For the longest time I was intimidated by the idea of sprouting. I bought bean sprouts and broccoli sprouts in the store, but never tried my hand at it at home. It turns out it is actually very easy, frugal and has loads of nutritional benefits.
The thing I sprout the most are the legumes that we normally eat – pintos, black beans, lentils, and garbanzo beans. So today I will share with you my experience with sprouting beans. Grains and seeds are also more nourishing when sprouted.
You can sprout, dehydrate and grind grains for baking. You can also purchase flour from sprouted grains. In fact you can find sprouted grain flours here.
Sprout broccoli, radish, fenugreek and other seeds for salads, sandwiches and snacks. They are also super nutritious.
Benefits of Sprouting
From my own experience and some research these are the benefits of sprouting:
- Easier digestibility. Beans are known for their gas-causing effects, but when we sprout our beans before cooking they seem to digest much easier without the *ahem* side effects. One exception thus far is pinto beans, which I need to do some more experimenting with.
- Increased vitamins & minerals. This link has an interesting chart (you’ll have to scroll down) comparing the nutrients in dried mung beans with their sprouts.
- Increased protein content. The same link above sights a 30% increase in protein availability from dried to sprouted mung beans. It is my understanding that all legumes have an increased protein availability when sprouted.
- Decreased carbohydrate content. This is important for anyone who struggles with blood sugar issues. The added protein and decreased carbohydrates are helpful in maintaining consistent energy.
Plus it takes very little time – a couple of minutes per day maybe.
How To Sprout Beans
The equipment needed for sprouting anything is pretty basic. I use quart jars and these sprout screens with canning rings.
- I first soak them for 8-12 hours in about 3-4 times as much water.
- Then I drain them off and rinse and drain them again.
- I then tilt them upside down at an angle so that the water can drain off until the next rinsing. I just use a wide soup bowl with a 1-2 inch rim.
- Every 8-12 hours I rinse and drain them again. Because of the 8-12 hour rule I like to start them either in the morning or evening, to ensure that I am awake when they need to be tended to.
- Then I simply wait for the sprouts to appear, continuing to rinse every 8-12 hours. Generally I don’t let them sprout beyond 1/4 inch.
- Once they have sprouted, allow them to finish draining and store them in the refrigerator up to a week.
If you’re looking for more specific directions for each legume this is a great resource.
Cooking with Sprouted Beans
You almost always want to cook your sprouted beans instead of eating them raw. I have yet to find much of a difference in flavor between sprouted and unsprouted beans. In fact I almost always use sprouted beans when a recipe calls for regular cooked or canned beans.
Here are a few recipes that I like to use sprouted beans in:
- Bean bowls.
- Sprouted Garbanzo Burgers. To make these grain free I sub almond flour for the breadcrumbs.
- Lentil Salad.
- Chili. I use sprouted pintos, black beans or lentils for a tomato-based chili.
- Green Chicken Chili. A great alternative to the tomato-based chili. Simply use sprouted white beans instead of unsprouted.
What about you… do you sprout? Have you discovered the health benefits? Have any great recipes to share with us?
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