One of the arguments against eating real organic food is that it’s expensive and requires too much preparation. Personally, I’d rather spend the money and time preparing food in my own home instead of suffering the accumulated effects of eating processed junk foods. The accumulated effects will land you in the doctor’s office if not the hospital. Either you spend time in your own kitchen now or spend time sitting in a doctor’s waiting room later. The choice is yours.
Having said that, one of the easiest healthy foods to prepare are sprouted foods. My favorite sprout du jour are lentils. They’re inexpensive, healthy and provide a large yield. Did I mention they’re easy to sprout? I’ve tried sprouting other seeds with varying degrees of success, but when it comes to lentils, I’m always successful.
Using Good Ingredients
First you must make sure you’re using organic lentils. You can use non-organic lentils, but since we’re looking to get the healthiest bang for our efforts, organic is the way to go.
I usually go to my health food store and get a pound or two. I not only sprout lentils, but I also use lentils in soups and other dishes so I like to keep a supply in my pantry. With sprouting a little goes a long way so a couple of pounds of lentils can last for quite some time.
The other positive about sprouting lentils is that lentils are inexpensive. I purchased a little over 2 pounds at a cost of $2.15/pound. So I spent a little over $5. That $5 bag of lentils holds a lot of nutrition.
Enough of my jabbering, here’s how I sprout my lentils:
- Ball jar – If you don’t have ball jars, you can substitute with any other glass jar.
- Jar cover – The cover could be anything from paper towel, cheesecloth or sprouting lids. I’ve used all three, but I’m finding the sprouting lid to be most convenient. However, if you don’t have one, don’t let that stop you from sprouting. Covering the jar with a paper towel held down with a rubber band will work just fine.
- Strainer (that’s if you don’t have a sprouting lid)
Here’s What You Do:
- To a clean jar add approximately a quarter cup of dry lentil seeds.
- Fill the jar with water and let it sit for 7 hours.
- After 7 hours drain the water off the lentils and cover. Let the damp lentils sit on the counter until the next day. Do not refrigerate. In the photo below you can see how the lentils have swelled after 7 hours of soaking (this is right before I drained the water to let them sit on the counter).
- On the second day rinse them by adding water to the jar, swirl it around and pour the water off. Put the jar back on the counter and let the lentils sit until you rinse them again later in the day. Depending on your climate, you may not have to rinse them twice a day. I’ve sprouted lentils by rinsing them once a day and rinsing twice a day. Twice a day seems to move things along faster. By day two you should see some action. Notice the “tails” in the image below.
- Wash, rinse repeat until they’ve sprouted to your liking. As you can see on day three my lentils have definitely sprouted. Here’s a close up of my day 3 lentils.
- By day 4 they’re ready to eat. Some people are perfectly happy eating sprouted lentils on day 2 when the lentils begin to form a “tail.” I, however, like to have my lentil jar filled to the brim, so I continue to grow them a little longer until my Ball jar is full.
What to Do After the Lentils Have Sprouted
Once the lentils are sprouted fill the Ball jar with water and place in the refrigerator. Make sure to replace the water every 2 days to keep the sprouts fresh. Sprouts in my house don’t last very long so I rarely have to worry about adding fresh water.
Lentil sprouts are a great addition to a salad, sandwich or on their own. I like to make a neat little sprout snack with a drizzle of olive oil, himalayan salt and nutritious yeast for a crunchy, salty, cheesy flavored, nutritious snack. If you’re wondering just how nutritious sprouted lentils are, check out their nutrition profile.
Sprouting Other Things
Last year I used the same sprouting method to sprout navy beans. It didn’t work so well for me. I don’t know what I did wrong, but the sprouts just didn’t look right. They seemed to have developed some weird looking growth so I tossed the sprouted beans outside in the yard. Guess what happened? Yep, they grew like crazy. Now I never have to buy navy beans again. The sprouted navy beans grew providing me with more navy beans than I could possibly use in one year. When I run out, I’ll “sprout” more. Even when things don’t turn out as expected, nature has a way of making things right.
If you’ve never sprouted anything before, give sprouting lentils a try. It’s foolproof. It gave me the confidence to try sprouting items I didn’t do so well with in the past. Watch out broccoli seeds…I’m coming for you!