I'm pretty sure you are more than familiar with sunflower seeds. From the seedy Pretzel you get from the bakery around the corner, from your seed-topped oat bowl and from your delicious nut mix bag. But have you ever tried sprouting sunflower seeds? Not only do the tiny sprouted sunflower seeds/microgreens look amazing, they are also loaded with nutrients.
Sprouting boosts any seeds biologically available nutrients and reduces the natural physic acid of the seed which makes them super healthy and easily digestible. Therefore, sprouts should actually be considered as true "superfoods". Sunflower seeds in particular, are rich in protein (+25% of sprouted seed), unsaturated fatty acid (especially lecithin & linoleic acid of 25-40%), B-Vitamins and various minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium & zinc. Another highlight about the seed is it's lignans content. Lignans are a large group of polyphenols found in plants which may support the prevention of hormonal triggered tumors such as breast and prostate cancer.*
I personally love to sprout sunflower seeds in a sprouting jar. First, its a perfect way to closely observe the process and second, it's super easy to handle. To rinse the seeds I don't even take the lid off. I just place the glass under the sink, hydrate the sprouts properly and place the jar back onto the draining wrack. My Go-To equipment is the following:
- Draining Wrack (optional equipment: I often use a standard oat bowl)
- Sprouting Seeds: Feel free to go with any brand you like. I currently purchase most of my seeds from a small German company called Eschenfelder (unpaid advertisement) as I am very happy with their organic seed quality. If you use other brands, keep in mind to purchase organic quality as you do not want to eat raw polluted greens.
Sunflower Seed Sprouts are super easy to grow at home. In the following, you find an easy "step by step manual" on how to grow Sunflower Seeds sprouts/ microgreens in a sprouting jar at home.
1. Use 2 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds, place them in your sprouting glass and let the seeds soak in water overnight or (for at least 8h).
2. Rinse off your seeds and place the glass diagonal in a bowl or draining wrack (open side/lid facing down so that extra water can drain off.
3. Wash sprouts 2-3 times per day to ensure proper hydration of the sprouts.
4. Continue process for 2-3 days (sprouted seeds) or 8-12 days (microgreens). Harvest and enjoy!
Note: If you desire to harvest your sunflower seed in their "sprout" stage, I recommend to sprout hulled sunflower seeds. Otherwise you will have to manually remove all shells from the sprouts. This step lapses if you continue the sprouting process until the seed has turned into a microgreen.
Sunflower seed sprouts and microgreens have a particular mild, slightly nutty, super crunchy and overall very fresh aroma.
As sunflower seed sprouts have a super mild taste, the perfect "crunchy texture" and also look beautiful on top of every meal, I could now list hundreds of dishes which could be a perfect match. My current favorites are sunflower seed microgreens on top of tacos, added to a wholegrain slice of bread or warming veggie bowls.
In general, you can eat sunflower seeds sprouts/ microgreens raw accompanied with EVERYTHING, roast them in the pan or oven (but always keep in mind that veggies loose nutrients during the heating process) and even dehydrate them as a crunchy snack.
I recommend 2 Tbsp of Sunflower Seeds to kickstart the process. You will end up with 1 glass of Microgreens. You will be so surprised with how you end up.
Soak your sprouts for at least 8 hours. Then, rinse them off, transfer the seeds into a sprouting jar and let the seeds germinate.
I recommend you to wash them at least twice a day. I normally rinse them off with cold water when I get up in the morning and before I go to sleep at night. If you wish, you can also wash them a third or fourth time but it's no must in my opinion.
4. How long does it take to sprout Sunflower Seeds?
It normally takes 2-3 days until your Sunflower Seed sprouts are ready to harvest and 8-12 to harvest sunflower seeds as microgreens (with fully developed mini leaves). When I harvest sunflower seeds, I always give them a thorough rinse before eating them. For the microgreens, I also cut off the root. But this has a visual effect. Overall, everything but the shell of the sunflower seed is edible.
5. Which equipment do I recommend for Sunflower Seed sprouting?
I personally love to grow Sunflower Seed sprouts in a sprouting glass because it is super easy to handle.
6. Do I need to cook Sunflower Seed sprouts before eating them?
Generally NO. Sprouted Sunflower seeds can be consumed raw.
Many people recommend growing them in the dark. I never follow this guideline though. Important is to not expose the seeds to direct sunlight. Keep them in a place with moderate room temperature and you will end up with deliciously healthy sunflower seed sprouts and microgreens.
Sunflower Seed Sprouts, just like any other sprouts and micrgoreens, spoil quickly. Therefore, I highly recommend you eat them right after harvesting. If however, you can't finish them all, just keep them in your airy sprouting glass, or wrap them in a kitchen towel and store them in your fridge. Use them up within 2-4 days.
If you try to sprout your first own sunflower seed sprouts or microgreens, tag me on social, i.e. Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook. I would love to your incredible sprouting results and share them with our little community. As always, feel free to get in touch with me through the comment section below, especially if you have any questions with regards to the sprouting process.
Love to hear from you. xx, Karo
1. Book: Angelika Fürstler (4. Auflage 2019): Sprossen & Mikrogrün
2. Book: Barbara Rias-Bucher (2. Auflage 2019): Keimlinge und Sprossen - Vitamine und Mineralstoffe von der Fensterbank
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