Why sprout? The process of sprouting or germination significantly increases the number of vitamins and nutrients not present in the un-sprouted forms. Sprouts have the highest bioavailability of nutrients, they become a powerhouse for the growing seedling!
When you eat sprouts, it's like you are eating the whole plant! The positive changes within the seeds lead to the break down of anti-nutrients such as phytate and protease inhibitors, increasing the bioavailability of nutrients in it. There are many wonderful excuses to eat more sprouts!
Mung dal sprouts are low in calories, have fiber and vitamin B, vitamins C and K content; that's the reason it qualifies for a super-healthy food!
Enrich your meals with sprouting on regular basis, there are so many ways you could use sprouts-
yogurt or dahi balla topping
as a side
in place of fried snacks/namkeen
mixed with the nuts
topped with chutneys
...and many more!
Do you need special seeds for sprouting?
Yes, you do! I've tried it with just any bag of lentils from the grocery store, it didn't sprout the way it should. The reason is that beans are regularly irradiated to stop sprouting before they hit our grocery store shelves. So, I'd recommend you buy labeled 'for sprouting' only. My favorite brand is Todd's seeds on amazon
What about the safety concerns of raw sprouts?
Even though most of us eat these raw, for food safety reasons, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that eating raw or lightly cooked sprouts may lead to food poisoning from harmful bacteria. Thoroughly cooking sprouts kills harmful germs and reduces the chance of food poisoning
Why keep away from sprouting kidney beans?
The only bean to steer clear from is sprouting is the kidney beans. These contain toxins if eaten in any raw form and cause illness.
If you are just starting out, what special tool do you need?
Places of less humidity like where I live like MN, jar-method works great. But places of more humidity, sprouting tray works better (to avoid the mold). I use:
a quart size or half-gallon sized mason jar
a sprouting lid OR cheesecloth and an elastic band
organic sprouting seeds – you would need the one which is specifically labeled “sprouting seeds”
Let's start the sprouting process:
Step1: With clean hands, rinse the lentils twice to remove any dirt. I have 1 cup of raw lentils here.
Step2: SOAK in 3 cups water, for around 12 hrs, at room temperature. It'll double in volume.
Step3: SECURE it with a breathable cloth, like cheesecloth and an elastic band. Next, warm oven for 2 minutes at 350F, keep light bulb on and let it sprout for 12 hrs, at 45-degree angle so it drains well. Tip: During this 24 period, I do change the water in the jar 2-3 times, through the cloth without removing the secured cheesecloth (beans need enough moisture to germinate). This is called IRRIGATION just like you would water the new seedlings.
Step4: You should see sprouting by the end of this 24 hr time period. It's ready to HARVEST.
Step5: Storage: When it's done sprouting, rinse thoroughly in cool, filtered water. Pat dry well before storing in a covered container in the fridge for up to 5-6 days. Tip: Store it with a couple of folded kitchen towels on the top, to soak the extra moisture; this would lengthen its freshness.
Special instructions for folks living in humid weather:
Try using the sprouting tray instead of mason jars as beans are all spread out
Rinse the sprouts more often, 2-5 times during germination
Rest the jar in a bowl at a 45-degree angle to drain the excess water (that could cause mold)
During storage in the fridge, place a couple of kitchen paper towels at the top as well as the bottom of the storage container.
Don't over sprout
Total sprouting time of mung beans is at least 24 hours- soak for at least 12 hrs and germinate for 12 hours. Don't go beyond 2 days.
Mung beans can be sprouted either in light or dark conditions, avoid sunlight as it can cause the seeds to dry out
Ideally, to avoid food poisoning, cook sprouts thoroughly before consuming.
Young children, elderly persons, pregnant women, or persons with weakened immune systems should NOT eat RAW sprouts of any kind (as per the Center for Disease Control) due to risk from harmful bacteria. Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness.
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