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What Are Broccoli Sprouts?

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  • Written By: Cynde Gregory
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2014
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Broccoli sprouts are tiny, nutrition-packed broccoli seeds that have been moistened and left in the dark long enough to permit them to begin to grow. These sprouts offer amazing health benefits. Broccoli, like other crucifers, such as cauliflower or cabbage, is well known to contain high levels of antioxidants. Eating an ounce (about 28 grams) of broccoli sprouts provides the same amount of sulfurophane, a cancer-fighting antioxidant, as three full pounds (about 1.3 kilograms) of mature broccoli.

Broccoli seeds for sprouting will stay vital for up to five years as long as they’re stored in a cool, dry spot. It only takes a few days from when the sprout seeds are begun to when they are ready to eat. If they’re in prime condition when they go into the refrigerator, they’ll keep for as long as six weeks in optimum conditions.

Crucifers or brassica plant members include not only broccoli and its cousins cauliflower and cabbage. Other family members are mustard greens, arugula, radishes, and other veggie types, many of which have a characteristic bite back when bitten into. Vitamins A, B, and E are plentiful in broccoli sprouts as well as vitamin K. Just one ounce (about 28 grams) of sprouts contain more vitamin C than an entire bag of oranges.

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Sprouts of all kinds are easy to grow, even for someone who lacks a green thumb. All that is needed, in addition to seeds and a dark spot on the shelf, is a mason-type jar with a special lid. Adjustable sprouting lids can be found at many health food stores. An alternative is to take a canning jar rim and a square of fine mesh wide enough to cover the mouth of the jar.

After rinsing, a scant palm-sized handful of sprouts can be placed into the jar and covered with water to soak overnight. The next day the seeds must be very well drained. With the special lid screwed on, the jar can be turned upside down over a sink and shaken a bit. Each morning and evening, the broccoli sprouts will need another rinsing and must be well drained.

These sprouts will make a delicious and good-for-you addition to salad or can be added to soups or baked into casseroles. For picky eaters, the wise cook can create a smoothie with any kind of fruits and camouflage a healthy handful of sprouts inside. Some folks like to add them to sandwiches in place of lettuce.

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