Honest talk, I feel like such a hippy posting about sprouted grains! They are so fun to do though. Sprouted grains have become more popular around the internet as more people are interested in a raw food lifestyle. I’ve even had sprouted grains in my salad at a few restaurants lately. In nature, raw seeds and grains are packaged so that their nutrients are protected in a tough outer shell. However, when those same grains are placed in the right conditions, they begin to germinate . As a grains starts to sprout, the enzymes contained inside start to break down some the indigestible fiber making some of the nutrients more available to our bodies when consumed.
When you want to start sprouting, make sure to look for raw grains, nuts, or seeds. If they have been roasted they likely will not sprout. Sprouted grains can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. Sprouted grains can be dehydrated and ground into flour for baked goods. If you let your sprouts grow a bit more like I did, they make a great snack or addition to salads or stir fry.
Health Benefits of Sprouted Lentils:
- The process of sprouting wakes up the reproductive parts of the seed and makes some of the nutrients more accessible to us when we eat them. For example, sprouted grains are often higher in vitamin C than their non-sprouted counterparts.
- Soaking decreases the amount of phytate, a compound found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans that can mildly inhibit the absorption of iron, calcium, and zinc.
- Sprouting decreases the amount of gluten in the grain which can make them more tolerable to individual’s with gluten-intolerance.
- Sprouting can increase the amount of soluble fiber which has been shown to help improve blood pressure.
Let’s talk about how to sprout lentils!
- Pint or Quart size ball jars
- Ball jar lids
- Rinse off your lentils and pick out any small stones or shriveled lentils.
- Divide prepared lentils into your ball jars. I did a cup of lentils and divided it into two small pint sized Ball jars. Leave plenty of space in the jar because the lentils expand a lot as they sprout.
- Now add water to the lentils until there is about 2″ of water covering them.
- Cover the opening of the jar with a square of cheese cloth. Secure the cheesecloth to the top of the jar with a rubber band or the metal ring.
- Set jars aside in a cool dark place for 24 hours.
- Pour the lentils out of the jar into a strainer. Rinse them well and then transfer back to the jar. (This time, without any added water.) Cover again with cheesecloth and set back into the cool, dark space.
- Repeat the rinse, strain, and cover with cheesecloth every 12 hours for the next 3-4 days.
- Your lentils are ready when the stems are about 1/4 inch long. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with a paper towel to dry for 10 minutes. Then transfer them to an airtight container and store in the fridge. They will keep in the fridge for up to one week.