Sproutman - Organic Sprouting Black Sunflower Seeds - 6 oz. (170g)
Sproutman Organic Sprouting Black Sunflower Seeds are hearty, tall, and robust as well as being one of their most popular flavors. Its best sprouter is freshlife automatic sprouter, with the next best sprouter being hemp sprout bag. Sproutman Organic Sprouting Black Sunflower Seeds are ready in 8-10 days. Sproutman Organic Sprouting Black Sunflower Seeds can be stored and are viable up to 1 years when stored in a glass jar in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate or freeze in a sealed freezer bag to extend storage life.
Being organically grown does not make seeds automatically good for sprouting. While they spend quite a bit of time sourcing organic seeds, they still test every batch to find the varieties that are the best sprouters. Organic certification only indicates the growing methods used by the farmer. It does not indicate a seed's germination, rate of growth, size, taste, color, or sproutability. They test for these attributes which are important to the sprout consumer.
Baskets are beautiful. They miss sprouting in baskets. They were simple and sublime. They first invented the basket sprouter back in 1977, and they sprouted in them for over 20 years. They used to order 24,000 baskets at a time and they were custom made to their specifications. However, in 1996, they discontinued ordering baskets because their manufacturer in China had become fraught with insurmountable problems.
Don't forget, these are hand crafted items. They are made one at a time and as such, there were numerous "quality control" issues. They were forced to examine every shipment, basket by basket…oy! that's 24,000 checks! They discovered (at great expense) that 3-4 out of every 10 baskets had too many large spaces between the weaves and too many sprouting seeds would fall through the cracks. Customers complained and no matter how many times they tried, they could not get the consistency they needed. If that was not bad enough, the quality of manufacturer had also deteriorated and many baskets started to unravel after a few uses. Then there was the issue of fumigants. More and more shipments were gassed and it became too difficult to circumvent this practice. After years of frustration, and losses of thousands of baskets, it became economically unfeasible to continue importing baskets for sprouting.
If you still want to use baskets for sprouting, you can. You can find them at most Asian food and Oriental supply stores. Or look in oriental furniture and gift stores. Try to obtain bamboo baskets that are free of shellac. Look for bamboo with a bread basket style weave.
SALMONELLA and E-COLI
All their seeds have been diligently spot tested for Salmonella and E-coli with special equipment Every sack of seed has a 25 gram sample drawn and tested. While this is not a fool-proof guarantee, it has a 99% potential to catch contaminated seed. Since the salmonella scares of the late 1990's, all the different players in the seed industry have set in place safeguards and sprouts today are arguably the safest fresh food in the marketplace. Keep in mind, there are 8 million cases of food borne poisoning in the USA each year. In the sprout industry, there have been 1639 cases----not in one year, but over the entire 40 year history of the commercial sprout industry. In addition, it may be of some comfort to know that there has never been a case of salmonella from home-grown sprouts.
HOME DECONTAMINATION OF SEED
Decontamination of seed is an optional procedure, but in the Freshlife Automatic Sprouter, it is too easy to pass up. Just add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to the reservoir.
I like Quinoa as a grain. It is a great nutritional seed. But they do not promote it as a sprout for three reasons: 1) It is hard to acquire the right form of the unhulled seed. Health food stores don't sell it. 2) If you are willing to invest the time to track down the right seed, often the germination is too low for successful sprouts. That leads to potential mold and rot problems, which they consider unsafe in the raw state. 3) Lastly, the sprout from 3 day old Quinoa is a relatively insignificant shoot. Not a lot of food or flavor. If you do grow it for 7 days it turns into a red grass which too chewy to eat. This grain is ready to eat with only very light cooking. I feel that this is the most practical way to include the benefits of quinoa in their diet.
Flaxseed sprouts are very high in oxalic acid (which binds calcium) and because of that, they have an extremely bitter taste. If that wasn't discouragement enough, they are also gelatinous, which makes them hard to manage for most home sprouters. Also, one of the main benefits of flax, its soft fiber, which is great for soothing and cleansing the intestinal wall, disappears during germination. Flax is a wonderful seed with many health benefits and I offer many recipes for it in my book Power Juices Super Drinks and Juice Fasting and Detoxification. But for reasons above, I don't recommend sprouting flax.
HOW TO TEST THEIR SPROUTING SEED
Unfortunately, "organically grown" only defines a method of agriculture. It does not guarantee good sprouts. For that, you need to test your seed. There is no shortcut around this. The best sprouting seeds out there can be bought by companies who are in the sprouting business. They (hopefully) are using the seed they sell. That is usually insurance that you are buying good seed. To test seed yourself.....
