The Basics of Sprouting

Just right sprouts
A mix of sprouts – just right for enjoying

If you saw my last post, you probably noticed that I am a big fan of sprouting. I confess, though, that even after I was aware of the many benefits I listed in that post, I was slow to start actually doing my own sprouts. I was afraid it would be hard, take up too much valuable kitchen counter space, etc., etc.

Silly me! While sprouting is a several step process, it takes little time, effort, or space. The process may take anywhere from several hours to four or five days. Most people like having them grow in their kitchens and watching their progress from day to day as they germinate.

 

Soaking nuts, seeds, and grains
Soaking nuts, seeds, and grains

Place ½ cup of your seeds, nuts, grains, or legumes in a 1 quart canning jar fitted with a mesh lid.* Fill the jar with water, and let them soak for 8-12 hours or overnight. In general, soak small seeds for four to six hours and larger seeds for eight to twelve hours ( Times will vary here, so you may want to consult a soaking chart, but most varieties will do fine with this time frame.)

Rinse and drain often
Rinse and drain two or three times a day

After soaking, rinse the sproutees well two or three times to rid them of the enzyme inhibitors (See previous post). Leave them in the jar turned upside down, but tilted, so that some air can circulate in the jar. Continue to rinse and drain two or three times a day. (Two rinsings a day is generally fine, except for buckwheat, wheat berries, and garbanzo beans, which tend to mold, so rinse them more often). Make sure that between rinses, they are kept out of water and drained. They should remain moist, but drained. They will like fresh air and not being in direct sunlight, (except in some circumstances, for increasing chlorophyll content).

Watch the growth
Keep an eye on their growth

As a general guideline, when the “tail” of the sprout is one and a half times as long as the original seed, the sprout is ready for consumption. To harvest sprouts, simply store them in a refrigerator in their jar, resting on its side to facilitate air circulation. An optional step is to soak them in a bowl, allowing the hulls to float to the top; scoop out and discard the hull, and the drain and rinse the sprouts before refrigerating. If you rinse and drain the sprouts every three days after harvesting and then store them in the refrigerator, they will keep for about a week.

Enjoy growing and eating your own sprouts!  They add a great crunch, eye appeal,  plenty of nutrition, and color to salads, soups, wraps, and vegetables.

* Special plastic sprouting lids and metal mesh screens are available a health food stores, and also through amazon.com. It is also possible to buy the whole unit, jar and lid, in the same places.

Adapted from Rawsome, by Brigitte Mars, and Living on Live Food, by Alissa Cohen.

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