The health benefits of sprouts are well known, so if you want to eat healthy, you definitely should consider adding them to your diet. However, remember that like any other type of raw food, these crunchy fresh plants can carry some risks. If you want to be sure that you get only the best these foods have to offer, you’ll need to learn some rules of safe sprouting.
The danger comes from sprouts contaminated with bacteria. Consuming them can cause indigestion and a variety of other negative effects. Salmonella and E. coli are the most common bacteria that you might ‘catch’ from raw sprouts.
The following tips will help you avoid any problems caused by contamination:
- Buy only top-quality sprouts from reliable sources.
This is the most important rule of safe sprouting. According to studies, contamination usually occurs during the processing of seeds. If you buy an ‘infected’ product, sprouting it will only make things worse as bacteria will multiply.
Purchasing seeds from a company that guarantees quality and safety is the most efficient prevention method.
- Wash sprouts with filtered water.
Never eat unwashed raw foods, even if you are 100% sure they are clean. Wash sprouts with filtered water like you would do with bought fresh herbs.
- Examine the roots before eating.
A healthy sprout has a strong white or creamy stem. Darkish buds or stems and musty or otherwise unpleasant odors are signs that the product has gone bad. The exact color of sprouts may vary, but they should always have a clean and fresh smell.
- Store sprouts in the fridge.
After you harvest your crop of sprouts, put them in the fridge in an airtight container. It’s advised to eat them within the first two days, though some plants can keep longer. Examine them carefully every time before eating.
Note that any plants can be stored longer if you put them in the fridge unwashed.
- Cook your sprouts.
Many people love this particular food because it allows you to eat something green, fresh, and crunchy even in the middle of winter. Therefore, they prefer eating them raw. This approach is delicious but it’s also the most dangerous. If you want to make your food as safe as possible, you should cook your sprouts, especially if you buy them instead of growing on your own.
Please note that people over 60, pregnant women, and children are considered a high-risk group for sprout poisoning, as well as anyone with a weakened immune system. These people should always cook all their food thoroughly.
- Use proper sprouting equipment.
There are many specialized safe sprouting guides available online. You should study them before you try doing this yourself. Always clean your equipment thoroughly and keep the trays with growing seeds away from any contaminants. Rinse the seeds with clean water as often as necessary. Throw them away if you notice that they’ve gone moldy.
If treated carefully, sprouts can offer a great number of benefits to your health and beauty.