Sprouting nuts, seeds, grains and legumes produces a remarkable source of nourishment and energy for the human body, often increasing the quality and quantity of the nutrients of these foods. They are full of protein, packed with vitamins and minerals and are very easy to digest so if you haven’t started sprouting at home, do so now, it will be a very rewarding action for you to take! It is the cheapest and easiest food to grow in your own kitchen, there is no need for a garden or any soil.
Sprouting is the practice of soaking, draining and then rinsing seeds at regular intervals until they germinate, or sprout. It is very easy to do. Health food stores all carry special sprouting trays or kits, but the easiest ways to sprout, I find, are the good old-fashioned jar or plate methods.
The jar method: Soak your organic seeds (for example 2 tablespoons of alfalfa seeds) in a large jar full of pure water and covered with a piece of screen or mesh material held with a rubber band, and leave to soak overnight. The following morning, drain and rinse carefully, then leave the jar tilted on a dish rack so any remaining water will gently leak out. Rinse twice or three times a day (depending on humidity levels) and leave to drain until sprouts come out and grow a little. Soaking and sprouting times vary from several hours (quinoa for example sprouts very quickly) to several days (usually 5 days for alfalfa sprouts) – a google search will give you a sprouting chart for all types of seeds and grains. Keep your jar so fresh air can circulate within but away from direct sunlight, at least in the beginning, and make sure there is enough moisture but not too much to avoid molding. It is really easy, so give it a try. Eating your own harvest of energy packed sprouts is a fantastic feeling, believe me.
The plate method is ideal for grains and legumes such as wheat berries, mung beans and lentils, for example. The initial soaking phase is the same. Once drained and rinsed, place your grains or legumes on a plate covered with a paper towel to ensure the right level of moisture, and cover with another plate. It’s as simple as that. Then proceed with the regular rinsing until the sprouts are ready. You can then keep them for several days in the refrigerator.
Soaking nuts, seeds, grains and legumes removes their natural enzyme inhibitors, thereby making these foods far more digestible. Sprouting them will greatly increase their nutritional value: the protein is broken down into amino acids, starches turn into simple sugars and fats into soluble fatty acids – all of which is far easier to process for the human body.
Sprouts are a source of life force energy and can be part of your daily diet, adding them to salads, on top of spreads or soups, inside wraps and rolls, or some can even be munched on their own for a healthy snack. The most common sprout is the alfalfa seed, but I also often sprout mung beans and lentils which are delicious in just about any salad. A salad full of sprouts does not require any more protein to make it a perfectly balanced meal in terms of nutritional value – it’s basically my favorite lunch! And divine to look at. So whether you are into raw food or not, a sprouted salad is a fantastic addition to any meal.
Before I close I did want to draw your attention to the new Amazon icons on the right hand column of the blog: this is to enable you to order recommended raw food books directly from Amazon — as an answer to many requests for recommended books to get started with. “Raw Food Made Easy” is ideal for beginners (as the title indicates), “Living on Live Food” is a raw food bible for those really getting into it, and “Raw Food Real World” is a beautiful gourmet book that is extremely inspiring. Happy reading!