Sunday, January 17, 2010

Magical Foods

Ever hear of those fairy tales where a pauper starts out with one pot of stew and it becomes never ending; he just keeps on eating the food and it never runs out. His food expands exponentially without having to do anything. (Actually, I think there was also a bible story about that, with Elijah... But as this is not a religious blog, I won't be talking about that in depth.)

Wouldn't it be nice if something like that would happen in real life? That you'd start off with a set amount of food, and with little work and no cost, the quantity of your food increases? Wouldn't it be extra cool if while expanding the quantity of your food, you also make it healthier and more digestible?

Such transformations aren't only for fairy tales and Bible stories. You can do it as well!
Incredulous? Have you tried sprouting?

On my counter right now I am sprouting alfalfa. I love having alfalfa sprouts in my sandwiches. They are nutritious and delicious and easy to digest.
My alfalfa sprouts started off a quarter cup of seeds. Now I have 2 cups worth of alfalfa sprouts. 8 times the amount of food that I originally started off with.
If that's not drastically increasing the amount of food, almost fairy-tale-esque, I don't know what is.
Sprouting takes minimal effort.

Take whatever seed, grain or bean you would like to sprout and put it in a glass jar. Cover with water and let it sit 12 hours or so.
After 12 hours, pour out the water from the soaking seeds. You can do this by pouring straining the seeds through a muslin cloth or a cheese cloth. I prefer to strain my seeds by pouring them through a mesh strainer. Rinse the seeds with fresh water and pour out again.

In the dampness, your seeds will sprout. It will take a couple of days for the seeds to sprout. Depending on how big you want your sprouts, you can let it sprout for 2 days to a week and a half. During this time, every day pour new water into the jar and pour it out. If the same water remains with your sprouts for too long, your sprouts will rot. By changing the water twice daily (and even more often if you can remember) you will be preventing that.

When you sprout seeds like alfalfa, you can use the sprouts as is. in salads or sandwiches, When you sprout beans, you would generally cook these for shorter and with less water than you would cook them had they not been sprouted. By sprouting beans, they become more digestible as your body metabolizes the beans as vegetables and not as a beans. In other words, sprouted beans do not cause someone to become flatulent.

I've heard you can sprout grains as well, such as wheat and brown rice, but I personally do not have experience with it.

Things I've successfully sprouted:
Alfalfa, Mung Beans, Kidney Beans, Black beans, Navy beans, Chick peas.

Things I haven't yet sprouted but would like to try:
Lentils, Sunflower seeds, Wheat, Brown Rice, Peas, Buckwheat, Cress, Fenugreek.

SproutPeople.com is a great resource for more information about sprouting.

Back left: Partially sprouted alfalfa sprouts. Back right: Soaked chick peas, ready to sprout. Front: Strainer used to rinse the sprouts.

Have you ever sprouted? What are your favorite types of sprouts and how do you like to eat them best?

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