.
Based on chickpeas which are a great source of protein, fibre, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and loads more, chickpeas support literally every system in the body!
Add in tahini, full of calcium and magnesium, Garlic a nutritional superstar, olive oil full of Vit E and omega 3 fats to support brain health and fresh lemon juice a great source of Vit C, antioxidants and highly alkalising and you have a fabulous snack food on your hands!
That is the nutritional impact of hummus! Impressed, you should be!! Hummus provides sustainable energy, controls cholesterol, reduces risk of heart attack and strokes and maintains a healthy digestive system. So if hummus isn’t already part of your healthy eating then it really should be!
Here is the basic recipe:
1 400g can chickpeas
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
About 100ml water
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Simply add the ingredients to a food processor or blender and gradually add the water until you get desired consistency.
2. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can add more lemon juice and/or garlic till you are happy with the flavour.
Its so versatile and great on a wrap with salad, on oatcakes, rice cakes, my favourite brand is Kallo, they do a fabulous range of organic rice cakes and they even write a cute wee poem on each packet.
They are a great company making real quality products with the best organic ingredients.
Contrasting with the other well known brand, Snack a Jacks which have MSG and all sorts of additives you don’t want to be eating. You have been warned!! Choose wisely for your health!
Anyway back to the dips, the other thing about hummus is you can make so many variations. Another favourite of ours is olive and coriander. Olives add great quality fats and fresh coriander is incredibly detoxing and supports your liver and it tastes great!
Here is the recipe
Green Olive & Coriander Hummus
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon tahini
8 to 10 pitted green olives
large handful of coriander leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Simply add everything to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add water to desired consistency. Check seasoning and serve!
Another favourite is Moroccan Butter-bean Dip, as the title suggests, it uses butter-beans- as the base, which have very similar benefits to chickpeas, full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. A few apricots add a delicate sweetness with piquancy from the smoked paprika and a wee hit of heat from the cayenne pepper.
Moroccan Butter-bean Dip
1 400g can of butter-beans, rinsed and drained
½ red pepper, sliced
3 dried ready to eat apricots
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, its quite strong so taste then add more if you like
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Simply add all the ingredients to a food processor and blitz until well combined.
2. Taste and adjust the seasoning
3. Add water to desired consistency.
4. Serve and enjoy on crackers, oatcakes, with raw veggie crudities.
And last but not least here is my absolute favourite dip, packed full of health enhancing ingredients! It's delicious, so simple to make and such a vibrant colour. I actually won first prize on Twitter with this recipe and won a whole hamper full of Fairtrade products from Liberation Nuts!
So if you want to impress someone, make this!!
Beetroot & Walnut Dip
Beetroot is a powerful detoxifier, cleansing the liver and kidneys and walnuts are a great source of omega 3 fats which support heart and brain function.
250-300g cooked beetroot, vacuum packed
1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 handful of fresh coriander or flat leaf parsley (optional)
½ cup, (50g/2oz) walnuts
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of tahini
Sea salt and black pepper
1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a coarse paste.
2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, season with salt and pepper.
Dips are also great as a topping for a baked sweet potato, one of my favourite lunches actually with caramelised red onions and tamari seeds on top. Super yum served with a big salad. Totally balanced, delicious, simple and healthy.
....your health in your hands...
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.