Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sprouting Sunflower Seeds

I just started sprouting sunflower seeds again for the winter. They are delicious in salads, on sandwiches, or in juices.
Sunflower greens are a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins A, B complex, D, and E; they also contain minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. In addition to these vitamins and minerals, sunflower greens are a rich source of lecithin which helps break down fatty acids into an easily digestible water soluble form, and chlorophyll which benefits many functions within the body, including building blood supply, revitalizing tissue, calming inflammation, activating enzymes, and deodorizing the body (from Dr. Robert Young). They are also a great source of protein.
Buy good quality black seeds (with hulls), rinse them once or twice and then soak them overnight in a container suited for sprouting (just about any container will work). The next morning, drain off the water and rinse them a few times. Place the container full of rinsed seeds in a dark place, take them out and rinse and drain two or three times a day and in a day or two they will start to grow shoots or “tails”. When the shoots are about a1/2 to 1 inch long the seeds are ready to be planted. I buy my seeds on line

I select an indoor spot by my patio doors because it has moderate sunlight and good air circulation. Add one inch of potting soil to a tray that is about two inches deep and has drainage holes. My husband drilled holes in a large saucer that is usually placed under large plants. Beneath that saucer I have another saucer to catch and drain the water from the planted seeds. Water the soil thoroughly, let the water drain and then tamp down the soil. Spread the sprouted seeds evenly over the soil and gently tamp them down. Cover the exposed sprouted seeds with 1/2 inch potting soil and tamp. Water as often as needed to keep the soil moist but not wet. The bottom saucer helps with drainage and prevents the soil from becoming soggy.

Ready to eat in 7 days

Your sunflower greens will be ready to eat in about 7 days, you will know they are ready when they have grown two leaves. Harvest the greens before the 2nd or inner set of leaves appears. Cut the greens above the soil level, wash and drain, remove any left over husks and they are ready to eat. Right at your fingertiips you have "Live, raw food."

I wash and rinse the greens, wrap them in a paper towel, place them in a plastic bag and then into the refrigerator, they will stay good for 7 to 10 days. You can re-rinse and re-wrap them every few days to keep them super fresh.

Sunflower seeds are a great item for food storage.

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