Want to ensure that your vegetables are tasty, nutritious, and void of pesticides and other chemicals? Well, the simple answer is to grow your own. Yes, you can do it—even if you live in a 500 square foot apartment in Upper Manhattan. It’s called sprouting. And I can assure you it’s not just a hobby for hippies. *grin*
You can sprout any whole grain, seed, legume or nut—so long as
they haven’t been “killed” by being stored with oxygen absorbers or processed before they get into your home. The sprouting process is SO simple, even a 4 year old can do it. In fact, I accidentally sprouted lentils in my basement last summer. (We had spilled some by the hot water heater drain and apparently didn’t get them all cleaned up. A week later I had a drain full of long lentil sprouts. Oops.) You don’t need direct sunlight. You don’t need to invest in a fancy-schmancy sprouter. You don’t need any special water, and you definitely don’t need a green thumb. All it takes is something to sprout, water, and air.
There is a huge variety of tasty sprouts available. You can put them in soups, salads, sandwiches, casseroles, baked goods, or just snack on them. A tablespoon of sprouts provides anywhere from a quarter pound to a half pound of vegetables. Sprouting dramatically enhances the nutritional makeup of the seed, grain, etc. In some instances (such as with wheat grains) the nutritional content is compounded by 500-600% when you sprout! In fact, if all you do is soak almonds for only 30 minutes in water, you will have already increased the nutritional content by another 80%! The only way you can plan on surviving off of bags of wheat, beans, and salt is if you learn how to sprout. Otherwise your body will be seriously deficient in critical vitamins and minerals. I am partial to wheat sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, mung bean sprouts, and adzuki bean sprouts. Radish sprouts also are great when you want a peppery little pick up in a salad.
OK. So here’s the 3 key steps you need to know about sprouting. Soak, rinse, and drain.
In a glass or a thick plastic container, put about 1 inch of sproutable seeds, etc. in the bottom. This can be a vase, a Mason jar, a bowl etc. Then cover seeds with at least 4 times as much water. Let it soak for 12 hours (or just overnight). Then dump out the water, rinse, and drain. While your seeds are sprouting, they will emit a bit of natural toxins. This is why you want to rinse them off once every 12 to 24 hours. If you allow them to continue to grow in the toxins for several days, they will get bitter, go rancid, or perhaps even mold. So, rinse the contents, then be sure to drain off the water well. For this purpose, some people store their containers upside down. You’ll want to cover your container with some type of fine mesh covering. This will allow the air to get in and the water to get out when your rinsing and draining. You can purchase a special sprouting lid, or you can simply attach some old pantyhose with a rubber band.
Your sprouts will take 3 to 5 days to mature. You will know they have matured when the length of the sprout is as long as the seed. If you don’t allow them to sprout completely, then they could taste a bit bitter. The same goes if you allow the seeds to over-sprout. Once your sprouts have matured you can store them in the fridge for 5 to 7 days, or you can simply make sure that you’re only sprouting enough that satisfies your family's daily consumption. You can sprout a mixture of sprouts or just one kind at a time in a container. When putting seeds together a mixture, be sure that the maturation process for each kind of seed sprout is about the same.
I have to tell you. When I first started eating sprouts I would put them on a salad at the salad bar, simply because they were there. Then one day my hubby put sprouts on a sandwich for me and I really liked it. Now I’m quite spoiled and prefer sprouts to lettuce. I love the sprouts in my salads, on top of steamed vegetables, which adds another texture and seasoning, and I also love them in soups.
Sprouts do not need to be expensive, folks. You can get an entire 50 pound bag of garbanzo beans, adzuki beans, whole wheat, oat groats, rye, amaranth, quinoa, etc. very, very affordably. One 50 pound bag will provide a family of four with nearly a year’s worth of veggies if you sprout them! Enjoy!
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Thanks for all your great information.
Do the sprouts need to turn green in light for them to have vitamins?
You are very welcome. No, spouts do not need to turn green in light to have vitamins. The sprouts are vitamin enriched all on their own. Enjoy! They are sure yummy.
Nope. A great deal of light is not a requirement for healthy sprouts.
I have never grown sprouts, but this sounds yummy. I think I will try growing some.
Thanks for all the useful information.
An easy weekend project in which to learn another skill!!! :-D
Hope you have a great weekend Kellene!
Thanks! You too. J
This is a really good site with lots of useful stuff! Thank you for the sprout sense.
Where do you buy your seeds to sprout? Thanks so much for all your information!
Health food stores, garden centers, etc.
I have a lot of wheat (hard red and white) stored in 5 gallon from blue chip and Lehi roller mills. I am guessing that they have not been processed and that they have not been exposed to oxygen absorbers; rather, they've just had the air sucked out of them. Would they work for growing sprouts?
Instead of guessing, just try to sprout some. That’s the only real way to find out. Good luck!
One of my favorites is lentil bean sprouts. To me they taste a little like fresh peas and they are so easy to sprout. I also just made some spouted wheat bread. You can sprout your wheat (just barely until the tail begins to grow a tiny bit), dry the sprouts in your oven or dehydrator (you can pile them on, don't worry about putting it in a single layer). When they are dry, you can grind them and make bread. I also usually sprout my pinto beans etc before cooking. They taste the same, but just a little fresher and they are way more healthy. Thanks for the post!! I haven't tried Adzuki beans, but I am going to give them a try.
Just did sprouts for the first time two weeks ago went to "the Sprout People" great info there . Fresh veggies can be hard to get to where I live....so now that I find how easy it is ,would not think of eating a sandwich,omlet, or even cheese and crackers with out sprouts. I only have a small "milkshake size" sprouter . very cheap, I did buy an assortment of sprout seeds to find out what I liked. I saved a couple of the plastic "with breath holes" grape tomatoe or herb type plastic containers from grocery store. I now have healthy veggies any time. I do green my sprouts up in a sunny morning sun window....but just cause I want to. They are great and give some extra vitamins that we all need. No mater where we live....Sprouts are a great thing!
Where does the increased nutrition come from? I have often wondered how a seed can increase in nutritional value from the air and water. Just like grapes which are lower in iron than they are raisins. How does the content change when nothing is added to them?
I can answer that question about as easily as I can explain the miracle of life, Anji. J
I tried sprouting lentils some time ago. It was an okay experience but my life was busy at that time. I fully intend to try sprouting again soon.
I have a question about oxygen absorbers. The dry pack cans that I get have oxygen absorbers in them. Should I find another supplier?
it depends on how many cc's they are. If they are just the little 200 cc's you'll probably be fine. I would sprout some to test them and then decide. The USDA requires some type of preservation method like an oxygen absorber. So they could simply be putting in the smallest amount possible without killing everything.
If you use DE in your wheat is there any issues with trying to sprout this wheat?
I live in one of those dinky apartments and sprout in my oven (it's great because you have shelves)then pull them out when they need light. I just put a post-it on the 'on' button to remind me.
no, that's the whole point of using it.
Hey this is awesome! It opens a whole new world. I've got the supplies to do it so here I go! Thanks.
Once you open the storage containers of grains doesn it ruin the storage capability? Should I use other grains to sprout with? Thanks for the info, still learning.
Keep in mind that the wheat found in the pyramids weren't in any fancy kinds of containers. Whole grains are very forgiving so long as they are kept cool and dry.