Interested in growing sprouts in your own kitchen? It’s easy.
“Your mom put sprouts on your sandwich didn’t she?”
I was commiserating with a friend over our hippy-ish upbringings. It’s true. There’s no way any elementary school goer would ever have traded their sandwich for mine, but although I may have been traumatized by the minor social implications at the time, I’m sure glad my mother wasn’t stuffing my lunch bags full of bologna and potato chips. Thanks, mom.
Yes, there were sprouts in my sandwiches, and I grew to love them.
Although alfalfa sprouts are an easier addition to sandwiches, my preferred germinated seeds are lentil sprouts. Crunchy and light, they’re the perfect addition to summer salads and cultivating them doesn’t take more than a good jar and some water. Especially if you’re a city dweller and are feeling pangs of withdrawal from not having a garden, growing sprouts is an easy way to get some good cultivation action in your kitchen.
You can grow sprouts from a variety of beans and seeds, but the easiest are lentil and alfalfa. You can even make them from chickpeas. Keep in mind that just like with many other raw foods, there have been cases of food-borne illnesses resulting from eating contaminated sprouts. Be sure to take the regular precautions: use clean seeds and a clean container and wash your hands every time before you handle the sprouts.
How to grow your own lentil sprouts:
1. Rinse the lentils.
2. Take one cup of lentils, place in a large bowl and let them soak overnight (8-12 hours).
3. Strain the excess water, rinse off the lentils and transfer to a glass jar (something along the lines of a mason jar). You want to fill the jar about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way full. The lentils will expand as they sprout and this gives them enough room.
4. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and cinch it down with a rubber band.
5. For the next few days you will want to rinse the lentils once a day and then drain. You can prop the jar upside down in your dish drying rack to facilitate this process. The important thing is to make sure that the water gets out so that you don’t have any at the bottom of the jar – a little pool of water will lead to a lot of slime, and neither you or your lentils want that.
6. Do the rinse/drain process once a day for about 2 to 5 days, or until the sprout tails grow to the length you want them. You’ll see that even after 24 hours the lentils will split open.
7. Rinse again, drain – make sure to get all residual water out – and place them in an airtight container lined with a paper towel. Seal and refrigerate. You can store them this way for up to about a week.
Eat on their own, throw in a salad, or garnish a soup.