By Cynthia Roveda, RHN
Sprouting is the germination of edible seeds and beans to be eaten raw or cooked. It is the process of greatest vitality in the life cycle of a plant and this vitality is ingested in the body when a person eats sprouts consistently. Sprouts are rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins and phytochemicals and have a cooling and cleansing effect on the body.
During the sprouting process, vitamin and enzyme content increases, hence, predigesting the nutrients of the seed, making it easier to assimilate and metabolize. This explains why common allergies to whole grains, edible seeds and beans\legumes, do not cause allergies when sprouted. During sprouting, the process permits the sprouts’ fats and proteins into readily available digestive forms which compensates for the incomplete digestion characteristic of degenerative disease. Large grain and legume sprouts such as aduki, lentil, corn, green peas, soy, garbanzo and wheat can be lightly steamed and remain vital and energizing.
All beans/legumes can be used for sprouting. However, they should be consumed in small amounts since beans/legumes have a high protein content and for some people do not digest easily. Mung and adzuki beans, as well as their sprouts, are the most easily digested.
Sprouts generate flow in a stagnant liver. A stagnant liver can generate symptoms such as swellings, mental depression, frustration and swollen abdomen. Sprouts are also rich in nitrolosides – chemicals that selectively destroy cancer cells. During the cold seasons, sprouts are an excellent source of fresh vegetables.
Some diets, such as the macrobiotic diet, classify sprouting as “…strongly yin helping detoxify the body and beneficial as part of a balance diet for yang conditions. However, they may be counterproductive and produce harmful effects for yin conditions and diseases.
A small, modest amount of sprouts, such as wheatgrass, falls within guidelines of standard macrobiotic way of eating.”
(Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods)
Edible seeds, like raw sunflower, sesame and pumpkin, can be sprouted after soaking. To sprout edible seeds you can use a special sprouting jar (which can be purchase online store or from health food stores) or use a large mouth mason jar. They are inexpensive and can be sterilised and reused.
Easy at-home sprouting
1. Place soaked and rinsed seeds in the sprouting jar and cover with a small screen or cheese cloth.
2. Lay your jar down on an angle on a sunny windowsill or kitchen bench to allow the excess water to drain, and leave to sit in the light.
3. Every eight hours or so, thoroughly rinse the contents of the jar by filling it with water, and then draining it. Be gentle to not harm the sprouts.
4. Repeat this process every eight hours making sure you get all of the water out each time by laying the jar at an angle.
5. Keep the jar in the sunlight when seeds start to sprout, continue the process until fully sprouted.
6. Do a final very thorough rinse by rinsing and draining a few times and then allow the sprouts to dry thoroughly. If they are not completely dry they will spoil.
7. Once completely dry to the touch, store sprouts in the fridge for use. Most sprouts will keep in the fridge for two to three days.
Cynthia Roveda is a Sturgeon Falls-based Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She can be reached at email@example.com