03 Jun 2010

Sprouting

Sprouting is a huge subject and I shall cover each stage in future posts. For today I will give just a brief overview. Sprouts are probably one of the most important foods to have on hand when beginning to change to a raw food lifestyle. Sprouts contain minerals, vitamins, protein and fatty acids. They are also rich in fibre and very economical. Most sprouts are safe to eat raw and they can be added to virtually any dish.

I have owned a sprouter for years but until recently I only used it once or twice a month. Now it is in full time use. There are many types of sprouters available on the market, even automatic sprouters. Those on a tight budget can easily make a simple sprouter by using a large glass jar with fine mesh over the opening secured with an elastic band for small seeds or it's metal lid punched with holes for sprouting larger seeds.

The variety of sprouting seeds available is almost endless. Alliums like onions, brassicas like broccoli and cabbage, leafy like alfalfa and beet, nuts, seeds like sunflower and pumpkin, pulses like lentils, adzuki, green peas and mung beans, spices like fenugreek and poppyseed, and last but not least grains like wheat and popcorn. These seeds must not be the planting variety which have been sprayed with poisons to deter insects eating them in the soil. They should be purchased from a wholefoods or health store. Preferably organic. Store the seeds in bug-proof containers, away from extreme heat and cold.

NOTE: Large beans like black, fava, kidney, lima, navy, pinto and yellow peas are not suitable to be eaten raw. Never sprout sorghum as it has toxic levels of cyanide in it's seed coat.

Soaking the seeds before placing them in the sprouter is very necessary. Soaking releases the enzyme inhibitors which then allow the seeds to germinate and sprout. Most seeds need around 6 hours soaking time but pulses (beans) take around 12 hours. Once soaked, rise well, place in sprouter and drain well. Draining well is necessary after each watering so as to prevent the seeds rotting. In hot weather rinse and drain the seeds 3 to 5 times a day, and in cold weather once or twice should be sufficient. Place the sprouter in a warm area but not in a sunny area while the sprouts growing.

Harvesting the sprouts depends on the variety. Beans and grains take a couple of days where as the brassicas and leafy sprouts take from 3 to 5 days. Leafy and brassica sprouts can be placed in the sun for around 15 minutes before harvesting to allow their chlorephyl to develop. Sprouts can be stores in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. The quicker they are eaten the more nutritious the sprouts.

Sprouts can be added to salads, blended to make sandwich spreads and dips, and to make breads like Essene bread, baked in the sun or in your dehydrator. Have fun with your sprouts finding new ways to use them.

Useful links:
Kitchen Garden (South Africa) - Sprouters and nice variety of sprouting seeds.
The Sprout People - Lots of great info and videos.

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Sprouted Hummus
From the In The Raw blog. Lots of other great sprout recipes there as well.

1 cup mixed crunchy sprouts (like a mix of green pea, red lentil, chickpea, and adzuki bean sprouts)
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Guacamole with Broccoli Sprouts
Presented by Chef-Owner Pepa Concannon Don Juan's Restaurant

4 avocados
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
1 cup broccoli sprouts, divided in half
1/2 tsp salt

Cut avocados in half, remove pit and take out the pulp. Mash with fork. Mix in the onion, cilantro, pepper and 1/2 the broccoli sprouts. Put on the platter with broccoli florets and corn chips all around. Put the remaining broccoli sprouts on top.

Tomato Tubs

3 large tomatoes
1 1/2 cups alfalfa sprouts
2 tbsps chopped green onions
1 avacado chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp salad oil
dash cayenne
salt
lettuce

Wash and stem tomatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp and place in a blender. Add onions, avacado, lemon juice, salt, oil, and cayenne. Blend 10 seconds, pour into a bowl and fold in alfalfa sprouts. On individual salad plates, place each tomato half on a bed of lettuce. Fill tomato halves with alfalfa mixture and garnish with a sprinkle of alfalfa sprouts.

Wheat Essene Bread with Raisins and Dates
Recipe adapted by Elysa Markowitz

2 cups sprouted wheat berries (with little tails - less than 1/4 inch long)
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup soaked raisins

Stir all ingredients together. Put the mixture through the Green Power machine using the blank screen and without the outlet adjusting knob (homogenizing). For the Champion you would also use the blank screen (homogenizing). Form into loaves (not more than 1-1/2 inches thick) and dehydrate 6-16 hours. We usually form it into 2 small loaves. The resulting bread is crunchy on outside, moist on inside and sweet. We use a Harvest Savor dehydrator from Vita-Mix - results have been great - it doesn't have a temp control and I don't remember what the max temp is - less than 108 though - it feels barely warm to the touch even after it's been on for 2 days. Also dehydrated in the sun with great results.

2 comments:

Farty Girl said...

Thank you for the word about sorghum. A gluten free friend and I are starting on an expedition to make gluten free wheaties cereal - and I was planning on sprouting buckwheat, sorghum, and teff to start. Ooops. That would've been bad. Thank you! :)

Elle said...

Do you really think a sprouter is worth it? I have tried to sprout several times, but I can never seem to have success.