SPROUTING

Do you sprout?  Want to learn how?  It’s easy.  Really.  And it has so many wonderful health benefits that it just makes sense.  By sprouting beans, legumes, grains, seeds and nuts, you increase their digestibility and nutrient content, making them a much more nutritious food than when they are in their dormant, unsprouted state.  Sprouting increases vitamin C, many of the B vitamins and protein.  It also neutralizes phytic acid, which can inhibit the absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium.  Sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, increasing the digestibility and nutrient absorption as well.  Basically, sprouts are a living food, rich in nutrients and easily absorbed by our bodies.  It’s a great way to get a lot of nutrition in a small amount of food.  You can add sprouts to your meals every day, like in your sandwhiches, burgers, salads, soups, and even baked goods.

Before we go on, I should warn you about alfalfa sprouts.  I’m not saying you can never eat them, but do so in moderation.  Alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid called canavanine, which can be toxic and harmful to the immune system.

Health Canada warns that “as the popularity of sprouts increases, so does the potential for sprout-related illnesses.  Because most cases of foodborne illness go unreported, the actual numbers of illnesses resulting from eating sprouts in the Canadian population  is unknown.”

Let’s think about this for a minute.  Foodborne illness is food contaminated by bacteria, viruses and parasites.  E. coli and salmonella are the possible risks for sprouts.  If you buy your sprouts from an unknown source your chances are higher that it will be contaminated.  If you are pregnant, or have a compromised immune system, you are even more at risk.  If this is a concern for you, I would recommend you lightly steam or cook your sprouts.  Of course, if you purchase organic sprouts from a trusted source, grow them yourself, rinse them often and properly store them, your sprouts should be fine.  I am about to show you how.

There are a few different ways to make your own sprouts, but I am going to show you how I do mine.  I have tried the other ways, and this is what I find to be the easiest.

First, you will need a large glass jar.  A mason jar is ideal, but you can use any glass jar.  You will need a cover to place on top.  For this you can use cheesecloth, or a small round screen that fits perfectly over a mason jar.  These are sold specifically for sprouting.  As you can see, I used a screen that I cut myself and keep in place with a rubber band.

 

soaking beans to sprout

Day 1

The length of time it takes to sprout will vary depending on what you are sprouting.  If you buy seeds sold specifically for sprouting, like I did, you will find exact directions on the bag.  For the purpose of this blog, I am sprouting a bean mix of lentils, peas and chick peas.

Day one, you put  2 – 4 tbsp of seeds in a jar.  Cover the jar with screen or mesh and secure.  Add water, swirl and drain.  Refill with about 1 cup of water and soak seeds for 4 – 6 hours.  Drain.  I recommend using filtered or pure spring water.

Sprouts day 2

Day 2

Rinse twice a day by refilling jar with water and gently swirling.  Drain water and prop the jar at an angle so the excess water drains out.  I used a bowl for this purpose.  Notice how my daughter was mesmerized by the process!

Sprouts day 3

Day 3

Repeat for the next 3 – 6 days and your sprouts are ready to eat!  Yum!

 

 

 

Sprouts day 4

Day 4

 

Sprouts day 5

Day 5

Sprouts day 6

Day 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To maintain freshness, refrigerate well drained sprouts in a sealed container.

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