The Joy of Sprouting
During times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to eat nutritiously to maintain physical and emotional health.
And — truth be told — we’ve got some time to experiment and try new things!
Several months ago we figured out how to do sprouts that are inexpensive, delicious and uber-nutritious.
Now we eat them every day!
We love the flavor, the crunch, the fiber and use them every morning in our veggie smoothie. (I’ll include the recipe for that next week.)
While you can use all kinds of legumes for sprouting (and find plenty of info for that) plain old green lentils do the trick for us. They’re affordable, fast-growing and easy.
They’re also super-tasty on top of salads, in wraps and sub sandwiches, mixed into hummus with some finely chopped onion for a chunky dip for carrots and celery sticks. Another favorite is for a thick layer of sprouts with almond nut butter on whole wheat bread! Now that’s a delicious, filling sandwich!
Here’s Lentils and Lentil Sprouting 101:
We’ve always known that lentils are plant protein superstars! Lentils are high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, while being low in fat and calories. They are also sources of other key minerals and nutrients including potassium, folate, iron, and manganese. While cooked lentils are a nutritional powerhouse, raw sprouts are even healthier for you.
The sprouting process boosts lentils’ phenolic content by a whopping 122%. Phenolic compounds are a group of antioxidant plant compounds that may provide anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergenic properties.
Due to their increased antioxidant capacity, lentil sprouts may reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol high levels of which may increase your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity
One 8-week study in 39 people with type 2 diabetes revealed that eating 3/4 cup (60 grams) of lentil sprouts daily reduced triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, compared with the control group.
But you might have noticed that sprouts of all kinds are pretty pricy at the grocery store. Good news! The lowly green lentil, purchased in a bag, is so easy to sprout!
Directions: Start with about a 1/2 cup of the dried lentils.
- Place the lentils in the mason jar. Cover the jars mouth with the screen then screw on the ring leaving the lid off and anchoring the mesh. Place the jar under a stream of cool running water and rinse for a minute or two. Fill the jar with water and rest overnight as the dried seeds absorb water and rehydrate.
- In the morning drain the jar thoroughly and rinse the lentils with lots of water once again, but this time drain the works thoroughly and rest the mason jar on its side. You may not see it yet, but the lentils are starting to grow!
- Twice a day rinse and drain the lentils, taking care not to leave them sitting in water. After just a day or so they will start to sprout! The whole process works best if the sprouts are not in direct sunlight, which tends to dry them out too much.
- Continue rinsing and draining the lentils twice a day until the sprouts are about ½ inch long with small green leaves forming on the ends, about three to four days. When the sprouts are beautiful, remove the screen and replace the lid on the jar and store them in the fridge.
They will keep for about a week, but that is no guarantee you won’t have eaten them long before then! We figured out quickly that we needed to have 2-3 jars going at the different stages to not run out.