How to grow broccoli sprouts
Dr. Paul Talalay and his cancer prevention research team at
Johns Hopkins University found that these baby broccoli plants contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane, an anti-cancer plant-produced chemical, than broccoli heads.
Cancer tumor development was reduced up to 80 percent in animals fed sulforaphane extracted from broccoli, but not every person enjoys eating the recommended 2 pounds of broccoli heads per week. The seedling sprouts, peppery and crunchy, do not taste like broccoli and may help some folks get their protection from this vegetable by consuming much smaller amounts.
Here are tips from our Horticulture Department on how to grow broccoli sprouts.
- Save clear plastic sprout or salad containers with clear lids.
- Clean and sanitize these light-admitting "baby greenhouse" containers.
Also clean utensils used in this container to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
- Purchase only broccoli seed that has not been treated with protective fungicides or insecticides.
This will be stated on the label. We recommend the lower cost open-pollinated varieties, e.g.
Waltham 29, De Cicco, Calabrese, or others in lieu of expensive hybrid seed.
A good Virginia source of this is Wetsell Seed Company in Harrisonburg.
- A 20 minute soak in 10 percent household bleach solution (one part bleach, nine parts water)
will sanitize seed and containers for each seeding. Rinse seed and containers under clean cool running
water in a wire mesh tea strainer, then place seed on (not in) wet absorptive white paper toweling in the
bottom of the clear sprouts container. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of seed on moist mat per 5" X 5" container.
- Place clear, ventilated lid on the clear sprouts container and set under florescent light or near a window
at room temperature. Full sunlight may be too warm for broccoli seed germination. Fresh seed germinates
in 24 to 36 hours at optimum 70-78-degree temperatures. Germination (and sprout growth) is slow at
temperatures below 60 and above 90 degrees.
- In 3-5 days after sprouting, enjoy these edible, healthy sprouts sprinkled on salads, sandwiches,
or vegetables. Always refrigerate sprouts in their container until consumed.
This information is from Charlie O'Dell, Extension Horticulturist at Virginia Tech
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