Are you freaking out?! Is that title making you freak out?! I hope so because this is seriously awesome stuff. I never ever knew that this is how sprouts were made or that you could do it so easily at home. I don't think I'll ever go without this practice again. I love sprouts!
So first, what is sprouting?
Sprouting is done by first soaking, then rinsing and draining either seeds, legumes (beans) or grains until they sprout or germinate. Sprouting, as the word in itself hints, is the stage between seed and plant. Sprouting and even just soaking, makes seeds, legumes and grains more easily digestible, which is muy bueno. You can read about some of the amazing nutritional benefits, including lots of fiber and phytochemicals (cancer fighters) on YumUniverse.
This is an incredibly easy and inexpensive process (way cheaper than buying them). Seriously, it will take like 15 minutes out of your life each week to make some sprouts and then you'll have them available for adding to salads, sandwiches, soups, etc. And what's awesome is that sprouting isn't just for alfalfa. Here, I used French green lentils, but you can use about any seed, legume or grain you desire (no kidney beans though). I am anxious to try radish seeds and quinoa next. (Check out a more comprehensive list of options again at YumUniverse)
Here's what you will need to make sprouts:
1/2 cup French green lentils or other seed, grain or legume
pure water (the cleanest water you can get)
clean glass jars (I use Bonne Maman jars)
cheesecloth (this is inexpensive and can be found in most grocery stores and can also be reused)
rubberbands (I used hair ties)
First, rinse your lentils under cold water. Place in a large bowl (or you can use the jars) and soak in pure, clean water for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Then, drain the lentils and add to the glass jars. I used two clean Bonne Maman jam jars and put half in each. There will be some moisture, but the lentils should not be drowning in water now.
Cover each jar with a piece of cheesecloth and secure with a rubberband. Place in a sunny window.
Rinse through the cheesecloth and drain out 1-2 times per day. This takes like 10 seconds. Make sure you hold onto the rubberband though or you might dump your lentils into your sink and be sad.
After a couple of days, you will see the sprouts start to come out of the lentils. They will sort of look silly at this point, but this is a really good thing so get excited! It took my lentil sprouts about a week to get long the way I wanted them, but you can eat them when they are shorter. It's really a preference thing.
Once you are ready to harvest (aka EAT), you can remove the sprouts from the jar (you may need a tongs or fork to help you out) and place in an airtight container lined with a clean towel or paper towel. They will keep for a couple weeks, but they probably won't last that long.