Sprouting (the transitional stage between seed and plant) is the practice of soaking, draining and then rinsing seeds, legumes and grains at regular intervals until they germinate, or sprout. Sprouts are rich in fiber, digestible energy, bio-available (essentially refers to how much of an ingested substance ends up being absorbed by our bodies) vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, beneficial enzymes and phytochemicals, since all of these goodies are necessary for a germinating plant to grow. These nutrients are also essential for human health.
Sprouts are not only fresh, cleansing, alive nutritional powerhouses, but they are inexpensive to produce (quickly and easily) and most can be eaten raw which is optimal since they are bursting with vitamins and beneficial enzymes. Simply add them to salads like a Red Leaf and Candied Walnut Salad or you can cook them for dishes like Mixed Vegetable Curry with Brown Basmati Rice.
Pauline Lloyd from The Vegan News sums up sprouts beautifully, “For the first few days of its life a baby plant—or sprout—is not capable of feeding itself and is sustained entirely on nutrients contained in the seed, the equivalent of mother’s milk. These nutrients only become usable when the seed starts to sprout. During sprouting, the seed’s enzymes convert stored inactive nutrients into a sort of nutritional superfuel which allows the sprout to grow very rapidly during the early days of its life. Proteins are thus converted into amino acids by enzymes known as proteases, fats into essential fatty acids by lipases and starches into simple sugars by amylases. Sprouts are essentially a pre-digested food, the seed’s own enzymes having already done most of the hard work.”
There are several methods for sprouting.
We all have a glass jar at home, right? This is the most common and inexpensive method—the one we use 90% of the time. You can also use a Sprouting Tray,
a Hemp Sprout Bag, or soil. Once you sprout a few times, you will be hooked—it is so easy and fun. Not to mention, you will feel incredible once you start eating sprouts more regularly.
First you should soak your seeds, legumes and/or grains according to the chart below before transferring to one of the sprouting methods. Some people like to add a little salt to the water before soaking to help speed up the process. After soaking, be sure to rinse seeds, legumes and grains thoroughly with fresh pure water until it runs clear to remove the enzyme inhibitors that have been released into the water. It is also recommended to rinse soaking seeds, legumes and grains 2-3 times during the soak.Watercress seeds and chiaseeds turnmucilaginouswhen soaked. Visit the SproutPeoplefor loads of detailed information about standard and unique seeds, legumes and grains and the methods for sprouting them all.
There are some opinions about sprouts and toxicity out there, like the universal—kidney beans should not be eaten in a sprouted state, only cooked. Many of the other opinions involve commercially grown sprouts. So, if you buy, buy organic. Ultimately, save money and have fun by growing your own.
The step-by-step sprouting process:
Rinse your seeds, legumes and/or grains very well. Lentils and Quinoa shown here.
Transfer them to a glass jar. Fill jar with pure water and secure the top with a cheesecloth and rubber band. Allow them to soak for the amount of time indicated in the chart below.
Look how cute and happy they are. So much potential.
After they have soaked, rinse very well and place back in jar secured with cheesecloth and rubber band.
Place in a cool location, away from direct sunlight. Rinse 1-2 times a day. At the end of day one, your sprouts should look like this:
Ooooh, Day Two. Rinse your sprouts 1-2 time a day.
Day Three sprouts are usually ready to “harvest” a.k.a. eat. Yay!
Quinoa grains are adorbs.
|Name||Start Amount||Soak Time||Sprout Time||Amount Harvested||Method||Sprout Shelf Life||Tastes Like|
|ADZUKI||1 cup||24 hrs||2-5 days||2 cups||Tray or Jar||2-6 weeks||Beanie|
|ALFALFA||3 tsp||8 hrs||2-5 days||6-8 cups||Tray or Jar||2-6 weeks||Mild, Crisp, Nutty|
|ALMOND||1 cup||8-12 hrs||1 day||2 cups||Tray or Jar||1-2 weeks||Almond|
|BARLEY||2 cups||12 hrs||2-4 days||6-8 cups||Tray or Jar||1-2 weeks||Mild|
|BROCCOLI||1 cup||8-12 hrs||5-6 days||1 cups||Tray or Bag||1-2 weeks||Mild|
|BUCKWHEAT||2 cups||8 hrs||1-2 days||2 cups||Tray or Jar or Soil||1-2 weeks||Nutty, Plump, Tender|
|CABBAGE||3 tsp||6-8 hrs||2-5 days||2 cups||Jar||2-6 weeks||Mild, Sweet, Cabbage|
|CHICKPEAS||1 cup||12 hrs||2-4 days||1-2 cups||Tray or Jar||2-6 weeks||Earthy, Crunchy|
|FENUGREEK||4 tsp||8 hrs||2-5 days||2-4 cups||Tray or Jar||3-4 weeks||Spicy, Bitter|
|GREEN PEAS||2 cups||12 hrs||2-3 days||4-6 cups||Tray or Jar||2-6 weeks||Delicious|
|KAMUT||2 cups||6-8 hrs||2-3 days||2 cups||Sprouter or Jar or Bag||1-2 weeks||Sweet|
|LENTILS||1 cup||8-12 hrs||2-4 days||3-4 cups||Tray or Jar||2-6 weeks||Crunchy, Sweet, Delicious|
|MILLET||1 cup||12 hrs||2-4 days||1-2 cups||Jar||1-2 weeks||Slightly Bitter|
|MUNG BEANS||1 cup||24 hrs||2-5 days||2-3 cups||Tray or Jar (Dark)||2-6 weeks||Crisp, Sweet, Watery|
|MUSTARD||3 Tbsp||8 hrs||2-7 days||2 cups||Jar||1 weeks||Horseradish|
|OAT GROAT||2 cups||8-12 hrs||2-3 days||3 cups||Tray or Jar||1-2 weeks||Tender, Mild, Sweet|
|QUINOA||1 cup||6-8 hrs||1-2 days||1-2 cups||Jar||1-2 weeks||Slightly Bitter|
|RADISH||3 tsp||8 hrs||2-4 days||3-4 cups||Jar||2-6 weeks||Spicy|
|RED CLOVER||2 tsp||8 hrs||2-5 days||3-4 cups||Tray or Jar||2-6 weeks||Mild|
|RICE||1 cup||12 hrs||3-5 days||1-2 cups||Jar||1-2 weeks||Cook or Tough|
|RYE||1 cup||8-12 hrs||2-4 days||1-2 cups||Tray or Jar||1-2 weeks||Sweet, Wheat|
|SESAME||1 cup||8 hrs||1-2 days||1 cups||Jar||1 week||Bitter|
|SUNFLOWER||2 cups||6-8 hrs||1-3 days||2-4 cups||Tray or Jar or Soil||1-2 weeks||Succulent, Sweet|
|TRITICALE||1 cup||12 hrs||2-3 days||1-2 cups||Jar or Sprouter||weeks1-2||Nutty, Rye|
|WATERCRESS||1 cup||Do Not Soak||2-5 days||2-4 cups||Soil or Tray or Bag||1-2 weeks||Spicy, Peppery|
|WHEAT||1 cup||8-12 hrs||2-4 days||1-2 cups||Trayor Jar or Soil||1-2 weeks||Sweet|