Have you ever wanted to grow your own sprouts but you didn’t exactly know how to get started? Generally speaking, growing your own sprouts is amazingly easy and very inexpensive.
When you soak seeds, nuts or grains at room temperature, the enzyme inhibitors are released and the enzymes are activated. The seed begins to grow and increases the nutrient content, just by soaking first. Soaking also helps to decrease some of the fat content and makes it easier to digest the simple amino acids.
A few rules to remember when soaking:
- Make sure you have enough water in your bowl to completely cover the seeds. They tend to expand and can double or triple in size.
- Always use purified water.
- Soak larger seeds for at least two days. For all other seeds or legumes, overnight is usually sufficient.
- Remember to change your water at least two times a day for longer soaking times.
After you have soaked your seeds, you’re ready to begin sprouting. You’ll want to rinse your freshly soaked seeds with fresh tap or purified water, whichever you prefer. Next, place your seeds in a sprouting jar or sprouting tray. A mason jar will work just fine. You can make your own screen with nylon and an elastic band. Be sure that there is ventilation and that the temperature is not over 80 degrees.
Tilt your jar at a 45-degree angle to allow the water to drain and provide proper ventilation. You can put a towel over the jar in the early stages if you choose and remember to never put them in direct sunlight.
For different recipes and uses, there will be different rules to follow. For instance, if you have a recipe that calls for your seeds, nuts or grains to be used right after soaking, simply rinse them off good and they’re ready to go. Flax seeds will create a gelatinous substance that you will probably not be able to rinse off. So just rinse them off in a colander, strain and use the seeds. You do not need to remove the substance.
When sprouted seeds, legumes or grains are ready to eat, I have found that the best way to store them is in “Ever Fresh Green Bags”. They are made to preserve freshness and work wonderfully. You can also store your sprouts in tupperware bowls if you prefer.
Sprouting in Soil
Sprouting in soil produces a much different kind of sprout. The most common are buckwheat, sunflower or wheatgrass. You need to buy the buckwheat and sunflower seeds with the shells “on”. Soak for at least 24 hours. Next, you’ll need a shallow planting tray. You can even use a cardboard carry-out box if you like. It should be about 3 inches deep.
Add about 1 inch of potting soil in the bottom of your tray, sprinkle your seeds on top and water evenly. Be careful not to add too much water. You want your soil to be moist but not drenched. Then place a tent-like top over your seeds to protect them from outside environmental factors like bugs or birds, if they are sitting outside.
When your sprouts are about 1 inch high, take the lid off and expose them to indirect sunlight. Wheatgrass can be harvested at 4 or 5 inches high with a sharp knife or scissors. Sunflower sprouts can also be harvested at the same height. Buckwheat sprouts are ready to be harvested when the black shells have fallen off.
You can also refer to “The Raw Transformation” by Wendy Rudell for more helpful tips on sprouting, as well as sprouting charts and yummy recipes for all of your homegrown veggies.