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Broccoli sprouts, or broccoli plants that are harvested before they are fully mature, have become increasingly popular because of their renowned antioxidant properties. To choose the best broccoli sprouts seeds to grow at home, compare the advantages of organically grown seeds, seeds produced with various types of pollination and the amount of antioxidants found in different varieties. Higher-quality seeds will cost more, so consider which factors are most important to you before choosing your seeds.
Although many people place a high premium on organically grown produce under any circumstances, the benefits of organic broccoli sprouts seeds are more pronounced than in most vegetables. Broccoli sprouts are harvested when they are young, so any pesticides or fungicides on the seeds will be more concentrated in the sprouts than in fully mature broccoli plants. Organically grown seeds might be more expensive, however, so some people prefer to simply wash the plants carefully after harvesting them to reduce the level of chemicals. Regardless of whether you choose organic seeds, experts recommend choosing seeds that have been washed with calcium hypochlorite to guarantee food safety.
Some seed companies sell their broccoli sprouts seeds according to the level of the antioxidant sulphoraphane that is present. Research has shown that sulphraphane reduces the risk of cancer in mice, although it has not been proved that this benefit extends to humans. Regardless, the level of sulphoraphane in broccoli sprouts — up to 50 times as much as in mature broccoli — has made broccoli sprouts a popular health food. Some growers test the seeds before they are sold to determine the amount of the antioxidant found in the particular variety. If the antioxidant value is a primary reason you want to grow broccoli sprouts, knowing the precise amount might be worth the extra cost of these seeds.
Another factor in selecting broccoli sprouts seeds is the type of pollination used. Open-pollinated seeds are pollinated by natural sources such as wind or insects. This type of seed is the least expensive, but it might be unintentionally cross-pollinated with other breeds of seed, making the amount of sulphoraphane difficult or impossible to determine. Hybrid or controlled-pollination varieties have less variation in seed quality and might be more resistant to disease. Many growers think that these advantages are too slight to be worth the cost of controlled-pollination seeds, so they choose lower-cost, open-pollination varieties.
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