- Sprout the seed in a sprout bag for 3 days.
- After 3 days, spread the seeds out on a towel and look at how many have sprouted.
- If virtually all seeds have visible shoots and roots, then the seed is good. If many seeds do not, then this is a bad crop of seed that will generate mold upon sprouting.
It is also possible that this was once a good crop of seeds that was improperly stored or is just too old.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEIR SEEDS AND HEALTH FOOD STORE SEEDS?
They're both organic, right? Organic is something they am totally dedicated to and always have been. But organic only defines a method of agriculture. Organic oats or organic barley found in the health food stores, for example, are totally useless for sprouting. For the most part, health food stores provide grains and beans for cooking, not for sprouting. After all, it is not a gardening store.
What about when a health food store sells alfalfa or mung? True, they sell these seeds for customers who want to sprout them. But these are just commodities to the large distributors who sell thousands of items to health food and natural grocery stores nationwide. They don't bother to test-sprout the seeds, or check their germination, or run tests for salmonella or e-coli contamination. They know; they've tried to sell to these distributors. Price is their overall purchasing criteria.
On the other hand, a sprouting company must use its seed. It must grow them and sell the grown sprouts to its customers. If those grown sprouts don't look good, taste good, and perform trouble-free during the sprouting process, then a professional sprouter cannot afford to use them. You can probably understand, that all alfalfa seeds are not equal. Some grow taller and faster. Some create mold, others don't. Some have 96% germination, some have 86% germination. Some taste bitter, some sweet. Some are prone to root rot, others are resistant. And some may be contaminated with rodent droppings from the fields! If you are a professional sprouter, you are keen to check for all these conditions.
But that's not all, even if the large distributors happen to get lucky and buy great seed by accident, that seed often lives in bulk bins at health foods stores for months. During that time it is absorbing moisture from the air, and is being exposed to light, heat, and oxidation. Germination is depreciated by all these elements. Good sprouting seed must be protected by sealed packaging for best results. Buy your sprouting seed from a sprouting seed company. It may cost more but you will have a delightful, headache-free experience and your diet will be enriched by some of the worlds finest, living foods.
HOW DO I STORE MY NEW SPROUTING SEEDS?
Sprout seeds need to be kept cool and dry. Steady temperature control is better than large swings of seasonal high and low temps. But some seeds lose germination more than others even under the best of conditions. So unless you are preparing for an around the world boat trip, They recommend your only buy enough seeds to last you a few months at a time. Most seeds that you have purchased within the past year are likely to be good. Although you may have heard that some seeds such as alfalfa can last for many years, that is only true under the best of storage conditions. Moisture, air (oxidation),heat, and light are the enemies of seed.
When you receive your seeds, remove them from their package and store them in a sealed jar. Make sure there is a rubber gasket to create a perfect seal inside the lid. Keep moisture out at all costs. Store that jar in a dark, cool place. Refrigerator? Yes, if you have the space, but make sure they are placed in a moisture proof container. Refrigeration is beneficial, but not required. Freezing seeds is also okay for most seeds but not for all. For more details, read the storage section of Sprouts the Miracle Food.
Bugs and Sprouting Seeds
Once you enter the world of agriculture sooner or later you will have to deal with the problem of bugs. These could be fruit flies flying around your wheatgrass or grain bugs hatching out of improperly stored grains and beans. No doubt about it; this is a pesky problem! People have been battling bugs since the beginning of civilization and still with all the technology, there is no fast and easy fix. But here are a few things you can do.
If the Bugs Are in Your Seeds
First house your grains and beans in a sealed container with a moisture proof lid and store it in a cool location. The closer you can get to 60 degrees, the longer they will last. Bugs hatch in warm temperatures. You may have larvae in your seeds. You can't see them and you can't screen them out. Don't even think about their existence else you'll never be able to eat anything again. Try freezing a batch of seeds in a thick, moisture proof bag or jar. Leave it in the freezer for 24-48 hours.
If the Bugs Are Flying Around your Kitchen
Wheatgrass can attract fruit flies. First eliminate all openly displayed fruit. Remove all the foods where they congregate including the wheatgrass trays. After you remove the food source for the fruit flies, you have a few choices on how to eradicate them. The easiest is to shop around at your local hardware store for the different commercial products. I like the kind that contain attractants that lure the bugs and trap them. If you are so inclined, you could create your own trap using things like vinegar, beer, and honey. Another, more difficult alternative is to flush out the room cold air and fans. They once chilled, fanned, and refreshed my New York City kitchen for about an hour in the Wintertime. (They were desperate.) But it worked! - Sproutman