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By March 28, 2012 Read More →

“Wonder Food” of Emergency Preparedness: Sprouts

Sprouts are an excellent survival ration.  Not only are they a dense source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, they provide a sustained source of energy in emergency situations.  Sprouts are a “live” food and are a welcome addition to meals that primarily consist of prepackaged rations.  When fresh vegetables are scarce, sprouts are an excellent substitute.

Seeds for sprouting should be included in every emergency kit.  They have a long storage life and require very little space.  There are many online sources for seeds or you can package them yourself after purchasing from a health food store.  Just make sure they are put in a waterproof, airtight container with a tight seal and store them in a cool, dry place away from the light.

Neither sunshine nor soil is required for sprouting, and your “crop” will be ready in a matter of days, depending on the type of seed used.  Sprouting requires very little space.  Basic sprouting equipment is a simple as a Mason jar, a mesh screen to place over the top for rinsing, water, and a towel to cover the jar.  Other methods include sprouting trays, sprouting bags, and even elaborate self-rinsing systems.

When you consider the volume of sprouts grown from a mere teaspoon of seeds, sprouts serve as a powerhouse of nutrition for a minimal investment.  Upon germination (sprouting), the nutritional elements in the seeds increase dramatically.  For example, a grain of wheat increases its vitamin E content 300% after only 2 days of growth and the B2 vitamin riboflavin jumps from 13 milligrams to 54 mg in the sprout. In general, B vitamins can increase 300% to 1400% depending on the variety.

Depending on the type of sprouting seed used, the process usually involves an initial period (several hours) of soaking.  The seeds are then drained, rinsed, and then drained again.  If using a jar, the jar is placed on its side and either covered with a towel or keep in the dark.  Most seeds require rinsing and draining at least three times a day.  When the sprouts are ready (usually 2-5 days, depending on the type), a final rinse is done and the sprouts are ready to eat – either fresh or lightly cooked.  If refrigerated, sprouts will last several days, but rinsing will help prevent spoilage.  Don’t use sprouts that have a slimy appearance or a suspicious odor.

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4 Comments on "“Wonder Food” of Emergency Preparedness: Sprouts"

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  1. Collapse Survivor says:

    Great idea. How long is the long time that you can store the seeds? Is it feasible to grow your own sprout seeds if its a very long term collapse situation?

  2. Marsha Donaldson says:

    Most seeds will sprout with a very high germination rate for several years. After about the second or third year, the germination rate begins to decline a bit. However keep in mind that seeds are designed by nature to keep for extraordinary lengths of time and still sprout. Just like the wheat (a strain called “kamut”) found in Egyptian tombs which still sprouted after thousands of years.  If the seeds are packed oxygen free, this effectively extends the shelf life of the seeds for 5 to 10 years without drastically affecting the germination rate.  
    As far as growing your own seeds for sprouting, I am not sure.  I guess you could take the seeds from a mature plant from your garden, dry them and use for sprouts instead of planting in a garden.

  3. William Adams says:

    Wouldn’t sprouting require too much water in a survival situation? Rinsing your sprouts 2 times a day would quickly use up even a large supply of water. Would the rinsed water be reusable for drinking water?

    • Marsha Donaldson says:

      Good question, William!  I had wondered about this as well, and then figured the rinsing water could be filtered and reused.  Hopefully we will all have some type of filtration system in our plans to handle this.