Monday, April 27, 2015

Sprouting Lentils

Everybody wants to have fresh greens in their diet. If you don't, you should. But when people talk about why they want fresh greens, a lot of the time they don't think about the science. You want fresh greens because the closer a plant is to its natural state, the richer its store of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that will, over time, deteriorate and dissipate--meaning the stuff at the grocery store is losing nutrients every minute it sits on a shelf (which is also the reason I try to tell people to buy frozen over fresh produce when it doesn't make a culinary difference).

But sprouts--oh man. Technically, sprouts you grow at home from dormant seeds and legumes. Most of us already have dormant seeds and legumes in our house. Like lentils. 

Cooked traditionally, lentils are good for you. Full of fiber and protein. But sprouted? 

The sprouting process changes the nutritional composition of lentils. There are obviously debates about whether any of the this matters, but remember, I err on the side of science that says we haven't yet identified all the things in plants that assist the body. Nor have we figured out a way to deliver these things in isolation so they can be assimilated. There's a breakdown in our scientific understanding of how food affects the body and you really don't want to trust your virility to it. You should just eat more plants and err on the safe side.

So sprouted lentils. Like I said, the process of sprouting lentils changes them. They change from seed to plant. By soaking them, you germinate the seed, telling it to wake up, producing enzymes and catalyzing the growth of new plant cells. These new plant cells are (*shocker*) tiny plants. In other words, sprouting is like gardening, but really, really tiny gardening.

How to prepare sprouts:
  1.  Soak your sprouts in water over night (12 hours or so), using at least 3x as much water as you have lentils. They will absorb the water and triple in growth.
  2. The following morning, drain your lentils in a colander. Rinse them. For expedience, you can just keep your lentils in the colander, since you'll be rinsing again
  3.  Rinse at least twice a day for three days, keeping your lentils in a dark area, away from sunlight.
  4. In 2 days, you'll start seeing little tails.
  5. On the third day, they are ready to eat. You can eat them raw in salads.

More info on sprouting? Try here


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