foodie trend: sprouting grains.

31 Mar

I guess this is what happens in college. You get a little radical. First you become a vegetarian (okay, I’ve been one since middle school so I had a head start). Then you realize all your friends are too (this is only a slight exaggeration). Then you start rubbing shoulders with the vegans and the raw-foodies and the people who soak their own beans and the ones who harvest their own spring water in the woods (hey Adam). And the you realize that you want to try that stuff too.

So this is my foray into… I don’t know what to call it. The advanced level of alternative dieting? Anyways, sprouting your grains is something that’s pretty popular right now, especially among raw foodies and vegans who need to work a little harder for their nutrients than the rest of us (yes I’m lumping together vegetarians and omnivores here because honestly being a vegetarian is not difficult at all (and sorry for the overload of parenthetical statements)). Here’s some info about sprouting, but if that article is Greek to you, I’ll paraphrase as I understand the process:

1. Biologically, the grains and seeds you buy in the store are locked in a state of dormancy, waiting until they reach the right conditions to germinate.

2. To keep them locked in that state, the plant contains certain enzyme inhibitors that keep the nutrients bio-unavailable until the time is just right.

3. By sprouting, we are encouraging the grains to germinate which releases these nutrients and make them more available for our bodies to absorb.

The thing I like about sprouting is that the science is quite simple, and to do it requires no investment of money and very little of your time. I tried it the first time just going off some instructions on the web and it worked fantastically.

Sprouting Buckwheat “Groats”

Before starting this, you may be wondering “what the heck do I do with these???” Well I thought they were a great salad topping, a nice hearty contrast to lettuce. I also put them in pancakes (recipe to come). Or you can always make groaty dick.

Materials:

1 cup raw, hulled buckwheat groats (groat basically means a hulled grain)
a seive, fine collander, or cheese-cloth
a plate or tray
some clean cloths or paper towels

1. Wash the groats very well. They have a sort of soapy film on them and you want to get this off. Also pick through them and remove any grains that look strange.

2. Soak the groats for 20-30 mins. When finished, drain and rinse thoroughly again.

3. Moisten a dishcloth and spread it on your tray/dish/whatever you are using. Spread out the groats. Moisten a second towel and lay on top.

4. Let your groats sit undisturbed overnight in an area that doesn’t get too much light. Check on the top towel once or twice per day and remoisten if necessary.

5. When you see the little tails growing out of the groats, SUCCESS. Mine took only 24 hours to do this. After they first sprouted, I let them grow for another night. When you are satisfied, let them dry out completely and them put them in the fridge to halt their germination. Eat within two weeks.

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4 Responses to “foodie trend: sprouting grains.”

  1. Darb March 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    “Eat within two weeks.”

    Or, alternatively, roast and turn into beer!

  2. Beth Ann Locke April 3, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Being that I am in England I must include a recipe for Spotted Dick, the most famous of the dick puddings: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spotted-Dick-103210

    I love that the grains have more nutrition, which explains the popularity of sprouted grain breads. Thanks for this posting!

  3. Steph April 3, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Hey, if you ever get into dehydrating let me know, there’s a lot of cool crackers you can make. I don’t have one and I’m intimidated, so want you to go first! I’m starting to venture into more healthy vegetarian cooking…baby steps… this article is inspiring!

  4. Alexa April 4, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Oh, Lorraine, your foodie adventures are oh-so fun to read about 🙂
    For some reason, I got into a vegan research kick at the end of last week, so I’m contemplating trying it out when I get home from Argentina as sort of a detox from all this fried food & meat I’ve been eating. This looks like something fun to try!

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