Sprouting is something that everyone can do to grow fresh nutritious food for very little cost. For about five years, Cognito and I have been growing our own sprouts and eating them every day. At this point, we have developed our own method of sprouting, which is what I am going to show you.
To start things off, we’ll focus on lentils. Lentils are a small brownish green legume found with the dry beans and rice. The store brand usually costs about $1.40 per pound. Note: You can sprout several different types of dry beans, but some of them are poisonous, so make sure you choose something you can safely sprout! Example: NEVER eat sprouted kidney beans.
You will need a bag of dried lentils, a wide-mouth glass jar, a lid, and a screen.
- Metal ring lids that come with a canning jar rust, so don’t use them beyond once or twice to try it out.
- Plastic lid, cut with a hole-saw
- Metal screen from hardware store, cut with heavy duty shears. You need this for sprouting small seeds.
- Plastic screen, cut from craft store “Plastic Canvas”. Large holes, lots of air-flow.
- A rubber band and some window screen works pretty well, too!
Prepare your materials
Wash and sanitize the jar, lid, and screen to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Do this before each new sprouting “crop”
- Wash in hot water by hand or in a dish washer.
- Rinse in a light vinegar or bleach solution.
Start with about 1/2 cup of dry lentils. Pick through them and remove any small stones and debris.
Rinse lentils well, then soak them in cool water for 8 – 12 hours.
After soaking, your lentils will have doubled in size. Drain and rinse your lentils well with cool, clean water.
Place jar upside down in a bowl or rack at an angle steep enough to prevent water from pooling. Ensure there is plenty of air-flow through the lid. We keep our sprouting jars in a dish drying rack with a drainboard that drains into the sink.
Rinse and drain lentils every 8 – 12 hours.
Left: Lentils Right: Black Eyed Peas.
We have switched to all plastic lids now, this photo is a few years old.
At approximately 24 hours, the lentils are beginning to sprout. If you are going to cook them, you could stop here. I like to sprout them a lot longer so that I can eat them raw.
At 3 days, (below), the sprouts can be eaten raw
At 3 to 3.5 days, the sprouts begin growing little leaves.
That is when we start eating them!
At five days:
In 7 days, 1/2 cup of seeds will produce nearly three quarts of sprouts.
Stopping the Sprouting Process and Storing your Sprouts
Refrigerating lentils almost stops the growing process.
Rinse sprouts and drain very well, gently pat dry with a towel.
- Store sprouted lentils in a clean, dry jar secured with an airtight lid.
- Rinse and drain well once per day.
- Eat within a few days.
Lentil sprouts smell heavenly when you lightly saute them, but we usually eat them raw, sprinkled into our salads. We usually have two jars going so that we have a constant supply of fresh sprouts.