When I was a kid, chia pets were popular — they were fun to grow. Many decades later, I look at chia pets differently — they are still fun to grow, but now I use the chia sprouts as a nutritious food.
The process of germination not only produces vitamin C but also changes the composition of grains and seeds in numerous beneficial ways. Sprouting increases vitamin B content, especially B2, B5, and B6. Carotene increases dramatically–sometimes eightfold. Even more important, sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains [and in legumes and seeds] that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc; sprouting also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds. These inhibitors can neutralize our own precious enzymes in the digestive tract… Finally, numerous enzymes that help digestion are produced during the germination process…..
According to enzyme specialist Dr. Edward Howell, in the past we ate most of our grains in partially germinated form. Gain standing in sheaves and stacks in open fields often began to sprout before it was brought into storage. Modern farming technique prevent grains from germinating before they reach our tables.Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell
There are also benefits we can’t measure yet such as life force (prana, chi, etc.) Sprouts have more life force energy than mature plants.
For thousands of years, cultures from East to West have included sprouts in their diet — and medicine.
With beans and lentils, sometimes you will want to simple soak them, other times you will want to sprout them. If you sprout them with a significant tail, you will notice a change of flavor between sprouted and unsprouted.
Sprouting involves soaking the seeds for a few hours, and then rinsing and draining them a few times a day for a few days. The key is for the sprouts be kept moist, and have adequate drainage and good air circulation.
There are lots of charts on the Internet with soaking and sprouting times for various beans, seeds and nuts.
Sprouters which I used
Quick sprouting using a clay pot
Miriam is using the warmth of the oven and the moisture capability of clay to speed up the sprouting process. This blogger is doing something similar an Instant Pot — Instant Pot Sprouted Beans with the Yogurt Button
Miriam likes to sprout in the clay bowls — they are a nice size. She says the lids of the small clay pot fit the bowls. When sprouting, it’s best for the seeds to be surrounded by unglazed clay on all sides.
Your beans/lentils will thrive in the breathable, nutrient rich pot and sprout more fully than in other vessels. To use as a sprouter: soak your beans/lentils in a glass bowl for 12 hours, drain the water and put the beans in your MEC pure-clay pot. Close the lid and put the pot in the oven. Your beans will sprout in these pots with just the heat from cooking on the stove top. In the winter, if need be, leave the oven light on to give some additional heat. Your beans/lentils will sprout in 8-12 hours. Most other sprouters are made of plastic, take 5-7 days to sprout and need repeated water changing or adding water constantly.MEC – Is there anything I can do with my damaged pot?
The above quote is referring to using a cracked pot. If the pot is not cracked, it is best to soak your seeds in the clay pot as well. When talking to Miriam, she says the soak time in clay is less.
Lentils, mung beans, & garbanzos
- Puree with tahini, lemon juice, etc, to make a raw hummus
- Stir-fry with diced vegetables, garlic and cumin to eat with rice
- Sprouted lentils on potato salad
- Use in baked goods recipes as you would nuts and seeds
Buckwheat, sunflower, sesame & nuts
- Sunflower sprouts with avocado and salsa
- Sprouted buckwheat on waffles
- Grind and add to shakes & energy bars
Alfalfa, broccoli, radish, and other salad types
- Add to salads, sandwiches & omelets
- Top on soups and stews
- Cook with them — Cooking time may be a bit faster. Sprouted grains such as oats are usually available at the grocery store. Sometimes the convenience of already sprouted is nice.
- Use them in baking — It’s not a simple substitution. You need a recipe specific to sprouted grains.
We must warn against overconsumption of raw sprouted grains as raw sprouts contain irritating substances that keep animals from eating the tender shoots. These substances are neutralized in cooking. Sprouted grains should usually be eaten lightly steamed or added to soups and casseroles.Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell