Caroline Bretherton has worked in the food industry for over twenty years, and has authored or co-authored ten books. Her first book, The Kitchen Garden Cookbook, was a subject close to her heart, and she has recently completed Super Clean Super Foods, also for DK. In her recent book, Sprouted!, she shows readers how to power up their plates with home-sprouted superfoods. Read on to learn more!
1. Why are sprouts so super? Why should we grow them?
Legumes and other seeds contain all the nutrients needed for a plant to grow and mature. By sprouting the seed you are essentially making it easier to access those nutrients, either by softening the hard exterior or actually starting the plant growing. Cooking and eating sprouted foods gives you access to the full range of all the macro and micro nutrients available in that food.
2. Just how easy is it to get starting growing sprouts?
Surprisingly easy! Some legumes and seeds are easier to sprout than others, but all you really need is a warm room, a large jar and a little patience, and you can be harvesting home sprouted foods in less than 3 days.
3. What are some surprising ways that sprouts can be used in cuisine?
Sprouted legumes and pulses can essentially be used in any recipes where regular ones are used. If you do not want the pulses to have a large sprout, just harvest them once the sprout has just begun to appear. Sub them in for dried beans in all kinds of soups, stews and chillies, remembering that they take less time to cook than dried beans and do not need overnight soaking first, as this is essentially what you have been doing during the sprouting period.
4. What are some interesting factoids about sprouts that our readers would be surprised or interested to know?
I think before I started sprouting I thought that they had to be used immediately, and that my kitchen and fridge would be filled with half eaten jars of vegetation. In reality sprouted beans and pulses can be rinsed and carefully dried on kitchen paper, then stored in a ziplock bag for up to a week in the fridge. Essentially this means that you can sprout enough for a weeks worth of meals and store them in the fridge for last minute soups, stir fried and salads whenever you want. I often throw a half used bag in the freezer for later use too.
5. Tell us about a recipe in your book that we absolutely must try and why.
Probably my favorite recipe in the book was my version of the Japanese street food classic, Okonomiyaki – which is like a large fried vegetable pancake. I’d never cooked it before and the layering of vegetables and sprouts, fried until crispy and topped with a refreshingly simple salad and crumbled feta, makes a simple yet stunning lunch.