[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] T[/dropcap]oday I want to get you excited about the sprouting possibilities and share with you a few things you should know about sprouting – including my super easy step-by-step (video) guide to sprouting at home.
But first a story…
Most of my major life decisions have been based on something to do with food or wine. For example, when it came time to choose a thesis topic for my food science degree, I decided to look at the bacterial populations in Blue Vein and Camembert cheese.
Why cheese? Part of the study happened to included a ‘sensory evaluation’.
Hello cheese tasting.
During that long honours year, I spent lots of quality time in the food micro lab.
So I became good friends with Colette who was studying bacteria in bean sprouts.
Yep bean sprouts. And no I didn’t volunteer to help with any ‘sensory evaluations’.
Colette taught me a lot about the bacteria in sprouts.
Let’s just say there was a lot of activity – not necessarily the ‘probiotic’ or friendly bacteria kind.
So neither of us were very keen to eat sprouts.
And that’s pretty much how things were for me and sprouts over the years, until recently when I read a book called ‘Essential Eating, The Digestible Diet’ by Janie Quinn.
The thing that really piqued my interest was Quinn’s comments on the nutritional benefits of sprouting.
Her theory is that after sprouting grains and legumes are recognised in our bodies as vegetables rather than starches.
Essentially, the sprouting process turns grains and legumes into living plants with more nutrients available for our bodies to use.
Plus they’re easier to digest.
I’ve been getting into sprouting quite a bit lately.
It’s heaps of fun and no where near as tricky or time consuming as it sounds at first.
5 things you should know about sprouting at home
1. Sprouting is fun!
Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy checking in on my sprouts each day as they come to life.
2. Sprouts contain more available nutrients
As I mentioned above, sprouting turns legumes and grains into living plants with more vitamins, such as Vitamin C, B and carotene. It also helps the absorption of minerals.
3. Sprouts are easier to digest
The sprouting process reduces the presence of ‘anti-nutrients’ such as phytates which cause problems with digestion. It breaks down complex starches that can cause the ‘gas’ associated with beans and legumes. Sprouting also produces enzymes which aid digestion.
4. Sprouts cook quicker
The soaking and sprouting softens grains and legumes so they cook in a fraction of the time of their dried counterparts.
5. Sprouts are best if cooked
Two reasons for this. Sprouting encourages bacteria to grow so it’s best if sprouts are cooked to kill the bacteria. Secondly, raw sprouts contain irritating substances which are deactivated by cooking.
Just steam or boil them in water until tender.
Step-by-step guide to sprouting at home
It may seem like a lot of work, but when you try it you’ll see it’s literally 1-2 minutes of activity each day. And it’s so much fun seeing your little sprout ‘pets’ come to life.
1. Day 1.
Wash seeds / legumes. Place in a jar or bowl and cover generously with cold water.
2. Day 2. morning
Drain the water. Place a piece of cloth over the neck of the jar and secure with a rubber band. Place jar in a bowl with the cloth covered side down so the excess water will drain out. OR place your legumes / grains on a tea towel inside a strainer or colander, again so the excess water can drain away.
3. Day 2. evening
Rinse your legumes / grain well then return to their draining position.
4. Day 3. morning
Repeat the rinsing step from last evening.
Continue to rinse and drain your sprouts twice a day (or there abouts, it won’t be the end of the world if you skip a few sessions). The sprouts are ready when you can see little tails that are about the same length as the original seed / legume.
Video version of sprouting instructions
Have fun in the kitchen (with your pet sprouts!)
I didn’t know all the stuff about growing sprouts, and thank you for the information. However I’m still not convinced that I want to play with the bacteria. I did not know that you could cook sprouts to negate the danger of infection. Keep the good stuff coming.
Glad you found it helpful Sue!
Nice demonstration well done it was my first time to sprout and this video helped me alot
Glad you found it helpful
Thanks, Jules, your information on steaming/cooking sprouts is invaluable. Seems so simple, and makes such good sense, once you’ve brought it to our attention! Your demonstrations provide wonderful guidance. You certainly have integrated all of your life experiences/jobs into your cooking and sharing. I am certainly enriched by it all. Again, thanks.
You’re welcome Jan
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!
