Sprouts are one of the most nutrient dense foods around, and the good news is that you can grow them yourself for next to nothing. This is an awesome way to save money, and at the same time get some of the best nutrition available on the planet. You don’t need to have a green thumb to master growing your sprouts in your own home. In fact, you don’t even need to get your hands dirty. It’s an easy way to eat more beans and nuts in a different way, and they are incredibly dense in nutrition.
What is Sprouting?
Sprouting is the process of taking a seed, bean, nut, legume or grain to germinate. It produces a collection of mini plants that are easier to digest, especially if you’re in a raw food diet. The sprouts can also be used as a unique touch to a variety of dishes. You can mix them in your as salads or tacos; add to your sandwiches; add them as toppings to your soups; snack on them on its own; add them to your toast; and can even blend it with your smoothies, dips and sauces. The possibilities are endless!
Germinating the seeds help the food become a powerful source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that fright free radicals. Sprouting can increase the vitamin content from 3 to 12 times or more. It also neutralizes the anti-nutrient phytic acid, so the body can absorb more minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc.
It alkalizes the body to protect you from diseases. Sprouts are also rich in antioxidants, which help build a better immune system, and it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Because sprouts are oxygen-dense, they can protect the body against bacteria, virus and abnormal cell growth.
Sprouting also activates the enzymes, thus aiding in digestion. It converts the proteins to free amino acids, and changes the starches to simple sugars. It also increases fiber content, which facilitates weight loss as the fiber helps bind fats and toxins to easily remove them from the body. They are also low in calories.
Depending on what you use, the sprouts you can create has a slightly different taste, with a different nutritional profile. Here are popular choices for sprouting:
- Adzuki beans
- Mung beans
- Oat groats
- Pumpkin seeds
- Radish seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat berries
- Wild rice
How to Choose Sprouting Seeds
If you want to learn how to sprout, start with good seeds. Look for those that are raw. Don’t pick something toasted, roasted or cooked because these won’t sprout. Also, choose seeds that are fresh. If you buy in bulk, the produce might not be fresh, so it’s better to purchase sprouting seeds in small quantities. Make sure that you buy organic to avoid exposing yourself to chemicals and pesticides.
How to Sprout
Sprouting is a very simple, easy and cheap, but it requires time and attention to succeed. Here’s what you need to do for sprouting:
1. Gather your materials
All you need to get started is a mason jar (or a glass sprouting jar), a muslin cloth or cheesecloth, an elastic band – plus your seed, nut, grain or bean to sprout.
Pour out your seeds/grains/nuts/legumes in the mason jar, then cover it completely with water with an inch or two above. Let it soak for the allocated time (see soaking and sprouting guide below).
Once the soaking time is done, it’s time to rinse them thoroughly. Pour the old water out, fill it with new clean water, rinse and repeat until clear. Then, tip the jar up at a 45 degree angle and let the water filter out. This way, you can drain it properly.
If your jar is small, you can remove them from the jar, pour them in the strainer and rinse under running water. Put them back to the jar for the next step.
For some nuts, seeds and grains, the process stops here as some of them cannot be sprouted. For instance, if you want to make your own nut milks, then soaking them will be sufficient.
Refer to the sprouting guide to know approximately how long will it take for you to have edible sprouts. What you will be doing for sprouting is rinsing your seeds/nuts/grains/legumes with filtered water several times a day (at least twice a day). Drain the jar and lay it on an angle so that air can circulate and excess water can drain. Place the jar in an area where it can receive light. Rinse and drain the sprouts and return it into its inverted position.
As the seeds/nuts/grains/legumes start to sprout, you will see a tiny “tail” coming from it. This means it’s growing and sprouting. Generally, this will last for 3 to 4 days.
If you are not going to eat your sprouts immediately, keep them in glass jars and store them in the fridge to keep them fresh. You can also wrap them up in mesh cheesecloth or nut milk bag and consume within 3 to 4 days.
You can also try sprouting using a micro-farm method if you want to get more serious with sprouting. Here’s how to do it:
- Gather your materials. You will need a pan or casserole dish, organic sprouting seeds (this method is especially great with pea sprouts, sunflower sprouts and wheat grass), and organic soil.
- Line your casserole pan or dish with to inches of organic soil.
- Sprinkle a handful of seeds on top, then cover it with another inch of soil.
- Spritz the soil with a little bit of water everyday.
- Do this for 4 to 5 days and you will see sprouts. When you’re ready to use them, use scissors to trim them.
Soaking and Sprouting Guide
|SEED/NUT/GRAIN/BEAN||SOAK TIME (Hours)||SPROUT TIME (Days)|
|Almonds||8-12||No sprouts, just a small tail|
|Brazil nuts||3||No sprouting|
|Flax seeds||1/2||No sprouting|
|Sunflower seeds||8||12-24 hours|