Sprout Your Way To Better Health

by Aparna Ayyar

Remember the time when sprouts were boring and uninspiring. More often than not, they were overcooked into a mulch-like form and then pushed around in the plate. Even downing a few mouthfuls was a challenge. But then, thankfully the hipsters took over and saved the sprouts. Now, health food stores all over carry ‘sprouting’ almonds, chia seeds, peas and lima beans in their fancy little jars. It would appear that sprouting has finally come of age.

The nutritional benefits of sprouts are many. The process of sprouting increases the levels of vitamins and minerals. It also helps absorption of minerals. They’re easy to digest as the process breaks down complex starches in the beans and legumes. What’s more, they’re quick and easy to cook.

What Exactly Is Sprouting: It involves soaking seeds and legumes for several hours till they germinate. Remember all our high school experiments where we put a bunch of lima beans in a jar with a damp cloth and kept checking on them through the week. Well, sprouting is just that except it's now fancy with complex equipment that you can buy from special food stores.

What Can We Sprout: Grains such as barley, wheat, and spelt can be sprouted as can legumes such as lentils, peas, and pinto, kidney, and lima beans. You can also sprout nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts and peanuts.

How Do I Sprout Without Any Fancy Equipment: Sprouting is actually a very simple process. What you’re trying to achieve is no different from those tiny green things that pop out of the seeds in your garden in spring. When you keep the seeds moist, they sprout, grow and turn into little plants. The seeds are difficult to digest whereas this ‘sprout’ is a power-packed nutrient rich food.

What You Need:

  1. Seeds, legumes, grains or nuts to sprout. Some health stores sell special ‘sprouting’ seeds and legumes.
  2. A large mouthed jar


  1. Soak the seeds or legumes to be sprouted in water overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse seeds. Pour more water and let them soak a little more. You can do this 2-3 times a day.
  3. Everyday your sprouts will grow a little. This could take anything between 3-5 days.
  4. After your seeds or legumes have sprouted, dry them completely and store them in the refrigerator. They usually keep upto five days.

To harness the goodness of sprouts, add them to your salad, stew or soup. You can also oven roast them till they’re crisp and brown and add them to your stir fries.

Image: Shutterstock

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