Why Sprout? What to Know About Sprouting

When you think of sprouting you probably think of planting a seed in some dirt, add water, sunlight, and all that. What I'm talking about is only half the process, but can yield wonderful healthy results. When someone sprouts a seed, grain, bean or nut they are initiating the process of germination but not allowing it become a full blown plant.


Why Sprout?

Plants have survival mechanisms just like a gazelle has speed and the tiger has claws. Plants protect themselves from being eaten and ensuring the survival of their seeds by making it difficult or even poisonous to digest. When it comes to things like seeds and grains these deterrents are called anti-nutrients. The reason those who follow a strict Paleo diet don't eat any form of grain is usually because they are very sensitive to these anti-nutrients and aren't able to digest them well. (That's what the plant intended!)

Luckily, we've come a long way since the stone age and even anciently people figured out how to get rid of those pesky anti-nutrients by sprouting the grain, seed, bean, or nut before consuming them.

No, you don't want a full grown plant (you'll run into those same deterrents again and have some digestive troubles) you just want to allow the seed to begin the process of germination.



See the seed with the white tail, second from the left? That's what you're looking for. That little tail tells you that the seed no longer has anti-nutrients to interfere with digestion, and not only that, but also has released all the vital nutrients the plant will need to grow. When you sprout the seed, nut, grain, or bean you get all those extra benefits and none of the gut irritating stuff.


What Can I Sprout?

There are plenty of naturally gluten free grains, seeds, and beans to sprout that you can then dry and grind into flours for baking, like:

  • Rice
  • amaranth
  • quinoa
  • millet
  • buckwheat
  • corn
  • beans (i.e. black beans, garbanzo bean, etc.)
  • lentils
  • sorghum
  • oats (certified gluten free oat groats, not rolls or processed oats)

And, of course, if you don't have an intolerance or autoimmune reaction to gluten you can sprout gluten containing grains like:

  • wheat
  • barley
  • einkorn
  • emmer
  • kamut
  • rye
  • spelt

You really can sprout just about anything. If you want something to top your salad with then you can sprout things like:

  • alfalfa
  • mung beans
  • wheatgrass
  • radish
  • green-leaf
  • pumpkin
  • sunflower

Things like the alfalfa, mung beans, wheatgrass, radish, and green-leaf sprouts are usually allowed to grow until they are a long shoot with a little bit of green.



How to Sprout in a Jar

There are lots of seed sprouting trays and accessories you can purchase, but for a simple and cheap way to sprout, you really only need a couple things: a quart wide mouth jar and a sprouting lid or wire strainer and a clean cloth.



  1. Place what you want to sprout into a quart canning jar - about half way full
  2. Pour filtered water into the jar until it covers the seeds by about 3 inches
  3. Put the sprouting lid on the jar or use a ring lid screwed on loosely over a clean cloth.
  4. Set in the a cool, dark pantry or cupboard overnight (10-12 hours)
  5. Drain the soaking water and rinse with filtered water, draining all remaining rinse water off as well.
  6. Return the cloth covering if using or just leave the sprouting lid on and lay soaked and drained seed jar on it's side and set it back in the pantry.
  7. Repeat the rinsing and draining process every 3-4 hours for the next two or three days. The point is to keep the seeds moist so they start to germinate. (Don't worry about waking up every 4 hours overnight. Just give it a good rinse right before going to bed and again first thing in the morning.)
  8. Once you see the seed begin to open and a tiny white tail then they are ready to be used. Or if sprouting something like mung beans, then allow for another couple days for the shoots to grow 2-3 inches.
    • You can  use a dehydrator to dry and then grind up sprouted grains, seeds, or nuts into flour.
      • Or
    • Store sprouted seeds in the fridge and toss in salads or add to breads and other baked goods.


Food Lamor by Melissa


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Melissa Moore has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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