Sprouting grains is probably the cooking tip with the highest effort/reward ratio.
Sprouting may sound like sky-rocket science, but it’s a straightforward process.
You may have sprouted a bean as mid-school homework to unveil how mother nature works in front of you.
It’s nice to see how life emerges in front of you, provided the right conditions. The beauty lies in the fact that these conditions are elementary: humidity and sunshine.
Sprouting pays off. Whatever grain you choose to sprout will reward you with:
- an increased amount of nutrients
- a change in flavor
- a different texture
- an evolved version of an available kitchen ingredient.
The germination process triggers a release of stored nutrients that the young shoot requires, making the sprouts more nutritious than the seeds. The germination process also reduces the concentration of trypsin, an enzyme found in the dry seeds that inhibits the seeds’ bioavailability. Once this inhibitor is broken down, the nutrients from the grains can be absorbed by the digestive system.
- Increased protein content: During the germination process, the protein nutrients are made readily available, making it easier to digest and absorb.
- Higher Fiber Content: leading to improved gut function, thus helping the rest of the body’s overall health.
- Cholesterol Control: since lentil sprouts contain folate, they prevent the early onset of artery damage, which contributes to heart disease as well as increased risks of developing a stroke
- They contain Polyphenols, health-promoting phytochemicals with a robust antioxidant effect, and an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effect on the nervous system.
- Increased Minerals Uptake: by expanding mineral content such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc, it boosts the over 300 biochemical reactions in your body, such as forming hemoglobin and supporting the immune system.
I understood when I read it once in a very simplistic way.
A seed can create life and create a whole new plant or tree; it is like an egg. When you sprout them, you are unlocking this potential and making it readily available to be more easily absorbed by your body.
Change in Flavor
The flavor of sprouted grains is significantly different than their seeds predecessors.
I like having more ingredients and options in my kitchen. For example, the salads and soups that I make with sprouted lentils are different from those I make with lentils.
I enjoy a lot adding different textures to my dishes. I like finding something crunchy when it is not expected or something silky in the middle of a crispy bite.
Sprouts usually add either a crunchy texture when eating them raw or a silky one when cooked for a couple of minutes.
The varieties found in food textures are a great resource when you want to get creative in the kitchen or give a twist to create a new dish.
In the end, you end up creating an evolved version of an available kitchen ingredient, one with a different flavor, texture, and an increased nutritional value.
What to sprout
You can sprout lentils, beans, soybeans, chickpeas.
Different seeds will need less or more time to sprout. So, lentils need less time than chickpeas.
Sprouting: how to?
- In a flat pan, let 200 gr of lentils soak in water for 1-3 days, watering them until no more water is absorbed; let them close to a window where they can catch the sunshine.
- After they have doubled their size, keep adding a little water to hold some moisture and stir them.
- When you start seeing the sprouts, they are ready (feel free to leave them another day for them to become even softer).
You can consume them as they are in salads, cook them for not more than 3 minutes or store them in the fridge. You can keep freshly harvested lentil sprouts in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The cold temperature within the fridge prevents bacteria’s growth, which would otherwise decompose the stored lentil sprouts.
Use your sprouted lentils!
Want to know more about sprouting. Check this link.