Beetroot sprouts have a light earthy taste, just a touch different and neutral in combination with other vegetables. It is the fantastic colour that that makes all the difference on your plate. They can be used raw or cooked to decorate salads, toast dishes and other snacks or stir fries.
Beetroot sprouting seeds are similar to the Mung bean in the sense that you can grow in the light or dark to produce two very different tasting varieties of sprouting seed.
Rich in vitamins, amino acids and mineral salts, they are easy to digest and have a low calorie content. Eaten raw, they maintain all of their nutrient value. Pre-soak seeds for best results, the sprouts will be ready in around 6 to 8 days,
How to grow Sprouting Seeds:
Seeds are just plants waiting to happen; dry they are in a dormant state and only need water and light to become a living entity. Seeds sprout fastest in a warm light airy place, out of direct sunlight, with an ambient temperature of 18 to 22°C (65 to 72°F), which is pretty much the condition of most kitchens. All you need is a large glass jar with a screw top lid and water.
You can use a purpose made sprouter, there are many inexpensive types available, or you can make your own by piercing the lid of a wide mouth jar to make drainage holes or securing a square of muslin over the top of the jar with an elastic band. Many of the sprouts can simply be grown on cotton wool or kitchen towel, remember when you were a child - one egg box, filled with cotton wool and - bingo! - mustard and cress is yours within ten days.
Sprouting the Seeds:
Put seeds into a bowl or into your sprouter. Add 2 to 3 times as much cool (16°C/60°F) water. Mix seeds up to assure even water contact and soak for 6-12 hours.
Empty the seeds into your sprouter (if necessary) and drain off the soak water, then rinse again and drain thoroughly.
Set your sprouter anywhere out of direct sunlight and at room temperature (21°C/70°F is optimal) between rinses. Rinse and drain again every 8 to 12 hours for 3 days.
Note: Brassicas tend to float. Try to sink those that do by knocking them down with your fingers. Most of those floating seeds will sink during the hours they are soaking.
On the fourth day if you've been keeping them away from light, move them into some light. Avoid direct sun as it can cook your sprouts. Indirect sunlight is best, but you will be amazed at how little light sprouts require to green up.
Continue to rinse and drain every 8 to 12 hours.
This is where your sprouts do their growing. Your sprouts will be done during day 5 or 6.The majority will have open leaves which will be green if you exposed them to light.
These wonderful little Brassica plants have a unique root structure. Brassicas will show microscopic roots starting around day 3. They are called root hairs and are most visible just before rinsing when the sprouts are at their driest. When you rinse the root hairs will collapse back against the main root. Many people make the mistake of thinking these root hairs are mold, but they are not
Before your final Rinse remove the seed hulls. Brassica sprout hulls are quite large (relative to the seed and sprout) and they hold a lot of water (which can dramatically lessen the shelf life of your sprouts), so we remove them
Transfer the sprouts to a big (at least 3 to 4 times the volume of your sprouter) pot or bowl, fill with cool water, loosen the sprout mass and agitate with your hand. Skim the hulls off the surface. Return the sprouts to your sprouter for their rinse and drain. Your sprouts are done 8 to 12 hours after your final rinse.
After the de-hulling and the final rinse, drain very thoroughly and let the sprouts dry a little. If we minimize the surface moisture of the sprouts they store much better in refrigeration, so either let them sit for 8 to 12 hours or use a salad spinner to dry the sprouts after their final rinse and skip the final 8 to12 hour wait, instead going directly to refrigeration.
Transfer the sprout crop to a plastic bag or the sealed container of your choice.
Beetroot is known for staining the tablecloth, but can be used to make an excellent natural dye. It gives a fantastic range of colours, from yellow, through reds to browns, dependent on the type of mordant used. Within older bulbs of beetroot, the colour is a deeper crimson and the flesh is much softer. Beetroot dye may also be used in ink.
Betanin, obtained from the roots, is used industrially as red food colourants, e.g. to improve the colour of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream, sweets and breakfast cereals.
Beetroot are biennial plants grown as annuals and harvested for their swollen root tuber and leaves. The type of wild plant from which it came, had thin, poor roots and was native to the Mediterranean but spread eastwards into West Asia. It was known as a vegetable as early as 300 BC but was only introduced into Germany and Britain around the sixteenth century.
Beetroots are related to the sugar beet and to swiss chard, the foliage beets that are grown for the greens and not the root.
From the Middle Ages, beetroot was used as a treatment for a variety of conditions, especially illnesses relating to digestion and the blood. Platina recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of 'garlic-breath'.
Since Roman times, beetroot juice has been considered an aphrodisiac and natural Viagra.
It is a rich source of the element boron, which plays an important role in the production of human sex hormones. Field Marshal Montgomery is reputed to have exhorted his troops to 'take favours in the beetroot fields', a euphemism for visiting prostitutes.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 25 grams Average Seed Count 2,000 seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 80 seeds per gram Common Name Microleaf or Miniveg Family Chenopodiaceae Genus Beta Species vulgaris Harvest Yield: 5:1. Time to Harvest Seed to Sprout: 3 to 6 days. Notes Seed Shelf Life at 21°C (70°F): 4 to 5 years.
Sprout Shelf Life: 2 to 6 weeks