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Sprouting seeds

Mung bean sprouts

My friend Erik came by my house tonight and noticed two jars with some seeds in them, both covered with water. He instantly realized I must be sprouting seeds, but wanted to know more about the process I use. I figured I’d share my sprouting secret with you too.

Secret is, it’s easy. Take a small amount of seeds, nuts, pulses, grain or beans, soak it in water for about 18 hours, drain and then rinse in fresh water three times every day.

That’s it. No need to buy any special sprouting trays, muslin, sieves, gauze, or any other spendy stuff. Just use a glass jar on your counter. Don’t leave it in direct sunlight, but also don’t leave it in a cupboard or the fridge any other dark place. Just regular daylight, rinse them a few times every day. Drain the water away after each rinse, using your hand to keep the seeds inside the jar while the old water drains. The excess water that’s naturally left covering the seeds is enough to help them germinate, but not so much that they spoil.

It’s important to rinse the seeds well for two reasons. Firstly, they need to be moist in order to grow. But equally important, they will only grow if the growth inhibiting enzyme that they naturally produce is washed away – it’s the stuff that stops them from growing in your cupboard, that nature’s made to keep them dormant until Spring.

Try sprouting everything in your cupboard that’s seed-like and not cooked. You can successfully sprout almost anything raw and untoasted, including sunflower seeds, wheat berries, buckwheat, lentils, almonds, mung beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, barley groats, garbanzos, cumin seeds, fenugreek, and pretty much anything else lurking in the back of your larder. As with most things in life, if in doubt, try it!

About 3 tablespoons of seeds in a quart jar, which is about a triple layer of seeds. Different seeds take different lengths of time, and are best eaten at different stages of growth. However, rule of thumb is, use your instincts, and you can’t go wrong.

Ten reasons why you’ll want to try growing your own sprouts:

1. It’s fun growing your food.
2. As the seed wakes up, its vibrancy expands exponentially.
3. And its minerals, vitamins and enzyme levels go through the roof.
4. Sprouts taste great, and have many different flavors, depending on the seeds.
5. Instant protein for very cheap, and an inexpensive experiment.
6. They’re intensely alkalinizing, which is good for the blood.
7. Kids love watching them come alive.
8. No need to soak then boil beans, so they’re less labor and energy intensive.
9. They look like tadpoles.
10. They’re easy to digest, and improve most recipes, from soups to bread, and of course, they’re great in salads.

Organic food sales rising in the US

Sales for organic and ethical products in the US are rising – more so than sales for conventional products – and consumer demand for those products is increasing despite the global economic downturn, according to a report published in October by Packaged Facts. Approximately one quarter of US adult shoppers buy certified organic food or beverages and one third continue to pay more for organic foods, says the report.

Consumers are buying products that are perceived to fulfill ecofriendly, natural, organic, local, or humane requirements and enhance a company’s corporate responsibility profile. US retailers like WalMart and Safeway are expanding their offerings of organic goods. And leading the way are increased sales of organic breads and grain products and “ethical” drinks, according to market reports.

According to the Organic Trade Association, US supermarket sales of environmentally sustainable or ethical products could rise 8.7 percent by the end of 2009 to nearly $38 billion. In 2008, sales of goods specifically labelled organic rose 17 percent to $ 24.6 billion.

Increased sales for “greener” products – whether energy-efficient lightbulbs or organic produce – are likely the result of increased awareness of sustainability issues in the face of the global economic crisis and climate change, experts say.

“With the economy foremost in consumers’ minds, heightened price sensitivity in the midst of the current recession is inevitably having an effect on the market for ethical products,” said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “However, our survey indicates that more shoppers understand the environmental, social, and economic implications of their choices. The result is a sizable number of consumers who will purchase typically more expensive ethical products even in economically challenging times.”

The report “Ethical Food and Beverage, Personal Care and Household Products in the U.S.” is available at www.reportbuyer.com/go/PKF00176

The New Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving

by Diane Morgan
Published by Chronicle Books

Diane knows how to bake a turkey and keep it moist and flavorful. Can there be any greater reason to buy a copy of this book? How about Bourbon Pecan Pie with Buttermilk Whipped Cream. Or Sweet Potato Puree with Pecan Streusel.

Imaginative without being too tricksy, this book is a fantastic companion for your family’s Thanksgiving meal. Nobody wants to stray too far from the traditional meal, but most people welcome a few enjoyable twists and additional finesse. Includes a great vegetarian main dish too, Molly’s Pumpkin-and-Sage Lasagna, and a fun section at the end about how to use left-overs.

Ecstatic Beings

ecstaticbeings

Kate Magic Wood and Shazzie are two of the world’s leading raw food advocates. Take a look at some of Kate’s raw food recipes here at OrganicFoodee.

Both Kate and Shazzie live in the UK, and both of them have had five books published about raw food. If they were non-raw food authors, you would say they are rivals, but because their life purpose is truly spreading good vibes and raw food positivity, they would say they’re soul mates.

Ecstatic Beings is the first book the two friends have written together, and it’s superfun while being superdeep. As you might expect, there are some great raw food recipes, but more than that, the book contains simple yet profound kitchen wisdom integrated with poetry wrapped in a funky disco graphic style that’s a big glitter ball with unicorns. It’s serious wisdom that’s so serious it knows the highest spiritual truths are bright light and happiness.

Check out this video of the authors talking about their book. It’s well worth buying for yourself, and would make a great gift for the holidays for the people you love who love raw food and happiness.

Apple pie… with coconut sugar

Apple Pie with coconut sugar

Wheat-free, dairy-free and sugar-free… this is an apple pie that tastes delicious, but is so light that you can eat an enormous delicious piece and not have to worry about sugar-crashes or feeling gloopy.

It has a sugar-cookie style crumb to the crust thanks to a mix of buckwheat and spelt flour, and has plenty of natural sweetness due to the organic Granny Smiths and Bosc pear it’s filled with, plus some coconut sugar.

Coconut sugar is a traditional organic food that’s new to me, but well known in Indonesia. It’s been made for thousands of years from the sweet nectar sap from the flowers on coconut palms. Men climb the palms, and make a slit in the base of each flower to drain off the liquid while leaving the flower where it is. The liquid is then boiled vigorously, and gets more and more condensed as it cooks until it becomes like toffee. Then it’s ground into grains that resemble unrefined sugar.

It has a rich caramel taste that’s like toffee. It’s much less sweeter than regular sugar, and also less sweet than honey or maple syrup. And it’s much gentler in terms of glycemic index – it won’t make you crash and burn like regular sugar. Coconut sugar is distributed in the USA by Essential Living Foods.

My pie is made even better because I’ve made the top crust by cutting the pastry into little oak and maple leaf shapes, layering the leaves to form a pretty pie, and adding a pair of acorns on top as a finishing touch. No wonder my friend Joelle looks so pleased… an apple pie full of locally-harvested all-American organic fruit that’s fit for Thanksgiving!

I’m so thankful to have access to these healthful ingredients, to share this pie and future pies like this with kindhearted friends, and to have been welcomed into this abundant, sacred land that is now my home.

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