What’s so special about broccoli sprouts? According to various researchers (including Johns Hopkins and Ohio State University), they contain 1,000 percent more nutrients than mature broccoli!
Sulforaphane, the prominent phytochemical in broccoli, combats cancer on several fronts − including removal of carcinogens, prevention of cancer cell production, destruction of breast cancer cells, and tumor reduction. These small plants are in the cancer research limelight for their unique ability to exert 50 times more cancer-fighting power than broccoli.
Sprouts are easily absorbed into the system because they also contain potent digestive enzymes. Their flavor allows for easily adding them to all your favorite meals. Broccoli sprouts are also easy to grow and will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
7 Easy Steps for Growing Broccoli Sprouts
Step #1: Start with three tablespoons organic, high germination broccoli seeds for sprouting. (Click on the Sources & References link below the article for a few online sources for seeds). Prep the 3 tablespoons of seeds by rinsing them thoroughly in a tightly woven stainless steel or plastic strainer while removing any debris and non-seed material.
Step #2: Place the rinsed seeds in a quart sized, pre-sterilized, glass jar (a mason canning jar that’s been rinsed with boiling water and cooled is a good choice). Fill the jar with approximately ¾ cup or more of spring or purified water. The quantity of water is not crucial as the seeds will only absorb the amount necessary for sprouting.
Push down any floating seeds with your finger as broccoli seeds tend to float at first. Place the jar in an easy to notice place (such as the kitchen counter near the sink, which is where I keep mine) for eight hours.
Step #3: Drain-Rinse-Drain again. In this step you skim off any floating bits and then drain them through the strainer, or place a plastic screen or piece of cheesecloth in the mason jar lid and drain water out this way. (If using an ordinary quart jar take the cheesecloth or plastic screen and secure it with a heavy rubber band around the mouth of the jar). It is important to keep seeds rinsed, but not soaking in water from this point on or they will rot.
Invert the container for ten minutes or so at approximately 45 degrees on a dish rack or other holder to ensure the sprouts are free from excess water. Then set them in a well-ventilated area where they will be noticed during the day so you remember to rinse and drain them every 8 hours. You can add water through the screen without removing the lid to make it easier. Then shake the seeds down and lay the jar on its side until it’s time to rinse again. Repeat this process for three days or until you see two leaves emerge.
Step #4: Place them in indirect or partial sunlight to let them get greener. After another day or two of rinsing and draining, they are ready to store in the refrigerator.
Step #5: Remove the hulls of the seeds by placing the sprouts in a bowl or other large container of clean water. Gently pull the sprout mass apart and allow the seed hulls to float to the top. Skim the top, rinse the sprouts again and return them to their jar with the screen on top. Invert the jar to allow all the water to drain off and allow to dry sufficiently (approximately 8 hours).
Step #6: Place the broccoli sprouts in the refrigerator in a covered jar or other suitable container for later use in salads, sandwiches, or to eat alone as a snack.
Step #7: Enjoy! There are many ways to use this nutrient dense food. However, to fully benefit from all the nutritional properties of these sprouts it is best to consume them in their natural raw (uncooked) state.
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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in April 2016. It has been updated and republished as of October 2019.