sprouting

Growing Your Own Living Sprouts part 1

"What is planted in each persons soul, will sprout" -Rumi

One of natures superb gifts is the availability of live food, so in the raw food kitchen, we teach that its always best to soak or activate your nuts and seeds before eating them. Soaking your seeds releases their enzyme inhibitors and activates the growing process, which means that they are alive, (actively growing) food, it is essentially a baby plant which is bursting forth with new life; and this also makes them easier for most people to digest. 

Sprouts which are actively growing are at their most nutrient rich stage in the growing process, they are a living super food and their healing potential is phenomenal. Sprouts contain a high level of nutrients and enzymes, which make them easy to assimilate by the body. 

  • "The greatest enzyme activity is from germination up to 7 days and is 100 times greater than the enzyme content of fruits or vegetables which helps to replenish our own body’s reserve of enzymes." -HHI

Additionally, as a sprout the concentration of proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, RNA & DNA is greater than at any other point in that plant’s development, plus

  • Its carbohydrates become easier to assimilate as the starches are changed to simple sugars.
  • Its fats are changed to fatty acids which are an easily digested soluble compound.
  • Its complex protein is converted into simple amino acids, which essentially means that it is “predigested”.
  • Vitamin production is increased three to twelve times more.
  • Minerals are chelated, a natural state where they are chemically bonded to amino acids and easily assimilated by the body.
  • It has delicate cell walls so it can release nourishment easily.
  • It contains photochemical, which are plant compounds that protect against disease.
  • It contains highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and the effects of aging.
  • It contains both increased fiber (up to 300%) and water.


Believe it or not, growing sprouts is super easy and you can grow them right in your own kitchen. The availability of right temperature, humidity, ventilation and lighting, all close to a water source make it a great location, plus it doesn't require heaps of space. A windowsill, drainer or stackable shelf space can work just fine.  

Ensure that your seeds are from a good source, 100% organic seeds, distributed for the purpose of sprouting. Before starting, you should keep your seeds stored at room temperature in an air tight container until you're ready to sprout them.

Sprouting beans and legumes
The great thing about sprouting grains and legumes means that they don't require soil, making it an even easier process. Sprouted Beans and Legumes will increase in size and weight 2 to 3 times. This means ½ cup dry seeds will yield 1.5 cup of sprouts. It's an easy 5 step process, which you can rotate to ensure you always have one of natures richest foods available in your kitchen. All of these varieties make a great addition to any salad.

Easy beans and legumes to sprout:

  • Adzuki Beans (soak for 12 hours)
  • Whole Red Lentils (soak for 8 hours)
  • Whole Green Lentils (soak for 8 hours)
  • French Lentils (soak for 8 hours)
  • Fenugreek (soak for 6 hours)
  • Mung Beans (soak for 8 hours)
  • Garbanzo Beans/Chick Peas (soak for 12 hours)
  • Green Peas (soak for 8 hours)

Mung, Lentil. & Adzuki sprouts — contain soluble fiber and help lower cholesterol by clearing out dangerous LDL cholesterol in the blood. They also help regulate insulin and thus blood sugar.

Sprouting Supplies and equipment for beans and legumes:
-Seeds. 
-An 'Easy Sprouter', or other sprouting vessels like glass or plastic jars and sprouting lids
-Drain pan

You can start off with ½ cup of each and adjust quantities as necessary. 

Step 1: Put 1 cup of beans in a soaking vessel. Fill with 3 times the amount of water. Stir to eliminate air bubbles. Leave to stand, away from direct sunlight, for between 6-12 hours depending on which bean or legume you have chosen.

Step 2: Once the 8 to 12 hour mark has been reached, it is time to drain your. Pour out the contents of the soaking vessel into a small hole draining colander and rinse the seed with fresh water and allow water to drain away. Return your seeds to the sprouting vessel and position it in the draining position on the drain pan, this allows any excess water to drain away from the seed.

Step 3: This stage is all about rinsing and draining your seeds, this will be performed two to three times per day. Fill or flood your sprouting vessel with water and carefully stir the seeds. Allow seed to soak for a minute or two, then allow water to drain away. Continue this procedure for two to three days until you see that your seeds have stated to sprout (roots popping out).

