You probably already know or have heard about sprouted grains and their benefits. If not, then let’s go over the most important aspects, including how to sprout grains yourself and how to use them most efficiently.
What are sprouted grains?
Actually, a sprouted grain is a germinated seed. In other words, sprouted grains are simply whole-grain seeds that have just begun to sprout. At the initial stages of life, germinating seeds are most sensitive to harmful external influences (the threat of infection by pathogenic organisms living in the soil, water, and air pollution). It is compensated by a sharp increase in the amount of antioxidants in them. This helps the plant to survive, and we get a product, the health properties of which are invaluable. Thus, in sprouted grains, almost all nutrients and various antioxidants are present at higher concentrations, providing the base to consider sprouts as “functional foods.”
Sprouts contain everything we need and they are more nutritious than regular whole grains. They have chlorophyll necessary for immunity and hematopoiesis; enzymes that promote metabolism; fiber, which perfectly cleanses the body. Also, sprouted grains of wheat and other grains contribute to the rejuvenation of the body.
How to use sprouted grains?
The easiest way is to add sprouts to salads and other dishes.
What useful things can be obtained if you eat live food correctly? First of all, it is the improvement of the intestinal microflora. In the composition of sprouts, there is fiber, which is helpful for the gastrointestinal tract. It contributes to the easier assimilation of food and improves metabolism. Vitamins of youth E and C, which are also rich in the rudiments of plants, are powerful antioxidants that protect the cells of the body from the destructive effects of free radicals – the main culprits of premature aging, the appearance of age-related diseases. Vitamins, micro- and macronutrients in the sprouts are even more than in fresh greens from the bed! Just add sprouted grains to salads, soups, bread, and other dishes. You also can dehydrate them and grind them into flour for baking.
Moreover, you can find many sprouted-grain goods (flours, bread, buns, muffins, tortillas, crackers, and even pizza crust) at a farmers’ market or grocery store. But don’t assume the products are made of 100% sprouted grains. Sometimes there are just small amounts of sprouted grains in a product, so read the ingredients list or talk to the food maker who’s selling it. In other words, do a little homework before you buy sprouted-grain products.
Sprouted and full of flavor and nutrition, this vegan pate makes a delicious dip or spread. This dish is best made with sunflower seeds that have just begun to release their sprout tail.
- 4 cups sprouted sunflower seeds
- 2 lemons, juiced and zested
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
- ½ tsp. ground pepper
- 1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse until all ingredients are roughly chopped. Scrape down the sides and continue to blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the machine as needed.
- Scrape the pâté from the food processor and taste. Add additional salt as needed.
- Serve as a dip or a spread for raw lettuce, nori, or collard wraps.
Mixed sprout sabzi
- 30 g mixed sprouts
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- 1/4 tsp each of red chilli powder, cumin (jeera) powder, turmeric (haldi) powder, and dry mango (amchur) powder
- 1/2 tsp each of coriander (dhania) powder and garam masala powder
- 1 tsp oil
- 1-2 curry leaves
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves to garnish
- Water as required
- In a pressure cooker, add the oil, curry leaves, green chilli, and ginger-garlic paste and cook for a minute.
- Add the onion and cook till translucent.
- Add the tomato and cook for a few minutes. Then add the salt, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder and cook till the tomato releases its moisture.
- Add the mixed sprouts, coriander powder, cumin powder, and dry mango powder.
- Mix all the ingredients well and simmer on a medium flame for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add some water, cover the pressure cooker and let it cook for 6 to 7 whistles.
- Uncover the pressure cooker and add the garam masala powder.
- Open the cooker and let it cook without a lid until the water evaporates completely.
- Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.
- Moong sprouts – 1 cup, coarsely ground
- Spinach – ½ cup
- Grated carrot – ¼ cup
- Ginger and green chilli paste – 1 teaspoon
- Bengal gram flour – 1 tablespoon
- Asafoetida – a pinch
- Salt to taste
- Turmeric – a pinch
- Baking Soda – a pinch
- Oil- 1 teaspoon
- Mustard- ½ teaspoon
- Cumin- ½ teaspoon
- White sesame seeds- ¼ teaspoon
- Curry leaves- a few
- Mix the carrots, moong, ginger and chilli paste, and all the other dry ingredients.
- Make a coarse mixture. Sprinkle some water if required.
- Grease a flat pan with oil and spread the mix out evenly.
- Steam the mix in a steamer for 15 minutes.
- Remove and cut into cubes.
- Temper with sesame seeds, curry leaves, and cumin.
What do you need to consider when using sprouted grains?
Like any other food, sprouts can bring not only benefit but also harm. Not everyone can use them, and excessive enthusiasm can turn into a forced rest in a hospital bed.
Sprouts are strictly forbidden for people with stomach ulcers, acute gastritis, colitis, and enteritis. If you are allergic to gluten, do not introduce cereal sprouts (rye, wheat, barley, and oats) into the diet. The rudiments of milk thistle can not be eaten with stones in the gallbladder, and legumes – with kidney diseases and gout.
