Home sprouting has been making a comeback globally and the Wakatipu seems to be no exception with what appears to be a resurgence of interest locally.

Garden centres around the country were rushed off their feet in a post-Covid lockdown craze of grow your own vegetables and it seems sprouting now may be proving to be a welcome addition.

Almost any grain or seed can be successfully sprouted and local and international experts say sprouts are proving to be a popular, cheap and nutrient dense way to pack a healthy punch into meals.

Nutrient-packed sprouts at home.

American sprout king Doug Evans regularly heralds the incredible power of sprouts online. They are very rich in nutrients, antioxidants, vitamin C and high in fibre. They also help reduce digestive inflammation and serve as a powerful prebiotic bolstering the microbiome. Doug says sprouting doubles the amount of the food itself and seeds contain everything they need for the first week of life, so you just add water and grow.

Gibbston Microgreens’ Chris Wilkinson says even prior to the Covid crisis there was a big movement back towards self-reliance and grow your own, with sprouting and microgreens all part of that. Microgreens are full of active minerals and phyto-chemicals, especially in the first few weeks. They can be grown at home in all manner of materials, such as hemp fibre, hessian, soil and paper towels. Microgreens need light to grow with the likes of radish, basil and other herbs usually taking from seven to fifteen days or so while sprouts are ready in about five. Broccoli sprouts are full of cancer fighting free radicals as they contain a highly powerful compound called sulforaphane.

“You can sprout almost any seeds, but avoid your average garden seed varieties which are sometimes processed with fungicides,” says Chris. For sprouting and eating, use organic or seed varieties that are recommended for sprouting.” It’s important to flush sprouts out three times a day at least, so as not to harbour bacteria, however, it’s important to recognise that they’re not recommended for pregnant women because of this. Social media has prompted a whole new revival of sprouting and growing microgreens at home with people sharing knowledge, he says.

Besides the more common sprouting seeds and grains like alfalfa, mung beans, chick peas and lentils, chia seeds, quinoa, flax seeds, sea asparagus, sunflower shoots, buckwheat and shiso (a mint-type herb) all make for delicious flavours. Shungiku, the chrysanthemum leaf, is a bitter garden green with the sweetness of celery and carrot thrown in.

While Chris produces around 12 varieties for local restaurants and cafes there’s also been an upsurge in demand for their home deliveries of mixed varieties of living punnets.