With prices rising, more and more people are seeking out alternatives to lower their grocery bills while still providing their families with fresh, nourishing food. One alternative that people are looking to is sprouting.
Fresh Food Fast
Many of us have probably seen alfalfa or other sorts of sprouts in the grocery store. Some restaurants also offer sprouts in salads and on sandwiches. Sprouts can be used like lettuce adding a fresh, crunchy bulk to any dish. More than this, however, sprouts offer many health benefits. They contain vitamins and enzymes that your body needs. Sprouts are also cost efficient. Lentils, for example can be purchased for around a dollar a pound. Sprouting those same lentils will cause them to increase in volume. Lentils that are sprouted for 3-5 days can gain up to four times their original volume.
This is a great way to get some greens in your diet at less expense. It's also something that can be grown in any season of the year.
What to Sprout
While there are many types of beans and seeds that can be sprouted, not all are suited for this purpose. For example, kidney beans are edible, but kidney bean sprouts are toxic. You should make sure whatever you want to sprout is suited to the purpose. Some examples of things that can be sprouted include raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds, whole peas, chick peas and mung beans. Also, while some seeds or grains such as wheat and flax, can be sprouted, they are generally better as micro greens—very young plants that can be consumed and are quickly and easily grown.
The following article will take you through the process of sprouting lentils. For more information on sprouting and micro greens, see the resources listed below.
You will need:
A clean wide-mouth jar
A rubber band
Some cheese cloth
Fill the jar about an eighth to a fourth of the way full of lentils.
Fill the jar with water and let it sit for 24hours. There is some debate about how much sunlight you should allow during the process. I set mine on the kitchen counter-- next to the window but not in direct sunlight-- and have not yet had any problems.
Drain the water and then rinse the lentils a couple of times. Do not leave the lentils covered in water this time. Place the cheesecloth on top of the jar using the rubber band to hold it in place. Then leave the jar sitting at an angle so that excess water can drain.
Repeat Step 2 between 2 and 4 times a day for the next three to five days until sprouts reach a desired size.
Enjoy your sprouts. Put any unused sprouts in the refrigerator. They should be good up to a week.