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Sprouting Beans & Lentils

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Diana Earnshaw

No doubt at this time many of you are busy sowing seeds in your gardens and greenhouses. This is the time of new and renewal of life! We certainly have had a chance to really see this happening in 2020!

I love seeing the result of my efforts, but waiting always makes me impatient! Sprouting seeds, beans, lentils and grains only takes days, so the fruits of your labours can be seen very quickly. In a previous edition of The Pulse, I talked about sprouting seeds. These tend to be the quickest to germinate. My favourites are sunflower seeds and China Rose or daikon radish to grow into micro-greens – delicious in salads! There are many others though including broccoli, alfalfa and red clover. Please always buy organic seeds as others may have been “treated”.

This time, I want to suggest trying lentils and beans. I feel sure that many of you have sprouted mung beans in the past, but there are many other legumes that you can sprout for salads and cooking.

All vegetable seeds and plants have some fairly toxic chemicals (antinutrients) in them which are hard on the gut. These are much reduced by soaking, sprouting and cooking, making them much easier to digest. The chemicals serve a purpose – in nature, they are an effective deterrent to predators. They can’t run away so they need a different tactic!

Most beans and lentils can be easily sprouted in a jam jar. Rinse a tablespoon of your chosen type and put them in a jar. Cover with water. Each day, drain and cover with fresh water. Once you can see that most have germinated, drain the water, rinse and put back in the jar. This time do not cover with water but rinse daily until they are the size you want. They are usable from the time of germination to the stage when they have 2 leaves. Any longer than this and they taste more like small plants rather than sprouts! If you are going to use the beans/lentils when only just germinated, they must be cooked as there will still be some of the antinutrients present. If you are not using your sprouts immediately, refrigerate until needed – but only for a day or two.

Green and Puy lentils are good for sprouting as are mung, black and adzuki beans and chickpeas. Sprouts are not only good to eat, but their starch content will have reduced, vitamins, minerals and proteins increased. All good reasons to get started! Here are two recipes to use your sprouts in:

Sprouted Chickpea Curry   Based on a recipe from Riverford.

Supersprout Salad   Based on a recipe from Jamie Oliver.