Sprouting might seem like a new health trend to some, but, in fact, this traditional technique has been practised for centuries. The simple preparation begins by soaking the ingredient – whether it be grains, legumes or seeds – in water to break down the outer shell. The ingredient is then drained, rinsed, and kept moist in a jar to encourage growth. This basic process helps to break down the starch, allowing the ingredient to release more nutrients, making it more easily digestible.
Simple as can be, the method of sprouting doesn’t require any fancy equipment and gives you quick gratification as the process typically only takes a few days. You’ll also love how these soft and chewy sprouted morsels can add intriguing texture and taste to salads, baked goods, warming stews and more.
To keep things easy, I’ve called the ingredient in these instructions ‘grains’, however, you can apply the same method to sprout most types of legumes and seeds that are raw, including quinoa, spelt and buckwheat.
Here's how to sprout at home:
Place the grains in a sieve or colander, rinse well and drain. Next, place the grains in a glass jar, bearing in mind that they will increase in volume (usually 3–4 times the original amount). Cover with filtered water by 5–6cm, place a sprouting lid or double layer of muslin on top, then secure with a rubber band.
Allow soaking for 24 hours. Transfer the grains into a sieve or colander, rinse and drain well. Place the grains back into the jar, cover with the muslin, and place somewhere out of direct sunlight. Once every day, pour water into the jar and swirl it to evenly rinse all the grains.
Drain the grains in a sieve and rinse, and then transfer them back into the jar. Repeat this process for 2–5 days. You will know when they are ready as they’ll have little tails popping out.
Once they have sprouted to your desired length, rinse and drain the sprouted grains, then place them in a container lined with a paper towel, and store them in the fridge for up to a week or so. If they start to smell funny or look slimy, discard them.