Grow indoors all year
I have a new garden. It is indoors and requires no soil, no organic pest control and no direct sun light. I'm running my very own sprouting garden and I highly recommend that you give it a try if you don't already sprout! It is always sprouting season - sprout year 'round.
If you would like to try it without investing in sprouting equipment, rest assured that anyone can sprout just about anything anywhere at any time. I recommend starting with beans. They are large and fun to watch as they sprout very quickly. Lentils are my favorite bean to sprout because they are the smallest type of bean. The above picture is of very poor quality, but you can see my lentil sprouts in the jar on the right in both pictures and spread out on the cutting board in the pile of sprouts on the right side. These tasty little treats have a mild flavor with a tender crunch. They are delicious in salads, stir fried with other vegetables, added to soups or blended in smoothies to boost nutrition.
Easy to digest and absorb - bioavailability
The bowl in the center of the above picture is full of sprouted "chickpeas" or garbanzo beans. My husband and I have found that garbanzos really give us the toots and lots of discomfort when we eat them. After I started sprouting at home, I decided to try sprouting garbanzos. I made a raw humus with them, mixed in some cooked rice, added some curry powder and turned them into bean burgers. They were delish and we never noticed an increase in gas or discomfort. Why, you ask? Dry legumes, grains, nuts and seeds have a natural toxin on their outer coating, causing trouble with digestion and resulting in reduced absorption of nutrients. The remedy to this problem is to bring them to life! Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes are a living food in the dormant state. By soaking them, these wonderful whole foods come to life and begin to transform their dormant energy into fresh phytochemicals for health. Sprouting causes vitamin A to double and vitamins C and B to increase up to ten fold. In addition, sprouted foods provide a sort-of pre-digested food because the starches and proteins are broken down to simpler and smaller molecules. Young children who are being introduced to new foods such as wheat and nuts (which can cause a food allergy) can start with the less threatening sprouted form of these foods and receive even more of the nutritional benefit. Whole wheat berries should be soaked for at least 7 hours, rinsed and drained before grinding to optimize the food value and reduce the risk of developing a food allergy.
How to sprout
- Use a large clean glass jar - 2 quart size is ideal
- Cover 3-4 Tablespoons of dry lentils with water
- Allow to soak at least 8 hours (I do this overnight)
- Drain and rinse lentils, return to jar and rotate jar to spread out the lentils
- Cover jar with cheese cloth or similar material to allow air flow but protect the lentils from dust or pests. Use a rubber band to hold the cloth on the jar.
- Lay the jar on its side away from direct sunlight, slightly tipped to drain any remaining moisture.
- Rinse lentils 2-4 times daily to keep them moist and free from mold.
- Allow the sprouts to develop green tops, about 4 days, rinse and store in the refrigerator up to two weeks while you eat them up!
If you like pictures, www.seriouseats.com has a slide show that is a pretty thorough step-by-step tutorial for sprouting.
Tell me - in the comments section - what foods you like to sprout. If you try it for the first time, I would love to hear what you think. This is a super fun project for kids who love to grow what they eat!