I like the photo gallery! Nice new look. :)
If one were to wash the sprouts with water and vinegar (say, 7:1 ratio or so), would that make them safe enough to eat raw?
Thanks for the great article!
A vinegar was would certainly bump off lots of the bacteria and would make the sprouts safer.. it’s up to you
I use GSE (grapefruit seed extract) for all my sprouting. Never a problem with mold or bacteria, just rinse before eating. I have never cooked, isnt that the point?
4 drops of GSE per 12 oz of cold clean water does the trick.
Thanks for the suggestion Brian
Wouldn’t cooking sprouts reduce their protein content and overall nutritive value?Aren’t they best eaten raw?
No protein isn’t going to break down from cooking. It will reduce the heat-sensitive vitamins and enzymes though.
Aah… The memories. Good to see you’re back into the sprouts. Ran into Robyn yesterday (we didn’t talk sprouts). We must chat soon!!
Lovely to hear from you!
Yes it’s been way too long
How long will the sprouts keep or do you need to cook them immediately?
A few days
They’ll keep much longer once cooked
i recently discovered that juicing cannabis leaf has numerous health benefits.
i would imagine if you were to use cannabis sprouts, it would compound the health benefits…..would you know anything about cannabis sprouts?
Interesting about the cannabis juice Irving.
I’m afraid I don’t know anything about cannabis sprouts… if you try it do let me know!
This is very interesting to me! I guess I am wondering what “seeds & legumes” this works with. Does it work with beans like black beans?? Or is that crazy? Would cooking sprouted black beans be weird? Or would it be thought of as a vegetable and not as a starch by your body? We eat a lot of black beans, haha. I like the idea of eating other sprouts but I am mostly familiar with them raw in salads or on sandwiches, both at restaurants. I have never tried them cooked, or at home! Do you have some recipes lined up for us newbies? ;)
Black beans can be sprouted. But like someone said, cooking them afterwards will diminish some of the nutritional benefits.
I’d recommend cooking black beans before eating to make them easier to digest.
Will boiling the sprouts i) render them wilted and unpalatable and ii) kill the dangerous bacteria you mention and finally iii) also kill the vit. C, B and carotene you mention? What about other phytonutrients and antioxidants? I want to know if it is really worth growing and eating these things!
I wonder how many nutrients and enzymes are lost during cooking? I just made your recipe and cooked potatoes in the water first before adding the sprouts and peas. Topped with leftover wild baby salmon. It was delicious.
I only ever eat my sprouts raw. Never had a problem with so-called bacteria. I eat them when they’re ready though, and don’t have leftovers lying around. If you wash them well and keep in a clean, dry place, you shouldn’t have a problem with microbes (I’m a vegetarian so there’s no raw meat in the house).
Good for you! Home made sprouts are much more likely to avoid contamination than commercial ones :)
I agree I always eat my sprouts raw never had any problem
Good to know thanks PAdma :)
how long to steam sprouts?
Depends on the sprout and your taste preference Ian… usually a few minutes is enough
Thanks for sharing your sprouting tips!
You’re welcome Jim – planning to experiment with sprouting broccoli seeds soon :)
Have you ever heard of putting mung bean sprouts into bread dough. If so, is it better to grind them or put them in whole?
I haven’t heard of it Carol – but am sure it would be delicious. And you could do either or both with the ground / whole sprouts.
Whole will give a more multigrain texture which might be nice.
Do let me know if you try it!
I enjoyed this! I didn’t know much about sprouting, just that it was apparently healthier. Does cooking a sprouted grain diminish any of the health benefits of it being sprouted? Thanks for sharing!
Yes cooking sprouts destroys the heat sensitive vitamins – but still a better choice than unsprouted :)
should the sprouts be consumed just as they germinate or should we allow the radical to grow long? which one would have more nutritive value?
Good question Payal
There could be a slight benefit from waiting – but it’s probably not hugely significant
Thank you for this article! I’ve been trying to sprout some millet for a few days and nothing seems to be happening. Does that mean it’s too old and I should throw it away? (I probably bought it a couple years ago.)
Been making my own sprouts since I learned how to do it from the Sproutman back in the 70s. I never cook my sprouts, only eat them raw as he did, and never had a problem with bacteria. But yes, these are sprouts I made myself, not store bought.
Good for you Mark!