At this time of year it is particularly important to boost the vitamins and minerals in our diet. A good way to do this is to eat “live foods” in the form of sprouted seeds. These are readily available and there is a good variety of tastes and effects. Sprouting is easy and does not need expensive equipment, although of course you can buy appropriate containers and draining stands. Large glass jars, one for each kind of seed to be sprouted, some muslin to place over the top of each jar and a tie or rubber band to hold the muslin in place is all that is essential.
The seed packet will tell you how long to soak the seed and when to harvest. Seeds are first soaked and then washed and drained at a 45 degree angle before setting them to grow. Rinsing and draining is repeated each day. Alternatively tiny alfalfa, red clover or mustard can be grown using an ordinary, clean seed-tray. With peas you can simply grow them as usual in pots and eat the new shoots.
Eat your harvests with salad, sprinkled on soup or in sandwiches. For vitamins A and C particularly mix alfalfa, fenugreek, red clover and watercress. For B vitamins eat green pea shoots, bean shoots, sweetcorn, alfalfa, almonds, oats, sesame or sunflower seeds. For vitamin E choose alfalfa, almonds, pumpkin, quinoa or sunflower. Peanut sprouts are high in tryptophan which aids against depression.
Fenugreek, aduki, black eyed beans, haricot beans, alfalfa and sunflower seeds add valuable iron. Sunflower and sesame seeds are rich in phosphorus and magnesium.
Alternatively snack on delicious lightly toasted sunflower seeds or add to desserts, biscuits, breakfast cereal or salads. Sesame seed can also be added to biscuits and healthy snacks.
Sunny Apricot Bars [Herbwise Naturally page 92].
100g dried apricots, 50g raisins, 100g oats, 50g ground almonds, 50g wholemeal flour, 2 dessertspoons rose water, 4 teaspoons honey, and egg to mix. Sunflower or sesame seeds, or chopped nuts for coating.
Mix all the dry ingredients, chopping the apricots finely. Add the rosewater carefully and mix. Next add the honey, bringing the mixture to a soft dough consistency with the egg. Shape into 18 bars, approximately 1cm thick. Roll in seeds or nuts to coat. Bake on a greased baking tray at 170˚C for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. When cold the bars can be covered on one side with dark chocolate if liked.
Seeds as flavourings –
In Cakes – Caraway, cardamom, coriander, sweet cicely,
Pastries and breads – Lovage, fennel,
Pickles – coriander, dill, lovage, green sweet cicely seeds, pimento.
ADDING VITAMINS and MINERALS –
Dill- Rich in Calcium & Vit. C. Helpful to hair, skin and nails.
Fennel seeds are rich in Vit. C, and potassium.
Sunflower seeds are high in Omega 6 fatty acids and a good source of vitamin E.
Pumpkin seeds contain iron and zinc.
Many seeds have been used in medicine for centuries, particularly for their digestive properties, these include cumin, anise and dill.