So why am I so hyped up on the spouts thing? I’m glad you asked. What I have learned is that by consuming things in their sprout or microgreen state we are able to take in the highest concentrations nutrients it has to offer. Think about this. A seed has all the nutritional substances contained within it in order to sprout and start growing. We just add water (dirt) and it activates the seed, right? It uses all of the self contained nutrients for the first few days to get the growing process started, so it stands to reason that if we eat the seed during this phase we are getting those nutrients. These are perfect for my lifestyle, as I said in a previous blog, since I prefer a “grazing” style, small, frequent portions of nutritionally dense food, of eating. I am going to show you my quick method of sprouting and share with you the good and bad of each phase. As always, this is a learning process for me and you should definitely do your own research.
Lentils offer about 26% protein in their sprouted form versus 9% in their adult form. Since I love lentils in any form and I am a vegetarian always in search of healthy protein, this was the seed I started sprouting. I had these lentil beans in the pantry, so I got started gathering the rest of my supplies.
I have since learned that using regular beans/seeds can be a source of bacterial contamination of your sprouts no matter how clean you keep every other phase of the sprouting process. These beans are usually used in a cooking process and the heat kills any contaminates on the seed. If you want to use these types of beans/seeds for sprouting you can heat the sprouts for about 10 minutes before consuming and it does the same thing. Just an FYI so you can make a healthy choice for you. I have also learned that by using “sprouting seeds” the seed itself is guaranteed to be free of contaminates, thereby eliminating one source of contamination for your sprouting process.
I chose to start this adventure by using cheesecloth to cover my jars with. I had this on hand. You will need scissors to cut the cheesecloth into pieces to fit your jars. I cleaned my scissors with hot, soapy, water with a splash of bleach added to prevent cross contamination. I also wiped my table down with that solution, allowed it to air dry, before I unfolded my cheesecloth to cut in order to eliminated another surface for potential cross contamination.
It sounds a little intense, but you already have the solution made up in your sink (to clean your jars with) so just use it to wipe everything else down. I used this cleaning process with my plastic jars only, my glass jars I sterilized in the oven with the same process I use for canning.
Household rubber bands to hold the cheesecloth in place on the jars that I don’t have canning rings to fit. My plastic jars are sizes that I was unable to switch out for canning lid rings. I did not do anything but hope for the best that these rubber bands would not contaminate anything. LOL
Add the appropriate amount of beans/seeds to the bottom of your jar. Remember these will expand to 4-5 times their current size so don’t over do it. I cover the diameter of the jar bottom with the seed/beans and call it good.
You want to have enough room in your jar after the seeds start sprouting to be able to rinse the sprouts very well and have them lay flat so that air circulates between the sprouts to prevent mold from forming. I put too many beans in my first jar, so that when they started sprouting it got pretty tight in there. I just transferred half my sprouts into another jar and continued the process. It worked just fine.
Soaking Phase. Cover the beans/seeds with FILTERED water (again, to limit contaminates).
The rule of thumb I used was water should be 4 times the “height” of your seeds in the jar. You will only do this once. There are many charts out there that give you specific soaking times for each seed, but I wait until they double in size (not longer than overnight).
Add your cheesecloth to the top of the jar. I used a double layer for this very large jar so that I have enough strength to hold the seeds in during the rinsing phase.
Cut away excess cheesecloth. Use clean scissors.
Leave seeds to soak in warm, (indirect) light area. I chose the stove top as it receives plenty of indirect light and is warm most of the time. The seeds need 60-75 degree temps (just like ME!!). I gently swirled them several times during the soaking phase to make sure everyone got water on all their surfaces. During this phase you are softening the seed coating to allow the sprouting process to begin.
Seeds soaked overnight and have been rinsed several times with filtered water. Drain the jar well, rotating it several times side over side and allow to sit at an angle so every little drop of water runs out. Inspect your seeds for any signs of mold or mildew or any debris. Remove the debris and if mold/mildew discovered then dispose of the entire batch of seeds. You will repeat this process 2-4 times daily. My lifestyle and schedule allowed rinsing twice daily. You will leave your jar on its side, as pictured, in between rinses.
Look!! I’ve got some sprouts starting already!! Keep rinsing seeds and rest jar on its side in between rinsing sessions.
Look at all these sprouts starting. Keep rinsing. You can taste a small spoonful at this point, just make sure not to double dip and contaminate the jar. Yum, aye?!