Sprouts, also known as seedlings, are the freshly germinated seeds of plants, especially grains, legumes, and cress. Depending on the type of sprout, they are in the stages of development from seedling to young plant and are grown in special containers with the help of water and heat.
The cultivation of sprouts dates back to the 13th century with the Inca and Aztecs. The Chinese also recognized the advantages of young plants as a high-quality food some 3000 years ago. Commercialized breeding finally came to Europe from the USA. Today, sprouts are produced on a large scale all over the world.
Due to the relatively undemanding growth conditions, sprouts are available all year round, both from domestic cultivation and as imported goods.
The taste varies from sprout to sprout. Seedlings grown from cress or radish have a rather spicy taste. Young plants from barley, wheat, or oats, on the other hand, have a lovely, mild aroma.
In principle, sprouts can be eaten raw. Since some legume seeds contain harmful substances that are not completely broken down during the germination process, pea, chickpea, and soybean seedlings must be blanched before consumption. All other types of sprouts can and should be eaten raw due to their high nutrient content. The savory, slightly hot sprouts are mainly used in salads, as a topping for bread, or for seasoning. But they also taste great in soups, stews, and casseroles. The mild and lovely seedlings are well suited as an addition to muesli.
Fresh sprout vegetables are very sensitive and should be eaten as soon as possible after they have been bought or harvested in-house. Packed airtight and lying loosely, the germs will keep in the refrigerator for a maximum of three days.