I am new to sprouting, and so far have been LOVING it! This past weekend, I have started sprouting alfalfa and fenugreek. Oriental mustard is on it’s 2nd day (needs another day or two), and at this very moment I am soaking green kale seeds. Since I’ve started, we’ve been able to enjoy sprouts in salads every day. I’m THRILLED! Not only are they incredibly tasty and quick to produce – the health benefits are crazy yo! You can read about some of the benefits in my last post, here. (Scroll to the bottom to see photos of the fenugreek seeds in sprouting action!)
I thought I’d start a series of posts, detailing what I’m sprouting, showing pictures and the health benefits of each seed. Many of you probably didn’t know that you can sprout pretty much any grain or seed. The main thing you want to ensure though, is that is is organic and non-GMO. You can read about non-GMO here.
So what about the health benefits? Sprouts are much more nutritious than the dormant seed or bean from which they spring from. By “awakening” these seeds, we are actually eating all of the live potential energy of the sprout.
Because of the higher water content in sprouts as opposed to dry seeds and beans, we find a higher nutritional content. Sprouts contain absorb-able protein, and contain increased calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C.
Even though alfalfa was the first seed I sprouted, I don’t feel the need to write about it because we’re all probably familiar with it. It’s so common in grocery stores and health food places, I thought I’d go off the beaten path and spark your interest in something different. Want to learn more? Read on my friends!
I was intrigued by this seed because I recently started using the leaves in recipes. It’s a very potent smelling leaf, and the spice fenugreek, also called methi and menthulu, are the small, hard, yellowish brown, angular, protein-rich seeds harvested from the pods of the plant. The seeds have a bittersweet taste and are highly aromatic once ground. Because of those qualities, fenugreek has become a key ingredient in curry powder. Fenugreek seeds are also used in other spice blends, fish and vegetables dishes, dahl, breads, stews and preserves, such as pickles and chutneys.
Like cilantro, fenugreek is a plant whose leaves and seeds can be used in all sorts of ways. It is native to India and southern Europe, and for centuries has grown wild in those and other places. It’s also one of the oldest cultivated plants known to humans and, according to the Complete Spice Book, has been grown in the Nile Valley since 1000 BC. If you buy the dried leaves for cooking, make sure you have it wrapped up tightly in a Ziploc or in a glass jar to avoid having your kitchen cupboard smelling like it. It will overpower other spices in your cupboards. Despite fenugreeks many uses, you are unlikely to find it at any mainstream grocery store. If you’re wanting to use the leaves, try a local Indian grocery store.
So, back to sprouting and the benefits of fenugreek. If you’re looking to sprout the seeds, I suggest buying organic, non-gmo seeds from Mumms or another online seed sprouting company. Do your research because organic non-gmo seeds are DEFINITELY the way to go.
Fenugreek is one of the oldest recorded medicinal herbs, highly esteemed by both east and west, and has been regarded as a treatment for just about every ailment known to man. Fenugreek has a beneficial action on cleansing the blood.
What are the benefit of these super cool seeds/sprouts?
- Did you know that fenugreek is regarded as a sister herb to garlic? A traditional herb for colds and flu, fenugreek has the same properties. It is also attributed with being a blood cleanser and a lymphatic cleanser.
- Another attribute of fenugreek is it’s apparent capacity to create a protective coating over inflamed areas of the stomach and bowel including peptic ulcers. Fenugreek is a practical herb for all mucus conditions of the body, particularly the lungs, by helping to clear congestion. It is a powerful antioxidant and it acts as a mucus solvent and throat cleanser, which also eases the urge to cough. Even drinking the water that seeds have soaked in and been rinsed with, helps to soften and dissolve, accumulated and hardened masses of cellular debris. Use fenugreek for head colds, influenza, catarrh, constipation, bronchial complaints, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, pleurisy, tuberculosis, sore throat, laryngitis, hay fever and sinusitis.
- Fenugreek has also been noted as increasing breast milk production in nursing mothers. On the other hand, pregnant women should not ingest fenugreek.
- Fenugreek has had the reputation for enhancing libido. No wonder it has been called an aphrodisiac. I smiled, when I read in a herbal book, ‘Fenugreek, for making an old man into a young man’!. Some men use fenugreek for hernia, erectile dysfunction (ED), and other male problems.
- Fenugreek appears to slow absorption of sugars in the stomach and stimulate insulin. Both of these effects lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.
- As a diaphoretic it is able to bring on a sweat and to help detox the body. This takes place through the pores of the skin. The pungent aroma of fenugreek may be smelt on the skin and in under-arm perspiration. This is evidence that the herb is working well: shower frequently! The body odour of fenugreek is nowhere near as offensive as a body reeking of garlic. After using the sprouts for a while, this fenugreek body aroma, does not seem to be so apparent, maybe, the sprouts have done a pretty good cleanse.
- Fenugreek seeds are rich source of minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients. 100 g seeds provide 323 calories.
- The seeds are a very good source of soluble dietary fiber. Soaking the seeds in water makes their outer coat soft and mucilaginous. 100 g of seeds provide 24.6 g or over 65% of dietary fiber.
- This prized spice is an excellent source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering action on sodium. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome-oxidases enzyme.
Raw hard seeds, right out of the package.
How much to seed to sprout?
- I used 1/4 for the tray, and 1-2 tbsp for the jar method. You don’t want to over pack the jar because the seeds won’t aerate properly and become mushy and rot. Not good peeps. Keep enough room in the jar or a spread out layer in the try to allow the seeds to do their thang. Sprouted, fenugreek grows large vigorous, crunchy sprouts with an unusual maple flavour. Quite awesome on a salad. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!
Seeds in the tray, see the tail starting?
The final product! Yummers!
Storing your spouts:
- Be sure to only store your sprouts when they are DRY. Let them air out after the last rinse before putting them in a seal-able container. You can keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days, if they last that long!
Store in an air tight container for 3-5 days