Summer heat and humidity sometimes has me feeling a wee bit lethargic. In July and August, I often find myself craving foods that are crunchy and light: refreshing fruits (watermelon, mango, pineapple & fresh picked peaches) and bright, crunchy veggies (carrot, celery, radish). Every year, I seem to forget about sprouted seeds, beans and grains which are extremely nutritious and provide that light and energetic sustenance I'm looking for.
Sprouting foods is much easier to do than you would think.
Eating sprouted foods will infuse your diet with the vital energy of summer. Adding sprouted seeds, beans, grains and nuts will enliven many wonderful salads, vegetable sauté’s and even nut milks. Sprouts are highly nutritional and good protein foods, many being complete proteins. As most sprouts grow, their protein content increases; when they become green, chlorophyll and many vitamins are being added, while the protein ratio decreases.
Almost any seed or bean will sprout; some favorites are alfalfa, sunflower, radish and onion. Alfalfa seeds can be used alone or mixed with other good sprouters such as lentil, mung, garbanzo and adzuki beans. Gelatinous seeds like flax and chia will not sprout well in a jar. Grains, peas, and some nuts such as raw almonds will sprout. The almond carries phosphorus and iron in a combination more easily assimilated than any other nut. The seeds of amaranth, known to some gardeners as pigweed, are rich in high-quality protein, and both the seeds and the greens are loaded with calcium.
1. Begin with a clean one-quart glass jar and a very small wire mesh or cheesecloth. Use the rings of canning jar lids, rubber bands or string to fasten the mesh or cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar. This allows for a quick rinsing, drainage and air circulation. If you want to make a large quantity of sprouts, use a one-gallon jar and double the amount of seeds.
2. Choose organically grown seeds, grains or legumes. Three beans that sprout easily are adzuki, mung, and lentil. Rinse the seeds in lukewarm water and remove any that are split or damaged.
3. Place 2 Tbsp seeds or 1/2cup grains or legumes in the jar with 3 times as much water. Soak small seeds for up to 5 hours and seeds with very hard coats for up to 36 hours.
4. Rinse and drain the seeds 2-3 times a day. For well-drained seeds and sprouts, lay the jar at an angle in a warm dark place such as the cupboard. Consider saving the nutritious rinse water you drain off to use in drinks, soups, sauces or to water your plants.
5. After 3-4 days, when the sprouts are about 1 inch long, put them in the sunshine to green. After a day in the sun, they are ready to eat! Store covered in the refrigerator and use within 3 days of sprouting.
Images from Left to Right: (1) Pour dry beans into jar. (2) Rinse & add water. (3) Soak beans overnight or morning to night. (4) The bans will absorb water and swell. (5) Pour off water, rinse & then pour off water again. (6) Place jar on its side and leave for 12 hours. (7) Repeat rinse every 12 hours. The sprouts are ready to eat when you see them!
Source: Landscaping Revolution