Jun 11, 2013

Sprout It Out Loud!

Sprouting is easy and the results are fabulous. Sprouts are a healthy and tasty addition to any numbers of recipes. From breads to salads to patties to soups to you name it. The equipment is minimal and you probably already have everything sitting in your cupboards. The process is simple and, with the exception of a twice-a-day rinse, the beans/legumes/seeds pretty much sprout themselves.

My set up was simple. A quart-sized mason jar, a rubber band, a piece of cheese cloth, a colander and a plate.
I chose lentils for my first sprouting experience but I could have chosen beans, seeds, even grains. I had no final recipe in mind, I just wanted to try sprouting something. I started small with a 1/2 cup of dried brown lentils. This would yield about 3 cups of sprouts.
To start, soak the 1/2 cup of lentils in 2 cups of water overnight. Just let them sit. I covered the jar to keep out dust. The next day I drained, rinsed, and drained the lentils, covered the jar with cheesecloth and fastened the cloth with a rubber band. Two layers of cheesecloth were plenty. I tipped the jar on an angle inside the colander and set the colander on a plate. I set this whole operation way back on the kitchen counter under the cupboards. It's dark back there (they don't like light) and it was out of the way.
Twice a day I removed the cheesecloth, rinsed the lentils, re-attached the cheesecloth and drained out as much water as I could before placing the jar back in the colander. Again, the jar is placed on an angle not just completely upside down in the colander. You don't want the lentils all bunched up on themselves. Let them line the side of the jar, give them a little space. Sometimes I would give the jar a tumble if I happened to be walking by the jar.

In a couple of days the lentils sprouted. In 3-4 days there was obvious sproutage (my own word). You can eat the lentils the moment they sprout but I wanted at least a half inch of sprout to crunch on. You can also let them grow really long if you like.

The sprouts in the photo above were tender yet crunchy. They have an obvious sprout taste and crunchiness but a really delicate and subtle lentil taste too. Keep this in mind when using them as the centerpiece in a recipe. For example, I used these to make a lentil sprout salad (recipe to follow in a couple of days). You can also cook them into dishes. But the full benefit of the sprouts comes from eating them fresh and uncooked.

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