Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein, calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus as well as vitamins A, B, C and E, and they provide the greatest concentration of nutrition when they are in the sprout stage. It is simple to sprout sunflower seeds, and the health benefits you can derive from them make it worth the effort. You can sprout the seeds in several different ways, so choose the method that works best for you.

Sprouting

· Use unsalted, raw sunflower seeds which have been removed from the hull. · Soak them for about 10 hours in a wide-mouth glass jar of water. They should double in volume. · Drain the water, rinse the seeds, and put them back into the jar. Cover the jar with a light cloth, and put it in a cool dark place. · Drain and rinse the seeds well 2 or 3 times while they are soaking. Skim off as many of the skins as possible when you rinse the seeds. · Sprout the seeds for about 18 hours until they have a crunchy texture and a tail about ¼ inch long. · Rinse the sprouts, and skim off any remaining skins. · Drain the sprouts, and keep them refrigerated in a covered jar. · They should keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The skins of sunflower seeds are delicate and rot quickly, so try to get most of them skimmed off when you rinse the sprouts to prevent them from causing the sprouts to spoil.

Alternate Method of Sprouting

· Cover shelled sunflower seeds with water, and soak them in a bowl for about 10 hours. · Drain the water, and rinse the seeds well. · Place the seeds in a linen sprouting bag to keep them from oxidizing and to keep them moist but not soaked. · Hang the bag over something to drain, and rinse the sprouts several times each day. · Sprout the seeds at room temperature for two days. · After sprouting, keep the seeds in the refrigerator.

Sprout Basket

· Soak 6 tablespoons of sunflower seeds for about 10 hours. · Stir any floating seeds into the water. · Drain the water, and put them into an untreated, unpainted unvarnished natural bamboo basket that is loosely woven. · Place the basket inside a plastic zip type bag and close it. · Rinse the seeds 3 times a day, and put the basket back in the bag. · Keep the basket in indirect light. · The end of the plastic bag can be left open for better air circulation when the weather is hot.

Sprouting in Soil

· Poke holes in the bottom of an aluminum foil pan, and get a larger pan to use under it for a drip pan. · Put a one-inch layer of potting soil into the pan with holes. · Soak the sunflower seeds in their shells for about 10 hours. · Drain the seeds, and scatter them over the soil. · Cover the seeds with wet newspapers, and keep them damp. · Check the seeds every day. · When sprouts come out of the shells, remove the newspaper. · Give them abundant light and warmth, and keep the soil damp. · In a few days, leaves will emerge from the tip of the sprout stem. · They should be ready to harvest in less than two weeks. If you would like to learn some interesting history about sunflower seeds, go to Vegetarians Paradise: Sunflower Seeds at a Glance

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