When the length of the sprouts exceeds 3 mm, they become potentially dangerous for people with certain chronic diseases (diabetes mellitus, oncological diseases). Since the starch in them begins to break down into sugar and other fast carbohydrates, their therapeutic diets do not allow it.
How to sprout grains yourself?
The choice of the grains for sprouting is mainly on how you plan to use them. Some seeds for germination can be bought at the grocery store – lentils, spelt, chickpeas, oats, wheat, and rye. Usually, there is a note “for germination” on the product label. Others can be purchased at the pharmacy – like flaxseed or bare oats. Exotic types of seeds will have to be hunted online – in eco-shops or specialized communities for vegetarians.
Do not buy the basis for future sprouts in hardware stores. Most of the seeds presented there are treated with chemicals to prevent spoilage by pests. But you can be poisoned not only by them but also by grain infected with mold, fungi, and bacteria.
I bought my grains from True Leaf Market which provides a multitude of high-quality seeds to residential and professional growers. They also sell sprouting kits and supplies.
The process of germinating grain is amazing magic created by nature. As the caterpillar turns into a butterfly, the grain, when germinating, turns into a real concentrate of healthy substances. In order to catch the sprouts at just the right moment in the growing process, whole-grain seeds are typically soaked and then nurtured in environments with controlled amounts of warmth and moisture. This can be done at home or at food manufacturing plants (with special equipment).
If you are really interested in maximum benefits from this “superfood,” it is better to use freshly sprouted grains. Ready-to-eat sprouts today can be bought in a hypermarket, but be careful when buying them. The warm and moist environment in which sprouts peck is ideal not only for them but also for many harmful bacteria, including salmonella. In addition, the giant overgrowths that are found in stores are not “more benefits for the same money,” but a minimum of nutritional reserves! There are practically no active substances left in them, so you will not enrich the menu with them.
Sprouted grains from credible sources (better if they are local) are definitely a better option if you are ready to spend money. If not – sprout them yourself!
Let’s make sprouts!
We tried three sprouting methods: in jars, in a tray, and in sprouting containers. I will provide a detailed guide and description in all cases.
Sprouting in a jar
For this method, we bought an assortment of 4 oz bags of sprouting seed mixes from True Leaf Market. It included Alfalfa, Bean Salad Mix, 3 Part Salad Mix, 5 Part Salad Mix, Mung Bean, Green Lentil, Clover, Buckwheat, Broccoli & Radish.
To sprout them I used the following guidance based on information I found online.
1. Rinse your raw grains under warm water (determine how much you want to sprout based on the size and amount of jars you will use).
We used 5 jars with about 1 cup of grains in each.
2. Place the grains into jars and cover them with water (2 to 3 inches above the grains).
3. Cover the jar with a gauze cloth bound by a rubber band or a sprouting lid so that the bugs don’t get in. Remember, we are fermenting grains here, and fermentation releases gasses that insects are very attracted to.
4. Allow the grains to soak for 24 hours in a dark spot (a cupboard or closet works perfectly).
5. The next day, drain the grains and rinse well. Some grains form a gelatinous goo around them that need to be rinsed more firmly.
6. After the grains are thoroughly rinsed and drained, place them back in the jar, making sure the grains are moist but not drenched or submerged in water.
7. Cover the jar again with a gauze cloth bound by a rubber band and lay the jar on its side in a dark spot.
8. Rinse the grains 2 times each day until they sprout. Remember to keep the jar covered and place it on its side between rinsings.
9. When grains sprout, give them a good rinse.
It took 3 days for our grains to sprout from start to finish (including soak time). Generally, sprouting time depends on temperature. Our home is typically kept around 70ºF. If you keep your home cooler, it may take 1 or 2 days longer.
10. Use sprouted grains right away or put them in a resealable container and refrigerate them. When left at room temperature, grains will continue to sprout, so you need to stop the fermentation by chilling them.
11. If you continue the sprouting process longer, tiny green leaves will begin to emerge – you can plant these in your garden if you have a green thumb!
12. When done, wash your jars firmly, and you are ready to start sprouting again.
Sprouting in a tray
This is an ancient method that I remember my grandmother was using to sprout grains for gardening.
1. Place multiple layers of gauze cloth in the tray to cover the bottom. Soak the cloth with water.
2. Place one layer of the grains on the wet cloth.
3. Cover the grains with a multilayered gauze cloth soaked with water.
4. Place in a warm place away from direct sunlight.
5. Keep glaze cloth wet (but not overwatered) until grains sprout.
Sprouting in a kit
I bought the sprouting kit from True Leaf Market, which came with detailed instructions. This method is shown to be the easiest and most efficient. It takes only 2 days to sprout grains and seeds. Definitely, it is our choice to go forward.
What is next?
New revival recipes will be added periodically. Be sure to check back!
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