Sunflower Seed Sprouts
Sunflower seed sprouts are germinating seeds of the sunflower plant that are obtained by soaking. The seeds do not usually sprout long roots and can be safely consumed after being soaked for an hour or two. The sprouts are extremely nutritious containing all the vitamins along with iron, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. They are also rich in protein.
The sunflower seeds are usually hulled for germination and are relatively rarer than the other seeds or grains that are consumed as sprouts as the seeds are liable to be broken during the hulling process. Unhulled seeds are also known to germinate occasionally. Soaking for a long time also renders the seeds inedible which develop brown stains due to oxidation.
The sprouts are slightly crunchy and have a fresh flavor which can enhance the taste of salads and green smoothies appreciably. The sunflower seeds can be sprouted throughout the year as well as both indoors and outdoors. The greens develop on being left too long and can be harvested and consumed as a nutritious ingredient as well.
Growing Sunflower Sprouts
- Soaking the sunflower seeds for about ten hours is mandatory before beginning the actual sprouting process.
- The seeds need to be rinsed and drained of excess water before being placed in a wide mouthed container and kept in a cool, semi-lit environment.
- A unique feature of the sunflower seeds is that the soft skin is peeled off during the sprouting process and needs to be removed carefully as they tend to rot, spoiling the seeds as well.
- The roots become obvious within 18 hours of sprouting although the crunchy seeds are usually preferred to be consumed as soon as the bulge of the root appears at the germ.
- The sprouts cannot be stored for a long period of time and it is customary to consume them immediately.
- The seeds double in size after sprouting.
Culinary Use of Sunflower Sprouts
The sprouted sunflower seeds make delicious snacks when mixed with sandwich fillings or served as toppings with fresh fruits. They are also used widely as ingredients for dips and raw food salads. Some of the popular recipes that use the sprouts are:-
- Winter Salad- A mixture of sunflower, alfalfa, wheat, bean and cabbage sprouts seved with a garlic and parsley dressing.
- Glazed Black Cod- A Japanese cod dish baked with miso and fish vinegar coating and served by tossing it with sunflower sprouts, mirin and green onions.
The Native Americans of the Hidatsa tribe sang songs to the sunflower sprouts in order to encourage growth.