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Sprouts are seeds that have germinated and begun to grow, but have not developed into mature plants. Seeds that are commonly sprouted are alfalfa, clover, beans, radish and mustard, but many other types of seeds are also used to make sprouts. Mustard sprouts grow from mustard seeds, and the flavor of the sprouts depends on the type of seeds being sprouted. There are several different kinds of mustard seeds commonly used for sprouting; which one to use is usually a matter of personal taste.
When growing mustard sprouts the seeds must be soaked, then repeatedly rinsed and drained, usually about three times per day. Some mustard seeds are quite small and can be hard to handle, but if they are drained through several layers of cheesecloth, they won’t get lost. Once the seeds have germinated and sent out tiny roots, they should be kept in a bright, sunny location so that they will be green. Sprouts that don’t get sunlight are pale and the leaves are typically yellowish instead of green, but they are fine to eat and some people even prefer them.
Each type of sprout has its own unique flavor, and seeds are commonly mixed together in order to create a personalized sprout mix. Mustard sprouts in general have a spicy, zesty flavor. Oriental mustard seeds grow into sprouts that are hot, like horseradish. Brown mustard sprouts are very spicy, but not as hot as the oriental type. Yellow mustard sprouts are very flavorful, yet not as hot as the other two.
Mustard sprouts mix well with other varieties, such as radish and onion for a hot mix, or clover and alfalfa to create a crunchy salad mix with some spice to it. Mixed seeds are sprouted in the same way as mustard sprouts alone, with repeated rinsing followed by time in between to allow for growth. The most important thing when creating a mix is to make sure all of the seeds germinate at the same time as the mustard seeds.
Sprouts can be eaten in many ways. In addition to eating them plain, raw sprouts add flavor and crunch to sandwiches and salads. They can also be used to add their unique spicy flavor to cooked foods such as soups and casseroles. Mixing mustard sprouts in with whole grains and specialty flours creates unique, flavorful breads.