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Sunflower seed sprouts are the sprouts obtained from allowing hulled sunflower seeds to germinate. The seeds can be sprouted indoors throughout the year and have a slightly earthy, nutty flavor to them. Sunflower greens are different from sunflower sprouts in that unhulled seeds are used to create the baby sunflower plants. The sprouts are enzyme powerhouses and are valued for their antiaging properties, and they are used by many raw food enthusiasts for their immense nutritional value. Unlike other sprouts that can be sprouted in commercial sprouters or cloth, people use trays of dirt to sprout these seeds.
A storehouse of protein, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids, sunflower seed sprouts have been used to help improve energy levels and fertility and to soothe the eyes. Sprouting greatly enhances the amount of vitamin C, betacarotene, and chlorophyll content of the seeds. Their high enzyme content makes them easier to digest compared to unsprouted seeds. They are considered to be superior to freeze-dried supplements like spirulina because they keep growing right up to the point of eating them. Raw food enthusiasts consider such sprouts to be a live food and credit it with imparting subtle life forces to the body.
Eaten raw as a snack or added to garnishes, sunflower seed sprouts are delicious in their own right. The nutrients in these sprouts are present in a form that can be easily digested by the body, so there isn't any real need to cook them. They can be blended into smoothies, soups, and juices for additional texture or added to salads and sandwiches. Many prefer to eat the sprouts right off the tray after harvesting and rinsing them with some water.
Growing sunflower seed sprouts is ridiculously easy. Hulled seeds are left to soak overnight or for about eight hours. They are sprinkled and spread out over a tray containing soil that is airy and light. It's not necessary to cover them with dirt — sprinkling a little water over them is enough. Left in a place with adequate sunlight and watered regularly, these sprouts should spring up within a day or two. When they put out two leaves, they are ready to be harvested.
A pair of scissors is all that's needed to harvest sunflower seed sprouts. Most of the nutrients are concentrated in the parts that are close to the soil, so it's best to cut the stems as close to the dirt as possible. Some factors to keep in mind include removing any loose inner hulls before sowing the seeds. If the loose hulls are left with the soaked seeds for a long time, they will cause the seeds to spoil. It's important to remove all the husks and put them in sealed plastic bags in as dry a condition as possible inside a refrigerator. When stored in this manner, they may keep for up to a week.
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