Monday, April 06, 2009

Sprouting 101

I've had several people ask for more information about sprouting grains, and since I am much more likely to try a recipe/food idea when there are pictures, I figured I would give a little sprouting demonstration. It's so easy, however, that there's not really much to say about the process.

But why bother? What's the point of sprouting grains? There are lots of good reasons to sprout! If you think about it, a grain in it's dormant state is almost exclusively a carbohydrate. Sure, there are vitamins in there, but the phytic acid in the bran of the seed blocks the absorption of those nutrients. When a seed is soaked and then sprouted, however, things start changing. The phytic acid is broken down (making the grain's nutrients available), the vitamins in the grain actually increase (I think I read that vitamin A content increases 300% with sprouting), and the grain itself is easier to digest.

So to start out, you'll need some whole grains (I've found mine at the local co-op, as well as a buying club, if you don't know where a co-op near you is, you could try Whole Foods or something). I've sprouted wheat, rye, buckwheat, oats, and quinoa, and they're all pretty easy.

1. Soak the grain for 8-12 hours. In the photo above, I have 1.5 cups of wheat (I like Prairie Gold, if you're wondering). You can use a mason jar or a bowl, but I prefer my French press because of the nice filter it has. Cover generously with water...they'll soak up a lot! I often do this step overnight.
2. Drain, rinse, and drain. You see above that the wheat has plumped up nicely. Now I drain all excess water, fill it up with more water, and stir. A knife or a fork works well if you have a long narrow container like mine. Once it's all stirred up (the water may look a little foggy--thats good! you're rinsing well), drain well again. Let the damp seeds sit for another 8-12 hours.
3. Repeat. I usually rinse and drain once or twice, since I don't like my sprouts to have long tails. From start to finish, sprouting takes 24-26 hours for me, with about 3 minutes of total labor. Once they're at the size you'd like, make sure they are well drained, and store in the fridge until you're ready to use them. Done!
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Ruth Ellen said...

Thanks, Terri. I'm much more likely to try sprouting now that I've seen this demonstration! Now one last question: what do you do with your sprouted grain?

Anonymous said...

For now, I almost exclusively use them for making bread, but I'm thinking of trying out/creating a sprouted granola recipe as well. You can also sprinkle them on salads, steam them as a side dish with butter and salt (think rice), or dry out the grain and grind it up for sprouted flour. I'm sure there are more things...


rob said...

Ok for the less educated maybe you could do a demonstration of the bread making?! Thanks for posting the sprouting...I have been wondering about it and it is helpful to see in pics.

Thanks so much Terri!

Jessica said...

Very helpful Terri-thanks! I'm hoping to start this someday soon:) Couple questions though...
-how long can you store them in the fridge?
-for the cup and a half of grains you used in the many loaves of bread would that make?


Becca said...

That was an excellent tutorial- easy to follow! I look forward to more!