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.