The title will either inspire you or make you curl and turn in disgust. If you are the latter, bear with me because not so long ago I felt the same way about sprouts in any shape or form, but a while back I was chatting about them with our playgroup leader who is a wealth of knowledge on the subject and she suggested trying lentils as the flavour is milder than some other sprouts, almost nutty. I felt compelled to give home sprouting a go. Well I was a convert and the whole process is so ridiculously easy, you don’t need a green thumb or even the vaguest idea about gardening you just need something to sprout (in this case puy lentils), a vessel in which to sprout in (glass jar, bowl, tray, plate etc.), some water and a dark place to keep your little babies while they are germinating.
So why sprout lentils?
- Soaking and sprouting legumes helps to break down two of the anti-nutrients known as phytic acid and raffinose. Phytic acid inhibits the absorption of certain minerals such as iron and calcium while raffinose is responsible for the gassy build up you can experience after eating legumes.
- Lentil sprouts are packed full of protein and fibre
- Vitamin and mineral contents increase during the germination and spouting process
- It is a really cheap source of fresh, healthy produce
- Tastes great
- Locally grown and chemical free!
You can buy bags of seeds specifically designed for sprouting but with legumes a trip to your local whole-food store is all it takes. The next thing you need to consider is what you want to sprout in. I use a ball/mason jar with a sprouting lid. You can pick them up in some health food shops or I got mine from Kings Seeds for a few dollars. If you want to give it a go but don’t have a sprouting lid, try using a jar with some muslin or cheesecloth stretched over the top and fixed in place with a rubber band.
Start by measuring out a small amount of lentils, for my 500ml jar I like to use roughly a quarter cup. Wash the lentils and pick them over, removing any stones or damaged lentils. Then fill the jar with water and leave to soak for 8 hours or overnight.
In the morning drain the jar then remove the lid and carefully rinse the lentils. Invert the jar and leave in a dark place, a pantry or kitchen cupboard is ideal.
Repeat the process until you have the have the desired length of sprout. I like to rinse them 2 to 3 times daily to keep the lentils fresh and prevent them from drying out. The image below shows the sprouts at 0, 24, 48 and 72 hours after soaking.
What else can you sprout? There are so many options available to you and with a handful of the following you can produce bowlfuls of nutritious sprouts:
Alfalfa, Brown lentil, Chia, Chickpea, Mung bean, Pea, Pumpkin, Quinoa, Radish, Sunflower to name but a few. Each require soaking some longer than others and the germination period will vary too.
What to do with your spouts…
- Toss into your favourite salads
- As a topping on a dal or soup
- Baked into quiches or frittatas
- Add into stir-fries
- They are delicious in sandwiches or on top of burgers
- Or simply on their own as a snack
Puy Lentil Sprouts
Prep time: 4 x 1 minute, no cook time!
costs: $0.30, Yield: 2-3 cupfuls
- 1/4 cup puy lentils
Equipment: 1x 500ml Ball Jar with sprouting lid (the sprouting lids also fit the larger 1.5litre Quattro jars) or a large jam jar/pickle jar and a square of muslin fixed over the opening with a rubber band.
- Measure 1/4 cup of lentils, rinse and pick over removing any stones or damaged lentils.
- Pour the lentils into your jar and top with cold water. Leave to soak for 8 hours or over night.
- In the morning carefully rinse the lentils again, drain them then invert the jar, leaving it in a dark place like a kitchen cupboard.
- Repeat the rinsing and draining 2-3 times daily until the sprouts reach the desired length. With puy lentils I like to leave them until they are 2-3cm/1″ long and you can see the first leaves starting to form, this should take 3-4 days.
- When you are happy with your sprouts place them in an airtight container in the fridge and they will be good for up to a week.