Learning how to grow sprouts for nuts, seeds, grains and legumes will allow you to grow some of the most nutritious foods available on the planet. Sprouts are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids (protein). They are also biogenic – alive – and capable of transferring their life energy to your body. Wow! Live raw food!!
When you eat a sprout, you are eating a tiny, easy to digest plant that is at its peak of nutritional value. The life energy in fresh sprouts stimulates the body’s inherent self-cleansing and self-healing abilities.
When nuts, seeds, grains and legumes are soaked and sprouted, enzyme inhibitors (put there by nature to protect the seed) are washed away. These enzyme inhibitors are why many, if not most people, find nuts and seeds hard to digest and why beans and legumes cause gas. This process makes them all easier to digest.
Soaking and sprouting starts developing enzymes and is estimated to increase enzyme content by six to twenty times, per Dr. Edward Howell (Food Enzymes for Health and Longevity). It also increases vitamin content.
Oil and fat content is reduced. Some is released into the soaking water, and more is used up in the sprouting process. The process changes protein into amino acids, starch into simple sugars and fats into soluble fatty acids.
Sprouting is very simple and takes just a little time and attention. When I first started, I just used what I had – (plastic) bowls and pasta strainers. And do you know what – they work just fine and I am still using my make-shift equipment years later.
NOTE: You may decide you want to use wide-mouth jars, rubber bands and nylon netting, cheesecloth or pieces of nylon stockings. My best source for information details is Rhio’s book Hooked on Raw. The most important thing you will want is fresh, organic seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. Find a source that sells and moves lots of seeds so they will be fresh. I have been so happy with Sun Organic Farms in Southern California that I haven’t looked elsewhere. (www.sunorganicfarms.com) I just soak nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, walnuts and pine nuts). I have sprouted fenugreek and sunflower seeds, and lentils and mung beans. I tried buckwheat once, but it was too tough, and quinoa, but it got moldy. I buy alfalfa, clover, and broccoli and others since they are so available at markets and so inexpensive. You may want to check your local Farmers’ Market.
Here is a brief chart to give you an idea of soaking and sprouting times:
For this process, I used sunflower seeds. It's pretty much the same procees for any type of nut, seed or legume you want to sprout. Place seeds in bowls or jars and cover with 2-3 times more pure water than seeds.
This was after one day of rinsing in the morning and then rinsing in the evening. You can see the seeds are already starting to get little tails.
After two days of rinsing in the morning and evening, the tails are getting a little longer and the seeds are starting to turn green.
On the third day of rinsing morning and evening, these sprouts are ready to be added to your salads or sandwiches! Put the leftovers in a plastic bag with a paper towel (to absorb extra moisture) and keep them refrigerated.
You can also dehydrate them for a short amount of time to get the excess moisture off. Be sure to keep them refrigerated, otherwise, they will go bad on you.
One possible problem is old seeds won’t sprout, they rot. This is why finding a source that sells and moves lots of seeds so they will be fresh is so important.
Another problem may be not rinsing often enough. This will also allow fermenting and rotting. This may happen more often in warmer weather. In cold weather sprouting times may be longer, whereas seeds may spout very quickly in warmer weather. Make sure you keep an eye on them – and smell them. If they are fermenting or rotting they will give off a funky odor. Be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse!!
I hope you try this process – it really is easy! And, the raw food health and nutritional benefits are great. You can add the sprouts to your salads, sandwiches, or juice them.
Let us know how it works for you – we’d love to hear your experience!