Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Guest Post- A Lesson in Sprouting by David Jordan

David kindly shared his sprouting techniques with us at our last garden club meeting.  I thank him again for writing it all down to help out those who were furiously making notes, and maybe missed a thing or two.

Sprouting basics

Why sprout:
Sprouting significantly improves the nutritional value of seeds, grains and legumes;
-enzyme inhibitors are washed away during the soaking stage of sprouting, thereby increasing their digestibility.
-Phytic acid, which binds calcium, iron and zinc, is converted making these minerals more available.
-vitamin and enzyme content of food is increased many times; vitamin C is created in some seeds which, otherwise, do not
contain it.
-Sprouting creates delicious, inexpensive “living foods” to add to salads, smoothies, soups, sandwiches and rice
bowls.
How to sprout:
Sprouting involves soaking, rinsing and sprouting.  Some sprouts also take an additional “greening” step and some
can be planted in soil to produce microgreens.  Soaking and rinsing is easily done in large mouth canning jars with wire
mesh lids (see resources below).  Depending on the size of the seed, grain or bean, soaking can take from 6 to 36 hours;
“overnight” works for most of the sprouts I use regularly.  Tables of soaking times are available in the books I've
noted below.
My favorites sprouts for salads are a salad mix and a zesty lentil mix from Sprout Master.  Similar mixes are available
from Mumms and at local health food stores.
       Two tablespoons of seeds is enough for these mixes and other small seeds.  Start by rinsing the seeds, then
cover them in pure water for the soaking process.   After soaking overnight, rinse them and invert the jar at an angle
in a bowl or dish drainer.  Keep them in the dark  rinsing and draining twice a day for 2 to 4 days. When they have
sprouted sufficiently, rinse again and set them to drain in a sunny window to green.  Keep them in the fridge after a
day of greening.
For microgreens, my favorites are unhulled sunflower seeds, unhulled buckwheat and green peas.  One to two cups of
these are soaked and rinsed as above, but only sprouted until a tiny sprout can be seen (usually 12 to 24 hours after
the soaking period).  Then they are planted in drainable soil trays.  Cover the seed for a day or two with another tray.
When the seedlings have reached an inch  or so in length, uncover and place under a grow light, watering daily, until
they are ready to harvest, usually 2 or 3 days.  You can continue to harvest for another few days, but they will become
bitter if left to grow too long. These microgreens are wonderful on salads, in sandwiches, soups and smoothies.
Resources:
A number of books describe this process in detail and give specific times for the soaking, rinsing and draining and
time to harvest.  I like the following:
-Sprout Garden: Indoor growers guide to gourmet sprouts  by Mark M. Braunstein.  A very thorough, detailed description
of  sprouting methods.
-Recipes for Longer Life   by Ann Wigmore.  A recipe book for raw food with many uses for sprouts as well as
instructions for sprouting.
-Hooked on Raw  by Rhio.  Great recipes and a description of a “bowl method” of sprouting.
The books, sprouting equipment, sprouting seeds and further information are available on line.  I like two sources in
particular:

Sprout Master  at  [www.sproutmaster.com]  Sprout Master carries the lids with screens and the salad mix and lentil mix
that I like.

Mumms sprouting site at [www.sprouting.com/homesprouting.html]  This site has a video tutorial.




1 comment:

Josh Green said...

Sprouting is the coolest thing in the worl to me. I love the difference that it makes.