sprouting for smarties

June 15, 2009


The incredibly popular for Dummies books each start from the assumption that the reader knows absolutely nothing about the topic at hand.  This post – and Green Appetite in general – is founded on the belief that you already know everything you need to when it comes to your health and wellbeing.  My job is only to help you awaken what’s already within.

As I mentioned in my green smoothies post, children come into the world naturally craving what’s good for them and rejecting what’s not.  I was reminded of that today during my visit to Mummies’ Morning at Whole Foods.  One of the mothers was telling me how her toddler begged for a piece of birthday cake at a party only to have a tiny nibble.  Yet give her some fruit, and she can’t seem to get enough.

This morning I introduced the mothers to what’s probably the simplest seed to sprout: buckwheat.  Packed with protein and full of fiber, buckwheat goes from dry seed to living sprout in just 24 hours.  When shopping for buckwheat, make sure you get the unroasted kind.  You can tell just by the color: it’s green, of course.  Roasted buckwheat is brown and will never sprout no matter how long you soak it.  It is, effectively, dead.  Here again, the power of living enzymes.

Unlike many other seeds for sprouting, buckwheat only needs to be soaked for 20 minutes to one hour; any more than that and it’ll get waterlogged.  The picture above is actually of sprouted wheat berries, which take a little longer to soak and sprout but have a wonderful slightly sweet flavor that goes very well with the strawberries currently in season.  In addition, people who can’t tolerate wheat in things like bread or pasta may find that sprouted wheat agrees with them just fine.

So, how do you actually grow these perfect little bundles of living goodness?  Very, very easily.  Forget any fancy sprouting equipment, especially glass jars.  For years I had been trying to figure out why I couldn’t sprout anything in a jar without it becoming moldy.  I actually gave up, thinking myself a sprouting failure.  That was until I attended a lecture by Sproutman – yes, you read right.  Sproutman, topped by his sprout-studded beanie, uttered what I had always intuitively known: sprouts need air!  And glass is simply not designed to circulate it.

That’s when I devised my own little sprouting experiment fashioned from two cheap things I already owned: a mixing bowl and a fine-mesh sieve that fits over it.  That’s all you need.  While every seed, bean or grain for sprouting has its own soak and sprout time, the basic method is the same:

1. Soak seed in filtered water in the bowl
2. Drain in sieve
3. Rinse twice daily

That’s all there is to it.  Oh yeah, I also place a paper towel over the top between rinses to keep anything airborne out.  As for soaking and sprouting times, I know of no better resource than Sproutpeople.  These people seriously know their sprouts, and they make it a lot of fun, too.  Definitely one to bookmark.

Oh, and sprouts go a loooong way both in bulk and bargain.  Once you get the hang of it – which will be very quick – you’ll want to sprout more than one thing at once.  For instance, I normally have wheat, rye or buckwheat going as a base for things like Divine Muesli as well as a sprout salad mix to toss in savory recipes like Lazy Sushi.  For the salad mix I like to use Sproutman’s hemp sproutbag, just because it stays out of the way hanging from a kitchen cabinet.  But my trusty mixing bowl and sieve formula would work just the same: fresh, crunchy, mold-free wholesomeness every time.

A word of warning:  once you start sprouting, you’ll never stop.

p.s. Have a sprouting secret or question?  Let me know!

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  1. Jess August 18, 2009 at 15:15

    :) looking forward to tasting the results!

  2. Brian Heess August 18, 2009 at 01:46

    That sounds simple enough and I trust you, so I will try it!


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