The how and why of Sprouting

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A super healthy way to consume beans!

Since spring’s just around the corner I thought why not share something healthy with all of you. I know this is a longish post but I hope by the time you finish reading it you’ll understand the science behind sprouting better and also might want to try it out in your own kitchen!

Science behind sprouting

We already know these foods are nutrient dense powerhouses. But for our bodies to be able to absorb all that richness, we need to first understand the phytic acid connection.

PHYTIC ACID is found in all plant foods in variable amounts. It’s not all that bad because it attacks cancer cells and is also an antioxidant BUT when consumed, it binds to important minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and copper in the gastrointestinal tract forming PHYTATES which can’t be absorbed and so are expelled from the body resulting in deficiencies of minerals mentioned.

Coming to the rescue is PHYTASE – an enzyme found in the plant food, that deactivates the phytic acid. Rye, wheat and buckwheat are high in this enzyme while oats and corn are pretty low.

We humans cannot produce this enzyme but we can use methods like SOAKING n SPROUTING to activate this enzyme.

Here is a simple and easy breezy way to start. To begin I assemble a few old pickle jars, poly mesh bags cut into squares and some rubber bands and some mung beans. That’s all! 

SOAK

1. Place the beans in the jar/s and wash them a couple of times with water until the drained water looks clean.

2. Pour room temperature water into the jar to completely submerge the beans.

3. Add some sea salt if soaking nuts, seeds and beans. This helps activate the phytase.

4. Cover the mouth of the jar with a square of poly mesh bag and keep it in place with a rubber band.

At the end of soaking period, you’ll notice that the size of the grains or beans has increased.

SPROUT

1. After the soaking period, wash and drain the water from the jar through the mesh a couple of times until water is clear.

2. Make sure that all the water has been drained out. Now slightly invert the jar at an angle over a folded towel or rack and cover that bowl with a cloth in a dark area of the kitchen away from direct sunlight.

3. Twice a day – morning and night or every 12 hours, rinse and drain the beans for the designated sprouting period.

This process removes some more phytic acid as well as releases the vitamins and makes the food a lot more digestible. As soon as the sprouts are ready, wash them one more time. I prepare only small amounts of sprouts at a time and cook them right after they are ready by gently boiling them in water OR by steaming them. I make sure that they are consumed in 1-2 days.

NOTE – It is very important to handle the sprouting process very meticulously using CLEAN hands, kitchen equipment and counter tops to reduce contamination and food borne illnesses such as Salmonella and E coli.

What’s the best way to eat sprouts?

Sprouts always carry a risk for contamination as they grow under moist conditions. So it is safer to COOK them before eating. They can be added to soups or stews or they can be sauteed in olive oil. You can 

Actually I choose to sprout only mung beans (I’ve got so used to them). But you can try black chickpeas also. The process is similar to that of mung beans. So give this a try this spring and share your experiences with me. Happy Sprouting!

 

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