A sprout is the first shoot of a plant to emerge from its seed. Sprouting is the practice of germination, or encouraging the first sprout of a plant to unfurl and emerge. Sprouting seeds, grains, nuts and pulses is fun, easy, delicious, economical, and provides you with a source of highly nutritious food.
- living food, rich in enzymes, vitamins and minerals
- high in dietary fiber
- rich in vegetable proteins and complete source of amino acids (protein building blocks)
- sprouting decreases anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and lectins (naturally occurring compounds found in plant seeds, nuts, grains and pulses that interfere with our ability to digest nutrients found in the plants, and inhibit enzymatic function)
- reduces allergens found in grains such as gluten
- increases bioavailability of nutrients
- supports digestion through increase in enzymes, decrease in anti-nutrients and increase in gut flora
How Do I Use Them?
- Sprouts are best eaten raw to maximise nutritional benefits (much of their enzymatic and vitamin nutritive value is lost when heated, though not the protein or anti-nutrient aspects)
- Sprinkle them on salads, soups, open-faced sandwiches or wraps, or otherwise raw as a snack
- Can be dehydrated and ground to make sprouted flours
- Ensure they are seeds intended for sprouting not planting (these are usually dry seeds and pulses used for food), are raw and preferably organic
- Avoid pasteurised or irradiated nuts or seeds which will not sprout
- Can usually be found in health food stores, grocery stores or other supermarkets
- Popular choices: alfalfa, buckwheat, chickpeas, lentil, mung bean, and radish
Jar Sprouting Method
There are many sprouting methods – this one is easy and can be done using recycled jam or Mason jars.
- Sprout just one type of seed, nut, grain or pulse per jar
- Sprouting will vary by type of seed, grain, nut or pulse, usually anywhere from 3-7 days
- Rinse seeds and remove any debris
- Place a few tablespoons of chosen sprouts into a clean jar and cover with about 5 centimetres of lukewarm spring water
- Cover the top of the jar with a cotton muslin/cheesecloth cut to size with a couple of centimetres around to spare and hold it in place with a rubber band or open Mason jar lid
- Let them soak overnight – most sprouts will need 8-24 hours of soaking time initially
- Next day, drain the water by holding the jar upside down as you secure the cheesecloth with your fingers and shake out the excess water gently
- Rinse the sprouts by adding fresh water through the cheesecloth, swirling the water around and draining again
- Put the jar in a warm dark place overnight
- Repeat the washing and draining process daily until sprouts are still small and just starting to turn green and unfurl. Most sprouts will take 3-5 days to sprout.
- Store the sprouts in a covered food storage bowl or container with a paper towel inside to absorb excess moisture
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, but rinse daily and put them in a fresh bowl with fresh paper. Avoid having any mould or harmful bacteria growing on them.
- Eat within the week