April 5, 2010

Lentil Sprouts

If you've read some of my recent posts, you probably already know that I've been on a Gluten Free Veggie Sandwich mission. Having eaten the most delicious sandwich at NYC's Friedman's Lunch, I've become obsessed with recreating it for a quick, healthy & affordable meal. So I baked some gluten free bread, whipped together delicious Meyer Lemon Hummus, and set out to the grocery store to pick up carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados and lettuce. But the final ingredient I needed was sprouts. I know I could easily buy some sprouts in the store but I just find it much more rewarding to grow my own. And since I found a bag of lentils in my pantry, lentil sprouts it would be.

Why eat sprouts? Because as seeds sprout, their protein, enzymes vitamins and other nutrients increase and become more bioavailable and more digestible. And since the seeds are so inexpensive, they are an incredibly affordable source of nutrients.

Sprouting is so easy! I've sprouted buckwheat, lentils, mung and adzuki beans in the past, all in my tiny little NYC kitchen. The only supplies I need are the seeds, water, cheesecloth and a mason canning jar. Here are the steps I took to sprout these adorable edible nutrient powerhouses. I started with 1/2 cup of dried lentils and ended up with 2 cups of sprouts.

1. Rinse 1/2 cup of lentils well
2. Place the rinsed lentils in a large mason jar (mine was 1 quart) and cover with 2 cups of water.
3. Cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to cover the mouth of the jar, place over the mouth & secure using the outer ring of the jar lid.
4. Let the lentils soak for about 12 hours or over night. You'll notice that the lentils will swell in size
5. Once soaked, turn the jar upside down over your sink to drain. Then refill the jar with water, shake to rinse, and again empty into your sink. I don't bother taking the lid off at all during this process. I simply let the water drain out through the cheesecloth.
6. Find a place in your kitchen, or any other spot where you'd like to grow your sprouts, that you can let your jar rest upside down but slightly tilted. Please note that draining will continue so make sure you put your jar in a place you don't mind getting wet. As you can see, I place on my stove.
7. Every few hours, you'll want to refill the jar with water, shake around a bit, and then drain. Again, place it upside down in your spot. I did this about 3 times a day: when I woke up in the morning before work, when I got home from work, and before I went to sleep.
It took me 3 days to grow my cute little sprouts. Once they are ready, drain them well & store them in the refrigerator. I've been enjoying them in salads and using them on sandwiches for great flavor and crunch.

Next on my list are chickpeas and buckwheat!

For more information on sprouting, check out the Living-Foods or Primal Seeds websites. So, what do you think? Will you try it?


6 comments :

  1. WOW! I like this! I need to do this and your pictures and commentary help me out!

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  2. Yay! These look awesome. Love the pics too. Been wanting to make my own for a while now. I'm putting cheesecloth on my list and then coming back to this post for instructions. Thank you.

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  3. okay now I need to do this! Where do I get cheesecloth? That's probably a silly question, but I still need to know ;) thanks for posting!!

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  4. My pleasure!

    Nicole, I think you can find cheesecloth at any grocery, drugstore, hardware store or definitely bed bath and beyond. Let me know how it works for you!

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  5. What a WONDERFUL idea! We are limiting our meats to strictly organic and only 2-3 times a week so I'm looking for new things to try to spice up our meals - Thank you!

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  6. Erica I wanted to tell you that I'm finally doing this! They soaked last night and now I'm doing the rinse and drain thing. Your pics and instructions totally help me! Thank you.

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