If you're new to sprouting, learning how to make sunflower seed sprouts can be fun and a good way to get into the healthy habit of growing sprouts. With a few simple pieces of equipment and the right kind of sunflower seeds, you can have sprouts in just a few days.
Sprouting Basics and Benefits
Sprouting means to grow seeds in a water or damp solution just to the point where they sprout, but not beyond that. The goal is to grow the sprouts large enough to consume but tender enough so they're not yet full grown plants. Many holistic health practitioners believe sprouts offer health benefits, specifically high vitamin, mineral and enzyme content.
Like most seeds, learning how to make sunflower seed sprouts follows the basics of sprouting. The difference between sunflower sprouts and others is that sunflowers take very little time compared to other sprouting crops before they yield their crunchy, delicious and nutritious sprouts. In fact, the Sprout People, considered an expert resource for people interested in sprouting, states that it takes just 1-2 days to yield sunflower seed sprouts. Letting them sprout any longer than 1-2 days can actually harm their nutritional yield.
Sunflower seed sprouts are very nutritious. They are high in vitamins A, B, C and E. They're also a rich source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and other minerals. They have a mild taste and crunchy texture that's a pleasant addition to salads. Sprouts are also very high in enzymes. And because they are a sprouted food, they are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and raw food diet followers.
How to Make Sunflower Seed Sprouts
It's fairly easy to make sunflower seed sprouts.
Directions to Sprout Sunflower Seeds
Here are the basic steps to sprout sunflower seeds.
- Purchase sunflower seeds for sprouting: To make sunflower seed sprouts, you must start with organic, hulled sunflower seeds. The kind you can buy at the grocery store are usually roasted and salted or at the least, just roasted, which kills the enzymes inside the sprout, making them unable to grow. There are plenty of sources for sunflower seeds: Health food stores, grocery chains such as Whole Foods Markets and Fresh Fields, and online sources such as Sprout People.
- Cull the bad seeds: After purchasing the seeds, go through the seeds and remove any that are discolored or look funny. Rinse the seeds under cool water. It may be helpful to place the seeds in a fine mesh strainer, rinse, then pour them into your bowl or sprouting jar.
- Find a sprouting bowl or jar: Sunflower seeds sprouts can be sprouted in a plain ceramic or glass bowl, or you can use a Mason jar or sprouting jar. Because they soak rather than sprout, you will only need to keep them in water for a few hours before they're ready to eat.
- Pour about 1 cup of seeds into the bowl. If you think that will make too much for you to eat, reduce the amounts but keep the proportion of 1 to 3 (1 portion of seeds to 3 portions of water).
- Add 3 cups of cool water.
- Soak for two hours.
- Drain the water.
- Rinse with cool water
- Enjoy…they're ready to eat!
Sunflower seed sprouts should never develop leaves or roots. Look for sprouts that just have a bit peeking out from the seeds. That's a sign of a good, wholesome, nutritious sprout.
If you must, you can store sunflower seed sprouts for a few days but they don't store well. The secret to longer storage is to pat them dry and store them in a cool spot in the fridge. Cover the glass bowl or jar or pour the sprouts into a plastic bag to store them.