Legumes, seeds, and nuts – we are so used to having them boiled, roasted, grilled and fried. Take lentils for example. For me personally I always thought lentils were only good for a hot lentil curry and patties. I never thought there could be any other way to enjoy these, especially a way that provided the body with more nutrients and vitamins. Since introducing sprouting, my horizons, they have been broadened. Not only is this a quick way to increase the amount of nutritional food that you eat, it also increases the versatility of healthy food in your diet.
Sprouting is the transitional stage from seed to plant so, technically, it is a baby plant. When the budding plant is at its nutritional peak is when you harvest it for eating. Many people do not know that you can sprout almost any seed, nut or grain. The most common being lentils, mung beans, alfalfa, and fenugreek. The next most popular, broccoli, red clover, kale and radish. In addition to these you can sprout any bean and even onion seeds. All these deliver beautiful sprouts that are tasty in a salad, burger, stir fry, a sandwich, a smoothie and in pesto. This is just a summary of what you can do with sprouts. Its really up to you, your kitchen and your creativity.
The transformation of nutrition, from a dry seed to sprout is almost unbelievable, with everything from protein (amino acids) right through to all the vitamins and minerals increasing substantially all the fat and carbohydrate levels, making this one of the most ideal foods available.
Here are some impressive features of sprouts:
- Low in calories, fats and sugars
- Rich in fibre
- Rich in vitamins C, E and A
- Rich in anti-oxidants
- Rich in protein and amino acids
- The small leafy greens provide chlorophyll for the body
- A decrease in gas caused by legumes
- They are easily digested
- Sprouted Badi decreases high blood pressure
According to (http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-sprouted-grains) sprouted brown rice fights diabetes, sprouted buckwheat helps fight against liver disease, and sprouted barley decreases high blood pressure.
For those who have never ventured into growing anything, the thought of growing sprouts could be quite intimidating. But if you follow some of the simple rules and use one of the sprouters currently available growing sprouts will be easy and successful. Another thing I love about sprouting is that you can involve the whole family, especially children, who get very excited,waiting to see when the new shoots appear. Sprouting helps you teach your children how grow their own food, secondly you teach them how to eat healthy and, thirdly, they learn about responsibility. Children love being involved and being made a part of things and when this happens, they are happy to oblige to what parents expect them to do.
Equipment you will need.
- Sprouting seeds and grains
- A good book on sprouting
- The right sprouting kit
- A spot where sunlight is minimal but not direct, and there is enough air circulation
To start the germination process seeds need to come into contact with water. Depending on the type of sprouter used, this will either involve soaking the seed or irrigating it. The interaction of the seed with water removes the enzyme inhibitors, allowing the seed to germinate. Seeds are broken down into the simplest components while germinating. Proteins break down into amino acids, complex starches into simple carbohydrates, and the plant starts to multiply in its nutrient content as it prepares to grow into a full-sized plant. Imagine how your body thrives when all that goodness is deposited into it. The key to successful sprouting is to ensure that the seed never dries out, that they have sufficient aeration and that they are not left to grow too big. Sprouts can be stored in the fridge and remember that they still continue to grow at a much slower rate. Always clean your sprouter after use, It is really important that the sprouter be washed well and I would advise that you add a teaspoon of Milton or Jik to the water if you do not have the availability of an ozone generator.
How long does it take?
This depends on the time of year and they type of seed being sprouted and can be from as little as 24 hours to 3-5 days. The following is a handy chart showing sprouting times, for systems that require soaking, rinsing frequencies and approximate harvesting times. Lots more detail can be found in sprouting books.
|Which seed||How long do you soak it||How often should you rinse||Harvest after|
|Lentil seeds||8-12 hours||Twice a day||3-5 days|
|Mung bean||Overnight||Twice a day||2-5 days|
|Alfalfa||12 hours||2-3 times a day||3-5 days|
|Wheat||6-12 hours||3-4 times a day||2-5 days|
|Chick pea||8-12 hours||3-4 times a day||2-5 days|
Most supermarkets today sell a limited variety of sprouts. The disadvantage of buying sprouts is that you have no idea where they are grown or how old they are are and whe you venture into finding out how simple it is to sprout seed you are unlikely to buy sprouts again. To sum up sprouts are cheap to produce, highly nutritious and extremely versatile. In fact i was just the other day I was saying that if there was some kind of disaster looming, I would collect grains and legumes to produce sprouts for my nutritional needs. Grains and legumes can be stored for a long time to produce food for many many months.
Do you have any other ideas on sprouting? I would love to hear from you.
Introduction to Sprouting