How to Grow Sprouts-A Quick Overview
Sprouts, Living Nutrition
I became interested in sprouts when I began eating raw, living food. I had cut out all the grains in my life because the only ones I knew of were either processed or needed to be cooked. I was buying green sprouts in the supermarkets, but they were expensive and always went bad.
I didn't know anything about how to grow sprouts, but they were often mentioned in the recipes I read. So, I decided to research it. After my research I began and found out that it is actually very easy.
Sprouts can be leafy greens, beans, nuts and grains. I will start with leafy greens. The obvious are the Alfalfa, Clover and Broccoli. These are common items in the produce section of supermarkets. You can also sprout radish, cabbage, mustard and more.
These go from seed to sprout in 4-5 days. The first thing you do is soak the seeds. I have an item called an Easy Sprouter that makes every step very easy. Put in about 2 tablespoons of seed. Cover them with 2-3 times their amount of cool water. Let them soak for 6-12 hours.
When they are done soaking, rinse them well in cool water. It is important to rinse them until the water is clear. The Easy Sprouter is two cups, one inside the other. The interior one has holes in the bottom to allow drainage, the outer is solid. I rinse the seeds using both cups, and lifting the interior cup to drain. I do this until the water is clear in the outer cup, usually about 7-10 rinses.
Next, drain the seeds very well. I shake the interior cup (not using the outer cup) over the sink. I shake and shake, spin the seeds, shake and shake. I put the interior cup back into the outer, cover with the lid that is included and set it on my counter. I read alot of recommendations to set it in a dark cupboard, but I find my counter works fine and I don't forget to rinse them.
Now you just rinse and drain 2-3 times a day and let nature take it's course. It is important to rinse until the water is clear and to drain well. Make sure the water is not too hot, keep it about 60-70 degrees F. It should feel cool, not cold, not warm, to your skin.
On the second or third day the sprouts will be intertwined with each other. Use your clean finger to gentle loosen them and declump them. I will fill the cups with water half way and work through the sprouts with my finger. This will keep the sprouts aerated and draining well. (My daughter will begin eating the sprouts right out of the sprouter at this point.)
It is amazing that the 2 tablespoons of seed will grow into a crop of sprouts that fills the container. I end up with 2-2 1/2 cups of sprouts. I was paying $1.59 for the same amount, and having some go bad each time. I paid 6 or 7 dollars for a pound of the seeds. For the price of 4-5 cartons of old, fairly tasteless sprouts, I now have a supply of fresh, extremely tasty sprouts that will probably last over a year. I have made several batches (2 months of constant growing), and my pound is barely dented.
I have a small salad spinner that I use to dry my sprouts before putting them in the refrigerator. If you don't have one, let your sprouts air dry for about 8 hours before putting them in the refrigerator. Sprouts keep better if they are not wet.
Beans are a good source of protein and excellent to eat when sprouted. You can sprout them as much or as little as you like. Beans, grains, seeds, and nuts have living enzymes present after their initial soak. The enzymes are dormant until you soak, they then come alive!
I use a hemp bag for sprouting beans. This is a very simple style of sprouter. I have a shelf with hooks over my sink, so I just hang the bag to drain after I rinse.
Pick through you beans before you soak them. It is possible that small pebbles or sticks may be in them. I put about 1/2 of a cup of beans into my hemp bag. I then place it in a bowl covering it with 2-3 times the amount of cool water. Soak the beans for 8-12 hours.
After soaking I rinse the beans, still in the bag, in the bowl. I run water into the bag and swish it around alot so that the beans float and roil around. I do this until the water is clear. Then I hang the bag, and repeat 2-3 times a day. I like my bean sprouts with about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of sprout tail on them. My daughter likes them as soon as you can see the sprout.
Bean sprouts are done in 2-4 days, depending on how sprouted you like them. They keep well in the refrigerator and taste great on salads. Beans are also wonderful all by themselves. I love the lentils, my daughter's favorite are the peas. Both are slightly sweet and crunchy and delicious.
I use my Easy Sprouter to sprout small grains, such as quinoa, and the hemp bag to sprout larger grains, such as wheat. Grains usually take 1-3 days to sprout. The methods are the same as previously mentioned. Soak about 2/3 of a cup of grain in 2-3 times the amount of cool water. Then rinse and drain 2-3 times a day until they are done. Grains are generally sweet and taste good for breakfast.
One thing to remember about grains is that they are very starchy. You need to rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse. Make sure the water is clear. This takes longer that with leafy greens or beans, but it is well worth the effort.
Nuts are not actually sprouted, but are considered "soaks". Eat them when the narrow part bulges, but no actual root appears. I use my hemp bag for nuts. I soak almonds for about 8 hours. Drain and rinse once and start eating them. Sunflower and Pumpkin I soak for an hour, drain and rinse and eat. Nuts are very quick and easy and taste more vibrant after soaking. They are still crunchy, just not so hard.
Beans and leafy sprouts will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator. Grains and nuts begin to taste bitter after 3-4 days. I cannot say exactly how long, because they are always gone from mine in about 2 days. You, your family and your friends will love sprouts, so start sprouting and live healthy!
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