By Nancy Smorch
A while back, our daughter, who loves birds, decided to throw some of our bird seed mixture onto the lawn in hopes that it would attract birds closer to the house.
I didn’t know she had planned this until one morning, as I walked down to the barn, I noticed the seeds littering the grass.
I asked her to stop, because it was going to bring birds to a spot dangerously close to our driveway, and, of course, if the birds didn’t eat the seeds, we would have all kinds of various plants growing up in our lawn.
One morning, about a week later, I was walking back from the barn, and noticed that some of the seeds had taken hold and sprouted. I looked closer, and was excited to see that we now had little sunflower sprouts where she had spread the bird seed!
I crouched down and started pulling some of it up. I was munching on it when my family walked outside... if it were anybody else eating from the grass, they would have thought that it was a little strange, but they’ve come to expect things like this from me.
Even they, however, still thought I might have lost it, until I explained exactly what I was doing.
For the next couple of weeks, every time I walked from the house to the barn and back again, I stopped to have a little snack in that patch of sunflower sprouts.
This gave me the idea to grow them myself. I figured if it was that easy for them to sprout, surely I could easily grow them myself. And, knowing how good they are for you (and delicious too!), I was excited to add them to some of our meals and snacks.
Why are sprouts so good for you?
They are high in fiber, and they are a good source of minerals and vitamins. They are alkalizing, which helps balance the level of acidity in your body. They have up to 100 times more enzymes than uncooked fruits and vegetables. They are also a good source of high-quality protein.
You can read more about the health benefits of sunflower sprouts here.
Recently, I made a Hearty West Michigan Salad with all of the wonderful food sources I have here in West Michigan, including the sunflower sprouts, and it was delicious! What made our particular salad so special is that I used almost all local, organic ingredients.
I used the fresh lettuce I just bought at the farmer’s market in Holland, prosciutto from a local restaurant I absolutely love called Pereddies, goat cheese from Evergreen Lane Farm & Creamery in Fennville, Michigan, and olive oil from the farm we stayed at in Italy, Casa Fabbrini.
My husband adores this salad - it’s not your ordinary boring dinner salad! It’s got great substance and flavor, and makes a healthy and filling meal or side!
Hearty West Michigan Salad
1 head of fresh lettuce, cut into small chunks
1 red pepper
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup dried cherries
3 slices prosciutto
1 handful pecans
1 handful sunflower sprouts
Homemade croutons (see recipe below)
Couldn't be easier! Just toss everything together, and serve with olive oil, pepper, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top!
4 slices thick, substantial bread (since I am gluten free, I use Whole Foods gluten-free bread), cut into 1/2 inch squares
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a pan or skillet, and lay in the squares of bread when hot.
Thoroughly toast the bread cubes - careful not to burn them! Stir often.
Sprinkle with sea salt and transfer to the top of your salad.