Growing Your Own Sprouts

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Try growing your own sprouts. Whole grains are transformed into a living food when they are sprouted. Sprouting increases vitamins, enzymes, and minerals and makes them more bio-available. Growing your own guarantees fresh clean sprouts. Sprouts will add living food to your otherwise dry food supply and also for your survival food pantry. One of the dadas was telling me about when he would go out to meditate for prolonged periods in the woods or cave. He would bring dried garbanzo chick peas, soak them, and sprout them for an instant protein-rich food.

All you need are some organic seeds, a large, clean quart mason jar and some netted fabric secured with a screw on mason jar band or rubber band. You can sprout any grain, provided you’re working from the whole grain berry, not a rolled, flaked or otherwise damaged grain. Soak seeds that have been thoroughly rinsed for the first 24 hours in clean cool water, draining and refreshing the water several times. Store in the dark. Then rinse twice a day with fresh clean water and set in sunlight Your sprouts will be ready to eat in a week.There are many varieties of seeds and legumes which can be sprouted offering a plethora of options for any dishes.  Sprouts contain a significant amount of nutrition in their tiny form offering the opportunity to boost a meal with their simple addition.

Many different seeds and legumes may be used for sprouting though ensure they are sold for sprouting and contain no pathogens. All seeds have different sprouting timeframes that range from 2 days to a full week.  In a test sprouting I did for this post the mung beans began to sprout in about 2 days and had filled the Mason jar within 4 days.  The other sprouts ranged to be close to that or a few days longer.

Directions for Making Sprouts

Once you have created your sprouting jars, place 2 tablespoons to ½ cup of sprouting seeds in a given jar depending on how large a crop you wish to have.  ½ cup of mung beans creates a quart of sprouts; maybe a bit much for a starter batch.  You can experiment with the amounts until you decide what works for you.

Seal the jar with the screen lid. Fill the jar with water to cover the seeds plus an inch. Allow them to sit in a cool spot, out of direct sunlight overnight.  Drain the water through the screen top. Place the jar on its side again in a cool spot out of direct sunlight.

Rinse the seeds twice daily by filling the jar to cover the seeds, swish the water around to rinse all the sprouts; drain through the screen top and replace on its side until the sprouts have grown to the size desired.

Once the sprouts are finished, remove them from the jar, place in a plastic bag or sealed container in the refrigerator to use.  Sprouts should stay fresh for up to a week.

Types of Grains for Sprouting

Bean salad sprout mix includes adzuki, mung, green lentils and radish for a kick. Where do microgreens fit in? Microgreens are less mature than baby greens but harvested later than sprouts.

Alfalfa

Barley

Amaranth

Beet Seeds

Chia

Chickpeas

Red Clover

Fenugreek

Lentil

Millet

Mung Bean

Quinoa

Sunflower Seeds in Shell

Wheat, Spelt Berries

Benefits to Sprouting

· concentrated source of protein

· concentrated source of vitamin A, B, C, and E

· concentrated source of antioxidants

· concentrated source of minerals

· source of fiber

· source of chlorophyll

· source of essential fatty acids

· nutrients are more easily digested and absorbed

· alkalizing to the body

Sprouted Grain Flour

You can substitute it at 1:1 ratio for any whole grain flour, and is particularly good in baked goods, cookies and breads. Sprouted grain flour is rich in nutrients, particularly B vitamins, excellent for vegans. If you haven’t the interest or time to sprout your own grains for sprouted grain flour, you can also purchase sprouted grain flour online at amazon.com, as well as in well stocked natural foods stores. These sprouts set in a mesh strainer that sits into a sink in the open air. There is specific equipment that is designed to grind sprouted flour.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole grain (such as rice, wheat berries, einkorn berries, spelt berries etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Pour the grains into a large mixing bowl, and cover with warm water by 2 inches. Stir in the vinegar, cover the bowl, and set it on the counter. Let the grains soak, undisturbed, for 18 to 24 hours, then drain the grains and rinse them well.
  2. Pour the grains into an over-the-sink fine-mesh sieve and rinse them under flowing water. Stir the grains with your outstretched fingers. Twice a day for 2 to 3 days, continue rinsing and stirring the grains, a tiny, cream-colored sprout emerges at the end of the grains. In using sprouted grains for flour, be mindful to begin dehydrating the grains shortly after the root tip appears.
  3. Transfer the grains to dehydrator trays lined with a non-stick dehydrator sheets (available from amazon.com). Dehydrate the grains for 12 to 18 hours. Once the grains are firm and dry, transfer them to the freezer in a plastic bag or sealed container, or immediately grind them in a grain grinder. Grind them to a fine flour, sift it, as desired, and store it in the freezer in plastic freezer bags until ready to use.

Equipment You’ll Need for Making Sprouted Grain Flour

  • Fine-mesh Sieve: I use a fine-mesh sieve that fits over the sink for rinsing and aerating the grains as they sprout. Fitting it over the sink saves much-needed counter space, and also allows the water to run cleanly through the grains, minimizing clean up.
  • Dehydrator: To prevent sprouted grains from roasting in the oven at too high a temperature, I dry them in a food dehydrator. I have a 9-tray Excalibur model that I also use to preserve the summer and autumn harvest, to help bread rise and to keep a constant temperature for yogurt making. There are new models with digital timers. I also make sure to use BPA-free Paraflex dehydrator sheets which keep the grains from slipping through the holes in the dehydrator’s trays.
  • Grain Grinder: When I first began grinding my own grains for flour, I used a Nutrimill; however, early this year it stopped working, and I purchased a Komo Grain Grinder and Grain Flaker which is blessedly quiet and doesn’t heat the flour during grinding.  There are many grain grinders, electric and manual, in a variety of price ranges.