Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Why I Sprout

  my current batch  in for their bath!
a detox mix of of mung beans, red clover, lentils and white radish

I first heard about sprouting over on Sarah B's blog My New Roots, and I've been hooked ever since. It's so easy to do and you have a constant supply of a nutrient rich super food even in the dead of winter. It's a great activity to do with your children too, might even get them eating more veg! Basically, as Sarah will tell you when you pop on over to her blog in a minute, sprouted seeds and beans have 15% to 30% more protein and up to 10 times the B-vitamins as well as extra vitamin C, E and K. They really make a great addition to any sandwich or salad and then of course there's the satisfaction that you grew them. I also sprout peas and transfer them to a small bowl of soil once they start growing. Peas shoots are great as a green in your next salad, all that energy rich chlorophyll just waiting to turn you into a super human, well a super healthy one anyway.

Pea shoots in full Yoga poses!

How to sprout

The best thing about sprouting is that you don't need any fancy equipment either. You can of course buy a proper sprouting jar if you want (I did!) but really all you need is a large glass jar, the sort of thing those homemade soups come in at the grocery store. Some mesh or an old pair of tights to fit over the opening and a rubber band or piece of string to tie it on. You can buy seeds for sprouting from your local health food store, but any dried seed or bean will do. Caution, do not use seeds meant for the garden. More often than not they will have some kind of pesticide on them. Look for organic seeds and beans.I often get mind from the bulk food store.

my sprouting jar, but any glass jar will do

 Here's what you do. Put your desired amount of chosen seed or bean in your jar. I tend to go for about 1 -2 tbsp. Fill the jar half way with water. Cover the top with your mesh and allow to soak overnight or up to 8 hours. I prefer to use filtered water for this first soak, those beans and seeds are going to soak up a lot of this water and I prefer not to have fluoride and chlorine as part of my bounty. It's entirely up to you though, tap water is okay too, in fact I use regular tap water for the rest of the rinses.
The next morning, or after the 8 hours are up, drain your jar of the water and rinse the seeds or beans really well, several times. You're going to do this twice a day for the next few days, the rinses that is, after the first soak you don't want your produce sitting in water. Try and prop your jar up so it's angled with the mesh facing down to let any excess water run out. By the second day, or even sometimes by the next morning, you'll see the seeds or beans sprouting and after a few days you'll have a jar full of sprouts. They grow really quickly.

my detox mix at day three

 The reason sprouted produce is so much better is that seeds and beans have a protective enzyme that prevents the release of nutrients, what the seed or bean needs to grow. It's only in the ideal conditions, i.e water and light that the enzyme is released and the nutritional value of the seed or bean is exposed. When we eat our seeds and beans without sprouting we don't get the benefit of all that goodness locked away inside, even when digested, the seed or bean does not give up it's treasure. This only occurs through the growing process. The same applies to nuts. Remember I recommended soaking your museli the night before eating it? Well it's for the same reason.

Do head over to Sarah's blog, she explains it much more eloquently and she has posted a great video at the end from a contagiously exuberant Australian couple who are so excited about sprouting. It's worth popping over for that alone.

Happy sprouting everybody.

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