Sprouting edible seeds, dried beans, and pulses is a common and inexpensive way to ensure good health. Sprouting is basically a process of soaking and draining seeds, beans, or pulses until they germinate. For those who are new to sprouts and its health benefits may wonder why sprout to germinate the seeds and pulses to consume, when one can just cook them the way they are.
Why Prefer Sprouted Beans and Lentils Over Normal Ones?
The process of germination is marked by significant nutritional changes; breakdown of complex compounds into a more simple form, that makes digestion of protein, carbohydrates, and fats more easy and quick, combined with its heightened enzyme activity during the germination period making sprouts extremely enriched with vital nutrients. Commercially produced sprouts are known to carry allergies associated with food.
Making Sprouts at Home
Before you start the process, choose the type or types of sprouts you want. While there is a vast variety of seeds or pulses that can be sprouted, the commons ones include mung bean, chickpeas, clover seeds, fenugreek, and alfalfa. Besides these, one can also use adzuki bean, amaranth, annatto seed, anise seed, basil, brown rice, pinto bean, lima bean, buckwheat, canola seed, celery, cilantro, clover, cress, dill, fennel, green lentils, pearl millet, rye, sunflower, and wheat berries. Kidney sprouts are mostly never made as they get toxic, and have to be cooked completely to eliminate the toxins.
- Choose the seeds, and clean them well. Discard all the broken or damaged seeds; they will not germinate.
- Wash the seeds under running water well.
- Stand the seeds in a bowl of water for 5 minutes. Dead seeds, along with dirt and left over husk will float atop, while healthy seeds will settle to the bottom. Discard all such waste.
- Wash the seeds again, and soak them overnight or for 6-8 hours in room temperature water. Adequate soaking will soften the seeds or pulses exterior shells, and the enhanced metabolic activity of the dormant seeds will increase as soon as they are hydrated. Soaking is also beneficial to activate the plant's digestive enzymes.
- After 6 to 8 hours of soaking, drain the water completely.
- Rinse the seeds once again.
- Spread a muslin or a cheesecloth over a large strainer, and tilt the bowl full of soaked seeds into it, and hold for a couple of minutes. This will help you get rid of all excess moisture from the bowl.
- Fold up the cloth like a pouch and place it in a bowl with a lid, or tip the contents from the strainer into a clean dry jar and screw on the lid.
- Place the sprout container in a warm dark place, leave it undistributed for 24 hours in a warmer climate, while for 36-48 hours in cold climate.
- Once the sprouts are ready, rinse them once again under running water, drain, and store in a jar in the refrigerator.
- The germinated sprouts should look white or slightly green, and must not smell.
Sprouts can be eaten raw or can also be steamed or cooked in hot water. Making a sprout salad is easy. Slice some cucumber, tomatoes, and toss it with sprouts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Sprouts can also be added to soups or rice casseroles. Use them as a sandwich filling or stir fry with some vegetables. It takes some time to get used to the taste of sprouts. Whichever way you eat them, it is just health all the way!