A sprouted legume is a legume that has been allowed to germinate or sprout. This involves soaking the legume in water until it begins to sprout, and then rinsing and draining it several times a day to encourage further growth. As the legume sprouts, it begins to develop a small tail-like protrusion, which is a sign that it has started to grow.
Sprouting legumes can have several benefits, including increased nutrient availability, improved digestion, and reduced anti-nutrients. Sprouted legumes can also be used in a variety of dishes, such as salads, stir-fries, and soups.
Common legumes that are often sprouted include mung beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas. Sprouted legumes can be found in some grocery stores or health food stores, but they can also be easily sprouted at home using a jar or sprouting container.
Soaking or sprouting grains and legumes can have several health benefits, including:
- Improved digestion: Soaking or sprouting can help to break down anti-nutrients such as phytic acid. Phytic acid can bind to minerals which makes them difficult to absorb, therefore soaking or sprouting legumes helps to improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Increased nutrient availability: Sprouting or soaking can also increase the bioavailability of certain nutrients, such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins. The sprouting and soaking process can activate enzymes that break down proteins and carbohydrates, making them easier for the body to absorb.
- Reduced anti-nutrients: Soaking or sprouting can reduce the levels of anti-nutrients such as lectins and tannins, which can interfere with nutrient absorption and cause digestive upset in some people.
- Improved glycemic control: Sprouting can also reduce the glycemic index of certain foods, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes in insulin.
It’s important to note that while sprouting or soaking can have benefits, it’s also important to cook these foods thoroughly to ensure that they are safe to eat and free of harmful bacteria.
Sprouted legumes can be found in some grocery stores or health food stores, but they can also be easily sprouted at home using a jar or sprouting container. Here’s a general guide on how to sprout grains and legumes at home:
- Choose your grain or legume: Some popular options for sprouting include mung beans, lentils, chickpeas, alfalfa seeds, quinoa, and buckwheat.
- Rinse the grain or legume: Rinse the grain or legume thoroughly and remove any debris or stones.
- Soak the grain or legume: Place the grain or legume in a large bowl or jar and cover with water. The amount of water needed will depend on the type of grain or legume – generally, you want to use about three times as much water as grain or legume. Soak for several hours or overnight, depending on the type of grain or legume.
- Drain and rinse: Drain the water and rinse the grain or legume with fresh water. Drain again.
- Begin the sprouting process: Depending on the grain or legume, you may want to leave it in the jar or transfer it to a sprouting container. If using a jar, cover the opening with a mesh lid or cheesecloth to allow for air circulation. Rinse and drain the grain or legume twice a day.
- Harvest the sprouts: After a few days, you should begin to see sprouts forming. Continue to rinse and drain until the sprouts are the desired length. This can take anywhere from 2-7 days depending on the grain or legume.
- Store the sprouts: Once the sprouts are ready, rinse them thoroughly and store them in the refrigerator in a covered container. They will last for several days.
Note that some grains or legumes may require slightly different sprouting times or methods, so it’s a good idea to research specific instructions for the type of grain or legume you want to sprout.