They may be small, but sprouts are little powerhouses of nutrition, packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes, says local naturopath and sprout grower, Ruth Hanrahan.
Ruth grows a variety of legume sprouts for the Sproutlovers stall at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market, including chickpeas, blue peas, puy lentils, beluga lentils, red lentils, adzuki beans, mung beans and fenugreek.
She says that when a seed sprouts, there is a huge increase in its enzyme activity and vitamin levels. ‘In that first little moment of growth to get the seed going there’s lots of life activity and vitality.’
Sprouting also makes the seed easier to digest, which means our bodies are better able to absorb the goodness it contains.
Ruth first started selling sprouts in Sydney to support herself through her naturopathy studies, and when she returned home to the Northern Rivers, about 15 years ago, she decided to keep it going. Her partner Michael brings the sprouts to the market each week.
The sprouts at the market are very much still alive and still growing, says Ruth. ‘From the beginning of the market to the end of the market you can see that they’ve grown, and when you take them home, they’ll still grow really slowly in your fridge.’
Ruth says it’s easy to add sprouts to your everyday diet. You can throw a handful into your salad, sprinkle them on a sandwich, on avocado toast, or into a soup or stir-fry just before serving. Sprouts are also great in kids’ lunchboxes, in veggie patties, or dressed with a little lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper for a tasty and healthy snack during the day. You can even make a supercharged sprouted hummus by replacing ordinary chickpeas with sprouted chickpeas.