Was anyone else really big into sprouting beans when you were a kid? I’m talking the whole put a bean on a damp paper towel inside of a Ziploc bag kinda deal. I always loved doing that. I thought it was so much fun to see this little unassuming bean go from, well, a little unassuming bean into something alive and green. Once the bean stalk was a certain size, my parents would help me transfer the little dude into a pot with some soil and we’d continue to watch him grow. Eventually, something more interesting would always come along (Sonic the Hedgehog! A new Ghostwriter episode! A movie where Devon Sawa shows his butt!) and my foray into horticulture would end.
Who knew that my love of sprouting things would come in handy in the kitchen one day?
Sprouts are obscenely easy to “make” at home. You can pretty much sprout any kind of bean or seed. Here, I’m sprouting lentils because, I almost always have lentils on hand. But I think I might try out chia sprouts next!
Sprouting legumes, grains and seeds makes them much easier to digest, it changes the flavor completely and it increases the vitamin C and B content, the fiber . I love, love, love sprouts! They are incredible on sandwiches and on salads.
All you need to sprout lentils is lentils, water, a clean Mason jar, a piece of thin cloth and a Mason jar ring. They do sell special sprouting jars, that have a mesh screen built-in, but I find a plain ole quart size Mason jar just works fine for me.
The first step is to soak your lentils. For a quart Mason jar, I use 1/3 cup of dry lentils. When the sprouts are done, they’ll more than triple the original size of the lentils, so you’ll need lots of space in your jar. In the jar, I put the 1/3 cup of lentils and two cups of water.
Then I place the piece of thin cloth on top of the jar and secure it with a ring. I used just a piece of leftover muslin from a quilt I made, but you could use cheesecloth, mesh, or any piece of cotton. Mostly, you just want the lentils to be able to breathe, without letting other gunk in (like, say, kitty and puppy fur).
Let the lentils soak in a spot out of direct sunlight for 24 hours. I just let mine rest on the counter right next to my kefir jar.
Once those 24 hours are up, drain off all the soaking water (if you use cheesecloth or other thin enough cloth, you should be able to just drain it through the lid). Fill the jar back up, shake it gently to rinse off the lentils, then drain all the water off again and replace the cloth and the lid. Sit the jar on its side back in your spot without direct light.
Every 12 hours or so, come back to the jar, fill it back up with water, shake it gently, and then drain all the water off again to rinse the lentils. Within 12-18 hours, you’ll probably see your first lentils start to sprout. Yay! Keep rinsing the lentils every 12 hours or so until almost all of the lentils have sprouts that are at least 1/4″ long. It usually takes me about 48 hours to get a full jar of sprouted lentils. See? A full jar of sprouts from just 1/3 cup of lentils!
Then rinse the lentils one more time and your lentil sprouts are ready to eat! I usually spread mine out on a towel for a few minutes to air dry.
Once they are mostly dry, I stash them in a container in the fridge for use on everything! I honestly can’t keep my hand out of the lentil sprout container. I love snacking on these little guys!
Stay tuned next week for a really awesome, delicious, incredible salad that uses sprouted lentils. Yum!