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Delicate veggie sprouts add fresh flavors to dishes

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Germinating seeds from a variety of vegetables, grains and legumes produce sprouts, delicate tasty morsels of varying textures and tastes. There are white sprouts like soybean sprouts and mung bean sprouts, also known as bean sprouts; and green sprouts like clover, radish and broccoli sprouts. Each one takes on the flavor of the seeds from which it grows.

In the supermarket you’ll find sprouts grown by HPC Foods, a company that started in Hono­lulu in 1946. HPC stands for Hono­lulu Poi Co.; poi and taro products are significant products for this kama­aina firm. Today, HPC also produces and distributes a number of different items, including a variety of sprouts.

Seeds for sprouts are sanitized as a first step in the growing process. White sprouts grow in dark rooms, green ones under fluorescent lights; the sanitized growing chambers are temperature controlled. After 48 hours each batch is tested for pathogens; it takes about a week to grow a batch of sprouts. After harvesting, the sprouts are rinsed before packaging.

Sprouts should be eaten within a week and kept refrigerated to preserve their goodness. Wash before eating them in salads and sandwiches. White sprouts can be cooked briefly and seasoned.

Here’s a simple preparation for bean sprouts:

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add a package of bean sprouts and cook 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander, rinse with cool water and drain well.

When the bean sprouts are cool, squeeze by the handful to remove excess water. Toss with a tablespoon of sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of roasted, crushed sesame seeds. Add salt to taste.

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