April 14, 2008
My garden grows a little differently than most. For starters, um, no dirt. I like that. It's a garden of lentils, chickpeas, wheat berries, maybe some sunflower seeds. Pretty good for an apartment, right?
I'm talking about sprouts. You've had 'em. Beansprouts? Maybe alfalfa sprouts on a salad or in a wrap? Did you know you can grow your own? And you don't need a fancy sprouter from the natural food store, or sprouting bags, or any equipment at all. You need a bowl. Got that? Good. Let's go.
So why would anyone want to grow little tails out of perfectly good beans or grains? It's really about the nutritional value and digestibility of these things. When sprouted, live enzymes activate and provide your body with a true superfood. So that's pretty cool. But what I've found out is that sprouting makes really yummy things to eat and it's kind of fun. I sprouted some lentils (which I don't generally like that much) but when sprouted they actually became sweet and tender. It's almost like a hard, dry grain or bean 'cooks' itself. You can just pop 'em in your mouth. Or put them on salad. Or mix them with other veggies or hummus.
There's lots of info on the web about sprouting, just google it and you'll get tons of advice. The reason you can sprout these things is because they are alive. When you cook them, the enzymes die. But water them and they grow. Simple! Now there are a few things you should NOT sprout because they'll be toxic, like kidney beans. Don't do those. Some safe bets aside from those mentioned above: adzuki beans, almonds, amaranth, navy beans, pinto beans, lima beans, flax seed, kamut, oats, sesame, soybeans, and spelt.
Very basic directions: Soak the grain or bean overnight, then drain. Leave 'em in the bowl. Twice or three times a day, rinse them. Within a few days they'll sprout, and you will be an awesome sprout grower.