Thursday, August 30, 2012

Adventures in Sprouting

I've been thinking a lot lately about sprouting my own lentils.  For a while now I have used a commercial sprouted organic lentil that's been sprouted and then dehydrated for a long shelf life.  I like the whole concept behind sprouting - it just makes so much sense to me.  Locked in a dormant state, each legume, grain or seed holds the potential to become a living plant.  Soaking brings them out of that dormant state and unlocks concentrated energy, vitamins and nutrients needed by the seedling to grow until it produces leaf to start photosynthesis.  The nutritional value is at it's highest in this state and because of their small size, you are able to eat hundreds of them in a serving verses eating hundred of mature fully grown plants.  Wow!

look at those happy sprouts!
                                        My first attempt at sprouting lentils was very successful!

pretty tricolored quinoa sprouts

You don't need expensive equipment to sprout - I used a couple of 2 liter mason jars with some cheesecloth held on with wide elastics.  In the photo below I have buckwheat and oat groats sprouting.  I've seen sprouting done in colanders and mesh nut milk bags.  It's as simple as soak, drain, then rinse and drain every 8 - 10 hours until sprouted  to your preference.  Grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds all contain natural enzyme inhibitors which protect the seed by preventing germination in unfavorable conditions.  Soaking removes that inhibitor and allows the seed to germinate and release those wonderful nutrients.  While sprouting, it is important to rinse and drain the sprouts every 8-12 hours and to keep them ventilated so that they don't turn moldy or dry out.  Sprouting pretty much turns them into vegetables and the sprout eats up some of the starch.  Spouting allows you to eat them uncooked if you are a raw food vegan (or even if you're not!).  They are wonderful in salads and stir-fry's, and some even like them out of hand as a snack. You can find a dietary seed  sprouting guide here.

Are you wondering yet what I did with these grains I had sprouting?  Along with some sunflower seeds I sprouted I made fresh raw granola  (recipe below) and also, with the addition of soaked almonds, made  some "gRAWnola" in my dehydrator from a recipe I found here  at The Renegade Health Show site.  This next picture is the dehydrated version and the second is the fresh raw one.  Both are delicious and nutritious!

gRAWnola with dried cherries added

sprouted raw granola
*Sprouted Raw Granola*

1/2 cup buckwheat sprouts
1/2 cup oat groat sprouts
1/4 cup sunflower seed sprouts
2 Tbsp dried currents
2 Tbsp chopped pecans, toasted (see note)
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon ( or to taste)

Mix everything together.  Serves two.  Enjoy by itself or with almond or coconut milk.

Note:  toast pecans on small baking sheet for 1-8 minutes at 350F


  1. What a wonderfully informative post. I have always been a fan of sprouted mustard cress, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, pea shoots, etc. This is not all that different, and I am thinking they are not only uber healthy, but also super delish! That gRAWnola looks fantastic. I may just try it out. Don't fall over or anything, lol. Love you! Sorry I missed you today, perhaps we can connect tomorrow! I sure hope so! Love you! xxoo

  2. this sounds great! I had no idea how to do this, fun too!
    Mary x

  3. I've tried sprouting some things but I kind of get lazy then don't do it for a long time. I really should more, I know it's so good for you. Thanks for the reminder and great information. The link you added was great (how to sprout). I've dug some cheesecloth out of my bottom cupboard and will start some today!

    I've been able to find all kinds of dried 'things' in the foreign foods isle (middle eastern or Indian) and tried sprouting them. I got a huge bag of Chick Peas and was able to sprout them easily, then made hummus out of it, oh YUM!! I found this one called "Skinless Matpe Beans" I think a type of lentil. It's loaded with nutrition but when I tried to sprout it just got 'stinky', sigh. Any advice on this? Have you ever heard of it? It has 17g of fibre, 51% calcium and 14% iron!! I want to include things like that in my diet but don't know what to do with it!
    Thanks for your great posts!

    1. Mary, I had never heard of this type of lentil before your comment. It could be that the lentils were "dead" and unable to sprout. I have had mixed results with seeds of unknown origins and because of that I stick to organic brands whenever they are available. That way I know that they haven't been treated with anything that would render them unsproutable.

      Have you tried sprouting quinoa or buckwheat? Both sprout very easily and quickly. If I were even in a situation where fresh vegetables were unavailable and I had some of these grains or legumes, I would be able to grow sprouts in a matter of hours or days!