I have a new party trick for you: homemade sprouted legumes!
Consider the world of sprouting your seeds, nuts, and legumes at home. It’s actually not that complicated.
The answer is simple: when a sprout bursts through the shell of the seed, nut or legume the food is at its energetic maximum. It’s like the difference between adults and little kids - - ever notice how much more energy a three year old has compared to his parent? You want to eat foods that are alive and energetically pleasing to the body. Sprouting achieves that.
Sprouting also breaks down the seed, nut or legume to a form that easier to digest. Many gas-producing beans release their phytic acid during soaking and sprouting, which means less bloating and flatulence. Hooray! Reducing phytic acid may also help enhance intestinal absorption of certain minerals like calcium and iron.
Wait, have you heard the horror stories of people getting sick from eating sprouts? Stories about E.coli and Salmonella make some people squeamish to try sprouting, but sprouting at home is probably the best way to control spread of nasty germs. You control if your sprout container is clean, you control who washed her hands prior to touching the food, you control how often it is rinsed, you control how much air circulation it gets. You get the point!
You can buy sprout-specific legumes, nuts and seeds that are even safer, but I haven’t had any problems with the organic ones I’ve purchased from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
Let’s Do it!
To get started, I recommend buying sprouting lids which attach to a wide-mouth canning jar. It makes things super easy. You could certainly use cheese cloth or some breathable cloth to cover your jar (secured by a rubber band), but the plastic lids are just SO EASY.
Start by soaking your legumes, nuts or seeds in water overnight or for about 12 hours.
The next morning, pour off the water (I use that nutrient-rich liquid to water my outdoor hanging flower baskets!) and then rinse. Turn the jar upside down and put in a bowl on your counter. I place the upside-down jar in a little bowl so that it doesn't leak on my counter.
Continue to rinse your legumes, seeds or nuts every 12 hours until they start to sprout.
You can decide when to stop your sprouting. I don’t mind the way legumes taste when they have sprouted a little longer, so I generally let them go for a few days. Some peoples' tastebuds are very sensitive to this grassy taste, and so they prefer to use the sprouts as soon as they break through the shell. Do whatever makes you happy!
Avoid sprouting mucilaginous seeds (the ones that come out with the gooey texture), like chia and flax seeds.
You can generally eat most sprouted nuts, seeds and legumes raw in the exception of kidney beans since they contain a toxin that can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in some people.
I personally eat raw lentil sprouts in a salad, but everything else I tend to use in cooked dishes.
Since it takes 2-4 days to sprout, I generally keep a running supply of sprouts going so that I’m ready to use them for my next recipe…just as my leftovers are disappearing from the fridge!
Next week I will be featuring a yummy summer lentil soup perfected by my dear friend and fellow plant enthusiast, Stephanie. Get your sprouting stuff ready to go now so that you can join us in a sprouted lentil soup!