Soaks and Sprouts: A Nutritional Powerhouse for Parrots - Adzuki, Mung beans & Sunflower seeds
Adzuki beans (also called aduki are considered the king of beans in Japan because they are a source of high-quality protein. They are small red beans that have been cultivated in China, Japan, Korea and other far Eastern countries. Sprouted adzuki beans contain beneficial amino acids, Vitamin C and iron. In taste they are similar to Mung beans with a mild flavor and crunchy texture.
Mung beans are considered an excellent tonic for the kidneys and liver according to Chinese medicine. In Asia they are served in hot weather because they can disperse body heat. Mung bean sprouts are low in calories, have fiber and B vitamins, and deliver a boost of vitamins C and K.
Sunflower seeds contain more protein than beef and 20 percent fat (most of which is unsaturated). They’re also a good source of calcium, iron, and phosphorus; vitamins A, D, E, and several B vitamins. Remember most of the fat is converted to protein and a number of amino acids during the sprouting process. This conversion of fat to proteins and amino acids is why sprouts are called the Super Living Food.
How to get started:
Buy your seeds and grains from a health food store. Human-grade organic ingredients are safer, fresher and much better quality.
Just use a very small amount at a time. A little spoonful of seed goes a long way, and you want to make small amounts so you use them all up quickly when they are fresh and most nutritious.
Start by inspecting for any damaged broken seeds and toss them out. Put your seeds into a strainer and give them a good washing by running lots of fresh water through them. The fine mesh stainless steel strainers work really well.
Now put them in a clean glass container with plenty of cool fresh water. They will expand so add enough water to cover them completely. Soak for 6 to 9 hours. I prepare them just before bed and they soak overnight.
The next morning give them a good rinsing and drain them well. You now have nutritious, live, germinated seeds. That’s it, it really is that simple. Grains and seeds can be fed after just a simple soaking that bring them to life.
You may also choose to let them grow just a little further until they visually sprout. Rinse and drain very well at least three or four times a day until you see little buds of white sprout tails. This usually takes a day, maybe two.
Of course you can also toss some onto your own salad, sandwich or wrap. They are good in baked breads and in soups too. Just save some for the birds this was supposed to be for them.
You can just use plain glass jars or bowls. Small mason jars work well. Glass is preferred over plastic, since glass can be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly.
Don’t cover your sprouts, they need fresh clean air during the entire soaking and sprouting process. Also keep them in a cool spot and out of direct sunlight.
Be sure to let your sprouts dry out before putting them in the refrigerator so they will keep nicely and stay fresh. Only make what you will be able to use that day or only store them in the refrigerator for a day or two at the most.
Most birds will love sprouts even if it is a new food for them. If your bird is stubborn about trying new foods typically your food on your plate is more enticing to them. Share with your bird and eat with them to get them to try new healthy foods.
Don’t forget about or neglect your growing sprouts. You’re making fresh live food. You don’t want to grow mold or bacteria in your sprouts.
Rinsing very well and draining very well each day is crucial to the well being of your sprouts. Always wash your hands before handling sprouts. Sprouts should smell fresh and earthy, never foul or sour smelling. Toss them out if there is ever any question about their freshness.
As an extra precaution you can give your sprouts a rinse with white vinegar or grapefruit seed extract during your rinsing. Or sometimes I spray my sprouts with some apple cider vinegar just before feeding them to the parrots.
Once you feel comfortable and confident in sprouting you may want to sprout some legumes too. This includes garbanzo beans (chick peas), adzuki beans, mung beans and lentils. Legumes are not safe to eat when raw. You must be sure to sprout them until you see the root tails, this can take three or four days.
Also be sure you are sprouting something that is actually safe and okay for parrots to eat. There are toxic beans that should never be sprouted so don’t experiment with something that you don’t know for sure is safe for parrots.