There is a lot of goodness trapped inside a whole grain berry that the American diet does not capitalize on just yet. I had a few days (week) to spare and thought I’d give it a try. For weight loss, sprouting grains helps with digestion and allows the body to absorb more nutrients over a longer amount of time. You are less likely to get bloating and other stomach discomforts from a food source that has been prepared for maximum benefits to the body’s metabolic system and (fat) storage.
My immediate goal was in researching why one should even go this extra step in food preparation. The end goal was a recipe I had found that called for soaked, then sprouted, then dried, then ground, then added into a recipe that called for dried, sprouted spelt berries for one loaf of bread. I took it one.step.at.a.time. Who doesn’t love warm, fresh and healthy bread from the oven (see past post with my traumatic picture of my grain belly)?!
Why take all that time to sprout? The Nourished Kitchen is a great resource for traditional foods and preparation techniques. She advocates for sprouting grain because it:
- is high in B vitamins (they make you happy!) and folate (needed for a healthy pregnancy)
- boosts the protein content (feel full longer) while decreasing the starch (less spike in blood sugar)
Furthermore, did you know there is a Whole Grains Council?! They elaborated on how the three parts of the seed add to the nutrient value of the sprouted grain. Sprouted grains are also high in vitamin C, fiber (excellent for weight loss), and essential amino acids. They site some great research being done that links sprouted grains as health benefits:
- Spouted brown rice fights diabetes, decreases depression and fatigue in nursing moms
- Sprouted buckwheat protects against fatty liver disease
- Sprouted barley decreases blood pressure
- Sprouted grains are less allergenic for people with grain protein sensitivities
I recommend checking out that page because on the bottom they list several great recipes! I also learned that April is Sprouted Grain month; Who knew?!
Even if you are not up for grinding and baking your own grains for bread just yet, I have to tell you that my kids and I were quite surprised by the taste of the raw sprouted grain. My teen aged son is eating them as a snack!
When there was just a peep of a plant (sprout) growing out of the seed, we grabbed a handful and tasted them. Since it is more of a water puffed seed at that point, it tasted squishy and a bit nutty. After a few more days growth, we tried again. Even though there was the same amount of seed to eat, the plant (seedling) growth and root growth was a more pronounced flavor. It was less nutty than before, replaced by a raw snow pea taste! When my hubby suggested we actually put the glass jar in the sunlight (it is a plant, by the way), the snow pea-green taste just sprang to life in our mouths! I could not believe just how sweet it was to the taste buds!!! (Chlorophyll is green, which is the food for a plant, which is glucose, which is sugar!!!!) REALLLY sweet.
The Sweet Beet says it like this: “Sprouting also starts the digestion of the plant’s starch by converting it into sugar (so there’s less for your body to do). (If you taste a grain/sprout after a couple days of sprouting, it’s sweet.) To convert the starch, the grain creates enzymes, which your gut can continue to use to digest the starch.”
So, you are interested. How much time will this (experiment) take? 2-5 days, depending on the length of your sprout. Each day, less than 5 minutes. Not bad, really.
Day 1: Rinse and Soak
- Find a large glass jar, a small piece of screen, and a rubber band. I didn’t have this so I used one leg of a knee high pantyhose.
- Grab any grain seed (wheat berry, spelt, barley, farro) and measure 1 cup. Dump it into the glass jar and secure the screen before rinsing it under the running water a few times. I kept my hand on top of the screen to prevent the weight of the wet berries from loosening my securing system.
- I rinsed until it was less cloudy and then filled the jar most of the way up with water.
- Let it sit on the counter all day.
- Before bed, drain the water. I kept my hand over the screen and shook the jar a few times to get all of the water to drain out. Refill with fresh water.
Day 2: Soak and Rinse
- Put your hand over the screen and drain the water completely from the glass jar. Shake the wet grains around a few times.
- If you do NOT see tiny white buds peeking out from the grain, then repeat Day 1.
- Turn the jar on its side on a towel and let it sit there.
- At least once more that day, shake the jar around a few times to give the grains some fresh air flow.
- Before bed, flush the grains with fresh water and then dump out the water, keeping your hand over the screen, and then lay it back on its side.
Day 3: Eat and Store (or Repeat)
- Rinse with fresh water and drain.
- Eat! Keep it in the fridge with either a sealed lid or the screen. If you keep the screen, you may need to rinse and drain the sprouts every now and then until gone so they stay moist.
- You can continue to eat AND sprout by repeating Day 3 for a few more days, up to five days.
- For a punch of more flavor, put the sprouts in some sun!
Day 5: Eat or Grind it up
At this point, you can store the sprouts in the fridge for a few more days. I’ve used a sprouted grain bread recipe that called for putting them in the food processor like this for the recipe. I’m not quite done with that one yet…realized that it has to “rise” for 12 hours!!! Ack. No bread tonight :) But here’s what it looked like when I ground it up and mixed in some wheat flour:
And here’s me setting it up to wait 12 hours for it to rise…hopefully…
Have you sprouted grains and have any advice for us newbies? Please leave a comment!