Sprouting is fun and simple and really healthy. Sprouted foods are generally higher in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fiber AND they are more digestible because sprouting increases the enzyme activity within a food. It also is said to be more digestible because sprouting decreases phytates which can prevent us humans from completely being able to digest these seeds to begin with. So really, need I say more?
You soak your seeds, beans or grains for 12-24 hours in a bowl of water or overnight, drain them of the water the next day and place them in a colander. I keep mine in the colander and rinse/water them twice a day then back on the counter they go until I literally see them sprout, they will look like they have a little ‘tails” . Note; they should not sit in the water except for the first night or 12-24 hour period. This is why I use the colander to drain all the water. If they are sitting in water for a few days they will just grow moldy.
Nuts and grains are unique in that they will do not all form tails and most raw food people feel that just soaking them for 6-8 hours is good enough to get the benefits. But most seeds and beans will actually visibly sprout. Also note that flax seeds will form tails but you will find it hard to rinse them because they form a gel like clump. No worries, you do not have to rinse flax seeds, just let them sit in the water (1:1 ratio flax seeds to water) for 12-24 hours them enjoy. Same goes for chia by the by…
If it is warm out the sprouting process will happen in one-two days, if it is cold, it can take longer. In general also note that beans take longer than seeds. If you plan on cooking your beans or seeds, as opposed to eating the sprouts fresh or sprinkling them on salads then just soaking for 12-24 hours then rinsing is enough to activate them. As a general rule 12-24 hours of soaking will actually germinate the seeds or beans, so you can reap the benefits fully even after one day, even if you do not see a tail.
Some stores have sprouting jars or bags which is great but not necessary. You can also grow your soaked seeds on a tray of earth to get green shoots. Get a tray, lay down about 1.5 inches of soil and place your soaked seeds on top, lightly cover with soil and then water daily. You can grow wheat grass this way as well.
So go out on a limb today and try it! Today go buy some sunflower seeds and experiment. These are easy to sprout and they grow a nice tail which is very satisfying. It will take a few days so be patient but once you see that tail it will feel like sunshine growing in your colander!
And just so you know, because people always ask me, flackers (www.drinthekitchen.com) are made from sprouted flax seeds. In fact once, a few pieces landed in my drain and two days later I noticed that there were sprouts growing out of my sink!