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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

My Lazy Way to Grow Lentil Sprouts


My household is going through the sprouts faster than I can grow them. For 2 weeks in a row, I've grown about 1  1/2 to 2 quarts of finished sprouts. This last batch completed its sprouting on Friday, and we ate the last of those last night. Two quarts seems to last us half a week. 

My daughters and I have discovered that these are a delicious and easy way to get another serving of raw veggies in each day, either added to other foods, such as lettuce or shredded cheese or just as is to make simple salads. Both ways we like them with a little salad dressing. I've used ranch-style and vinaigrette dressings. For a vinaigrette, I simple ad a pinch each of salt and garlic powder and a drizzle each of vinegar and olive oil. Super simple and I have a nice side dish companion for whatever else I'm having with lunch.

I've had a couple of questions about growing lentil sprouts. So, since I was starting a mid-week batch yesterday, I thought I'd share exactly how I sprout them. (exactly as compared to vaguely)



Day 1. To grow about 1  1/2 to 2 quarts of finished lentil sprouts, I begin with 1/2 cup of dried lentils (from the bulk bins at WinCo) in a 1 quart canning jar.



I fill the jar half-way with water and swish around. Then I drain the lentils through my just-washed hand. You could also use a strainer; but that's a little more work getting the lentils out of the strainer and back into the jar. (Remember, I'm trying to avoid extra work.) Again, I fill the jar part-way with water, swish, and drain. If the water still looks a bit cloudy on this last rinse, I rinse one more time.



After the rinsing, I fill the jar a final time about 2/3 full and set on the counter away from sunlight and allow the lentils to soak overnight.

Day 2, morning. I strain the lentils (as I did before, through a clean hand), then rinse them once and strain again. I divide the strained, soaked lentils between 4 jars and lay each on its side in a large glass baking dish, which I leave on the kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight.

Day 2, evening. I rinse the lentils by filling each jar part-way with clean water and straining through a clean hand (again, you could use a strainer, but I'm going for easy.) Occasionally, a lentil or two will fall into the sink. I dispose of those, as I don't want any bacterial contamination in my sprouts. I return the jars of rinsed and drained lentils to the baking dish.


Day 3, morning. Rinse the jars of lentils and drain just like Day 2, evening.

Day 3, evening through Day 5 evening. Repeat rinse and drain steps twice per day, leaving sprouting lentils on kitchen counter out of direct sunlight.

Day 6, morning. Rinse and drain the sprouts as before, returning the glass jars to the glass tray and set them in a window for the day. Turn the jars so that the sprouts that had been facing up are now facing down. Turning the jars prevents moisture build-up on the underside of the mass of lentils.



Day 6, evening. Rinse and drain the sprouts, return to the glass tray and set the tray back on the counter overnight. Turn the jars again.


Day 7, morning. Rinse and drain sprouts, return glass jars to tray and set in a window, turning the jars.

Day 7, evening. Repeat of Day 6, evening.

Day 8, morning. Rinse the sprouts and drain. Carefully remove the sprouts to a colander or mesh strainer and drain well. Line a glass casserole dish (one that has a lid) with paper towels. Place sprouts into the lined casserole and cover with a lid. Keep the sprouts refrigerated for up to 4 to 5 days.



A couple of things to note about sprouting lentils
I read a few articles online that said dried lentils from the grocery store will not work. I also read a few articles that said grocery store lentils work just fine. Regular grocery store lentils are what I use. In addition, one of you lovely readers told me that she had used grocery store lentils. I believe hers were bagged lentils. Mine are from a bulk bin. Just sayin', YMMV.

You'll notice that I don't cover the opening to the jars. We don't have any indoor insects right now, so adding a covering would just mean additional work for me. If insects are a problem, or if your sprouts are drying out too much between rinsings, a piece of cheesecloth or screen lid will help in both situations. 

I only "sun" my sprouts (by placing in a window) on the last couple of days of growth. They develop some green color by about Day 5, (through the production of tiny leaves), even though they are growing out of direct sunlight for the first 5 days. 

The tray that I use to hold the jars is a rectangular glass baking dish. One large baker holds 4 jars (3 pint and 1 quart.)



Nutrients in lentil sprouts
In addition, to adding a low-cost source of vegetables to my winter diet, sprouting beans and seeds increases their nutritional content, such as  with vitamins A, B, C, and E. Sprouted lentils are also rich in potassium, molybdenum, folate, tryptophan, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, protein, and complex carbs. According to livestrong.com, "because sprouted lentils have a low glycemic index, they are not "bad"carbs." Also to note, while lentils contain phytic acid, the substance that binds and prevents the uptake of minerals, according to healthbenefitstimes.com, sprouting the lentils "nullifies the phytic acid," allowing the body to use minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, and manganese.


I call my method the lazy way because I minimize as many extra steps as possible. I don't have any sort of fancy set-up. Most folks probably have all of the tools needed to grow sprouts -- some jars  and a tray/baking dish in which to set them. The sprouting lentils still require rinsing and straining twice per day. All of this rinsing ensures that there is enough moisture to keep the tiny sprouts growing. That's the only "work" part. Otherwise, sprouts are about the easiest veggie I've ever grown. I hope I addressed any questions about growing lentil sprouts. But if I missed something, I'm happy to answer.


4 comments:

Live and Learn said...

We generally don't like sprouts, but I do like growing things. And this is something that would be hard for the cats to ruin and is safe for them if they did get into them. Maybe I'll give it a go. And who knows maybe we'll like lentil sprouts. I don't think we've had those before.

Lili said...

Hi Live and Learn,
You know, I forget that other people don't like all vegetables as much as I do. There are a lot of foods that I don't like, but I've always loved all vegetables. Maybe you'd like lentil sprouts, but maybe not. The sprouted part (roots/stems) is a lot like alfalfa sprouts. The lentil part is a bit firm, if you've ever eaten an undercooked bean, it has that texture. Anyway, if you do try them, I hope that the process goes well for you and you find something about them that you like.

Ruthie said...

Thank you for the details Lili! You always are so kind to give information liberally. What other beans have you sprouted?

Lili said...

Hi Ruthie,
Oh, you're so welcome. I hope there is something that helps. The only other sprouts I've grown were alfalfa sprouts a long time ago. I haven't tried other seeds or beans. What else have you sprouted? Is there any sprout that you think is easier than the rest?

Have a great day, Ruthie.

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