Sprouting 101

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You’ve probably heard of sprouting as a magically health-giving practice.

But perhaps you’ve been put off by the thought of endless soaking and waiting around before you can just darn well eat. And maybe the fear of catching some sort of virus from sprouts-gone-wrong has crossed your mind.

Never fear!

Sprouting is easy and so beneficial that it deserves to be a major component of your health arsenal. I was going to say it just takes a little bit of patience, but even that’s not true. I’ve never had to hold myself back from shouting, ‘just frickin hurry up and grow will you!’ at my sprouts. I just soak them, drain them, and let them do their thing while I get on with life, and then, a couple of days later and somehow always at the perfect moment, when I’m in need of a crunchy topping for a dish or a nutritious base for a salad, there are sprouts to behold and I can sprinkle them here, there and everywhere.

Plus there’s something really fun about seeing this:

photo 2 (2)

…turn into this nutrition party, in the space of a few days:

photo 1 (1)

The Benefits of Sprouting

Sprouts are a raw and living food. Since they haven’t been cooked or transformed in any way, their enzymes are still intact, so they are easy to digest, providing maximum energy for zero digestive taxation.

Let me explain…

Digestive enzymes break down the food we eat, turning it into usable energy. We are born with a limited enzyme-creating potential. When we use our digestive enzymes to break down food, we are tapping into our stash of enzymes, which taxes the body of its vitality, hence that energy slump so often felt after eating.

However, since raw food has its own enzymes because it hasn’t been heated above 38 degrees (the temperature at which enzymes die), the food effectively digests itself, without using the body’s own enzymes.

Youth is basically equal to the strength of your body’s enzyme colony. So by eating raw foods and avoiding using up this enzyme store, you’re effectively delaying the aging process.

And sprouts, being both raw and living are the champions of the raw food world.

Why are living foods so great? Well, they are still in the process of growing when you eat them. So they are a vibrant food, filled with fresh, newborn energy. Imagine how you feel when you ingest fresh, newborn energy…

You are what you eat after all!

beans

What to Sprout?

You can sprout all types of pulses, seeds and some grains, e.g. lentils, chickpeas, adzuki beans, alfalfa seeds, quinoa, broccoli seeds, sunflower seeds etc.

What You’ll Need

Three possibilities:

  1. An old jam jar with a square of muslin cloth on top, fastened with a rubber band. The muslin is for letting the water drain out slowly. But you do need to find a way to house it at a 45-degree angle for draining purposes – on a drying rack, for instance.
  2. One of those multi-layer sprouting factory things that you’ve probably seen in health food shops.
  3. Or, the best solution in my opinion: a specially conceived sprouting jar. It has a handy lid that allows you to lay the jar at a 45-degree angle so that the rinsing water drains completely out of the jar, allowing for easy-peasy, low-intervention sprouting. They even thought to add a lip to the cap so as to catch the drips of water, thus cleverly avoiding a counter-top lake.

This is the Germline sprouting jar Ann and I use:

sprouterMethod

  1. Soak about 1/3 cup of dry pulses/seeds overnight or for around eight hours. If you want to be really pro about it, follow the soaking times below, but to be honest I always just give it a night, whatever food I’m sprouting.
  2. After soaking time is up, rinse and drain.
  3. Let mother nature do her thing over the next few days. You just need to run some water through your sprouts-to-be twice a day.

And that’s it!

How long do you need to wait? The rule of thumb is two days, but it varies a bit.

So here’s a handy table for reference:

Type

Soaking Time (hours)

Sprouting Time

Adzuki Beans 10 4 days
Alfalfa Seeds  8 4 days
Barley 6 2 days
Black Beans 10 3 days
Buckwheat 6 2-3 days
Chickpeas 8 2-3 days
Kamut 7 2-3 days
Lentils 7 2-3 days
Millet 5 12 hours
Mung Beans 10 4 hours
Oat Groats 6 2-3 days
Pumpkin Seeds 8 3 days
Sesame Seeds 8 2-3 days
Sunflower Seeds 8 12-24 hours
Quinoa 4 2-3 days
Wheat Berries 7 3-4 days
Wild Rice 9 3-5 days

 

Don’t be overwhelmed by the possibilities here. I’ve been sprouting for years and have only ever sprouted lentils, alfalfa and broccoli seeds. So pick the one pulse/seed/grain that appeals to you most, and experiment with that for a while.

And now for a sprout-tastic recipe!

photo (34)

ABC Salad

This Alfalfa-Beta-Carotene salad is a veritable nutrition bomb.

Prep time

10mins

Cook time

0mins

Total time

10mins

Ingredients
  • 5 tablespoons alfalfa sprouts
  • 3 carrots, grated or chopped
  • 1 turmeric root, grated or chopped finely
  • 1 inch of ginger, grated or chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine the alfalfa sprouts, carrots, turmeric and ginger in a salad bowl. For ease of grating, I just dump the carrots, turmeric and ginger into the food processor all together and pulse chop for about 1 minute, adding the alfalfa sprouts afterwards.
  2. Whisk the tahini, sesame oil, lemon juice, water, cumin, salt and pepper together, and drizzle over your salad.
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Are you a sprouting enthusiast? What are your favourite things to sprout? Let us know in the comments below. Also, feel free to ask any sprouting questions that might ‘crop’ up. 🙂

 

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2 February, 2016 | facebook | tweet | pin

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