Crunchy little plant powerhouses that you can make in the comfort of your own home!
WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH SPROUTING?
Soaking and sprouting is a natural process of a seed germinating into a plant. Sprouts are more nutrient rich than their seeds, as they have increased availability of B Vitamins, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A as well as fiber to mention a few … making them plant powerhouses! Soaking and sprouting also improves the digestibility of the plant and the absorption of certain minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc due to the increased phytase activity which helps to break down phytic acids (phytic acids are components found in plants that prevent absorption of certain minerals and nutrients) … so sounds like a win - win situation to me!
Soaking and sprouting is a very simple process and easy to do at home. Not to mention it is very cost effective (I find buying sprouts in the shops overpriced) and no special equipment is required. So why not try it out?
WHAT CAN I SPROUT?
Basically ANY beans, seeds or grains.
Tip: Mung beans and whole lentils are the easiest to sprout. Alfalfa and Chickpeas also work well.
Some exceptions: Mucilaginous (ones that create a gooey consistency or are gel forming types) such as Chia seeds and Flaxseeds don’t sprout well. Avoid sprouting raw Kidney or Black Beans and Quinoa as they can make you feel ill.
Nuts - like Almonds - don’t really sprout but soaking them does improve their digestibility.
HOW TO SPROUT:
SOAK: In a large jar, pour the seed/legume/grain along with enough water to fully cover (usually 3 parts water to one part seed). Soak for an approximate given time. This is dependent on the seed you are using. i.e. Mung Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas, Alfalfa seeds need to soak between 8 - 12 hours. Grains such as Buckwheat only need to be soaked for 30 - 60 minutes. Cover the jar with a sprouting lid or a piece of breathable fabric (cheesecloth or muslin cloth) that is secured with an elastic band. An aerated lid allows for the movement of air but prevents anything else from coming inside.
RINSE AND DRAIN: Once you have finished soaking, drain the water from the jar. Ad fresh, cool water to the jar, swirl it around and rinse out the water. Repeat until the water you are draining is clear. With a sprouting jar, simply put the water through the mesh lid and rinse. If you are using a mesh cloth, use a fine strainer and simply rinse the water on top, taking note when the water becomes clear.
SPROUT AND GROW: For the next few days, rinse and drain the sprouts with fresh water several times a day (a minimum of twice/day). The aim is to rinse and then drain off excess water. Tip: Place the sprouting jar at a 45’ angle on the kitchen rack; this allows for excess water to drain and allows for air to circulate. You’ll start to notice small ‘tails’ growing from the seeds which means its growing and sprouting. Yay! Sprouting times can vary (between 1 - 4 days)*. Sprouting is finished when the seeds have a tail or when they have sprouted green.
HARVEST AND STORE: Do a final rinse and place them on absorbent paper toweling (tea towel works well too) and allow them to air dry for 30 - 60 minutes. Store in the fridge by wrapping them in clean paper towel or mesh cheesecloth and store in an airtight container to avoid excess moisture. Eat them within 4 - 5 days!
Eat them raw, steamed, cooked or dehydrate them and blend into a flour. Enjoy them as a crunchy topping to salads, stir fries, breakfast scrambles, savoury oats, soups, on open sandwiches or even as a crunchy element to wraps. You can even blend them into your smoothies or simply enjoy them as a savoury snack! Super versatile!
Additional Information from wholefully.com and nutritionstripped.com
*Additional Chart on Sprouting Times: https://wholefully.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/wholefully-seed-sprouting-chart.jpg