Published on June 12th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans
Sprouting Grains and Legumes
Sprouted grains and legumes are an economical and essential part of a living food diet. They contain nutrients that are missing in dry grains, they are easy to digest, and they stretch your budget too. From a health perspective, sprouted grains are recognized as gastrointestinal aids for conditions like IBS, as they help to prevent infection and speed healing in the intestines.
Almost any grain or legume that you can eat in its dry form can be sprouted. Lentils, adzuki beans, mung beans, alfalfa, sunflower, and radish seeds, and chickpeas can all be sprouted, to name only a few.
Different items have different sprouting times, and some are easier to sprout than others. Most recipes will advise you to sprout beans and grains at room temperature (70 F/20 C), out of direct sunlight.
Here is the basic process:
- Most beans should be soaked overnight in plenty of water to rehydrate them and rid them of natural toxins.
- After soaking them, you must keep the grains moist by rinsing them at least once a day. Larger beans such as chickpeas (garbanzos) fare better when they are rinsed more often, three times a day or more.
- There is a wide range for sprouting times (generally three to eight days), depending on the grain or bean, the temperature, and how frequently you rinse and drain them. As a general rule, your sprouts are ready to eat when the sprout tail reaches the length of the seed itself.Refrigerate your sprouts until you are ready to use them in a delicious recipe like hummus from sprouted chickpeas or sprouted grain bread.
A moderate intake of large sprouted beans is recommended, as a certain amount of natural toxins cannot be removed from legumes through sprouting.
Also avoid consuming alfalfa sprouts in excess, and do not eat them before they are mature. They contain an amino acid called Canavanine, which has been shown to cause some health risks for a small percentage of people.