Gonna write a short, sweet and simple post about the good old art of sprouting!
What is Sprouting?
Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably seen or heard the word “sprouting” in relation to foods. Maybe you have a health-conscious friend who just can’t get enough of her sprouted flax seeds. On the outside you smile and nod in agreement….on the inside a giant question mark bubbles up encircling the mystery “what’s wrong with regular flax seeds?!“. Nothing! Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. When new health ‘fads’ come up it can take a bit of digging to get to meaning and method behind them. But sprouting is actually an age-old process and is making a comeback….like disco music!
Sprouting is the process of taking tiny ‘baby’ seeds of plants, and giving them the right environment and water to grow (essentially “sprout”) into a full-fledged adult plant. Also known as germinating. I sometimes even use soaking and sprouting synonymously even though technically they are a little different. But the end result is the same – the little seeds contain all the enzymes, proteins, nutrients and minerals needed to eventually burst into a mature plant, so the technique of sprouting/soaking is essentially harnessing the process when all those vital energies are at their peak.
Benefits of Sprouted or Soaked Foods
1. Easy to digest – think of sprouted foods as already containing their own powerhouses of enzymes that help in their build up and break down. More enzymes coming from the plant = less enzymes needed from you to digest!
2 Less phytic acid to deal with – phytic acid is a compound commonly found in beans and some grains and essentially ties up many of the minerals otherwise available in these powerful foods. Soaking beans removes a lot of the phytic acid so the minerals (magnesium, iron, calcium) are more available for you.
3. Easy to prepare – I’ve made sprouts before and they are dead easy. Check out this video for instructions. Shout-out to my Baratheon cup from game of thrones for housing my awesome alfalfa sprouts, woo wooooo!
Examples of Sprouted Foods
– sprouted breads – Ezekiel Bread, Silver Hills Bakery
– bean sprouts
– alfalfa/broccoli/radish sprouts in the produce section of the grocery store – Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds
– sprouted grain crackers
– sprouted chia or flax seeds (or sprouted chia/flax seed powders) – Granovita Sprouted Flax Powders
There you have it. Try out sprouting for your next kitchen experiment or as a unique addition to your next grocery list. FYI, sprouted grains are not always gluten-free, so if you’re following a celiac diet be sure to still check ingredient lists.