How to Sprout Seeds

Add a nutritional punch to your next meal by learning how to sprout your own sprouts for a high protein and vitamin topping for any food.

| October 2019

  sprouting-jar

By weight, sprouted seeds are more nutritious than any other food. High in protein, vitamins and ­minerals and easy to grow all year round, they are a gift to vegan home-growers! Because they can be grown in the kitchen they are also perfect for those without gardens, those with limited mobility, or elderly vegans, and, as results can be seen so quickly, are also great to enthuse children in the wonderful world of growing things to eat.

We’re all familiar with the long bean sprouts common in Chinese cuisine, but a huge variety of other seeds can be sprouted including pulses, grains and even some nuts. As well as stir-fries most of them can be used in salads or sandwiches, and some are a delicious addition to juices or smoothies.

Sprouting is nothing new: there are records of them being used in Chinese medicine 5,000 years ago. Seeds are easier to digest once sprouting has started, so if you have trouble eating pulses or other seeds, try them in this form. We all know pulses, like lentils or beans, are a good source of protein for the vegan diet, but once sprouted these proteins are converted to simpler amino acids which are easier for the body to absorb.



Method

First the seeds are washed and then soaked in cold water, usually for 8-12 hours or overnight, then drained and left in a jar or dish to start sprouting. The soaking hydrates the seed and triggers the embryo to germinate. Emergence of the sprouts can happen quite fast – with some seeds you can see changes within the first day – and the sprouts can be ready to harvest between 1 and 7 days. Sprouts left to grow longer are suitable for stir-fries, whereas younger, shorter sprouts are favoured for salads. Some, such as wheat, can be transferred after a day to a couple of centimetres of compost in a tray for growing further (up to 12 days); the resulting wheatgrass making a highly nutritious juice.

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