Step 4: Time to harvest your seeds. Now that the roots have emerged from the seeds, which should be at least as long as the bean itself, you can now prepare your seeds for storage. If another shoot with a leaf begins to emerge, you have sprouted longer than necessary. Sprouted

Step 5:  Store sprouted beans and legumes in a green bag with the air removed. If moisture is present, placing a paper towel in the bag will extend shelf life. Green Bags are impregnated with a natural mineral called “oya” that will absorb the ethylene gasses that are released. If used as directed these will certainly extend the life of your harvest.
Another great option is to use a Food Saver, which comes with a small pump to remove air and gives the ultimate longevity to your sprouts. Place your sprouts in the refrigerator.

Various methods
There are different methods used for sprouting, from soaking in water and draining in jars for beans and legumes (outlined above), to planting in soil in a tray for wheatgrass, pea, sunflower and buckwheat sprouts and other micro greens.

When it comes to seeds like chia and flax which can also be sprouted, they are not soaked first like other seeds and have a slightly different sprouting process.

These methods will be covered separately.

Image by Evergreen

Image by Evergreen

Living Food = Vibrant You - Create healthier habits, try out one of my online wellness programmes, register here.

© WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Anita McKenzie, is a Raw Soul Food and Holistic Health Lifestyle Mentor, she is founder of the brand "Sistahintheraw" and "Raw Soul Food" and a leading authority on Raw Food Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make healthier choices, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Sistahintheraw now atwww.sistahintheraw.com

Medical Disclaimer
Sistahintheraw.com provides information on this website as an educational service. This website does not provide medical advice. The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. The contents of this web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. The products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications and medical conditions.  

Get Organised with Your Raw Food Kitchen

Sisthahintheraw in the Panama kitchen.jpg

This is me in the kitchen at the Sunfired Culinary Institute in Panama. I love to roll up my sleeves and let get in flow with my creativity. Here, I'm slicing onions that went into the dehydrators behind me, for which I needed a suitable sharp knife...most people who know me, know that I'm a bit shy of sharp knives, even though I did do some knife skills training in London some years ago.

This brings me to where I want to share some thoughts about how to go about setting up your raw food kitchen. A well stocked living foods and raw plant-based kitchen is your affirmation that you truly understand this lifestyle choice. Your commitment is reflected in your choice of organic products, your shopping habits and kitchen equipment chosen. More than food, this is an holistic health lifestyle choice, which recognises your connection to and inter-dependance with others and nature, it concerns all your choices, attitudes and behaviour. This is the lifestyle that restores harmony to the mind, spirit and body.

When you think about creating your raw food kitchen, there are some simple guidelines that will help you to create a space that is hassle-free, where your culinary creativity can flow in a space conducive to preparation of health promoting meals.
We consider

  • Shopping and best produce and ingredients
  • Kitchen appliances and gadgets
  • Storage
  • Sprouting
  • Education

Clean, plant-based raw food means eating foods in their most natural, whole state, so as to maximise their nutritional benefits, let this be your guide. You choose food preparation techniques and equipment that enables you to stick closely to this principle.

Shopping, best produce and ingredients
The first step to setting up your raw food kitchen is to take a look at the type of food you buy, is it healthy, sustainable, whole and clean, or mostly some type of processed foods? Simply, you can start to phase out anything that doesn't fit the 'healthy, sustainable, whole and clean' format. Look through you pantry and dispose of all unhealthy culprits, including seasonings and sauces that contain preservatives, oils that are not cold-pressed, cartons and tinned food. Look for healthy alternatives, which also means learning how to read food labels.

When shopping for fresh produce, focus on reducing your exposure to pesticides and buy organic, or grow your own. You can visit farmers markets, or use a fresh food delivery service. If possible choose the freshest, ripest locally grown, vibrant looking food and food that is in season in your location.

Firstly, making a shopping list and stock your cupboard with ingredients that you already like and use regularly, then add small quantities first of new ingredients over time to test them. Think packaged dried goods (nuts, seeds, grains etc.), cold pressed oils, salt substitutes (like dried seaweeds or celery powder), herbs and spices, then add fresh vegetables and fruit, which require more frequent shopping trips. 

Wash and dry fresh produce and store them in their whole form in bags or containers that are not tightly sealed, in the refrigerator to allow them to breathe and to maximise freshness. Keep fruits that emit ethylene gas (apples, apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew, figs, avocados, unripe bananas, nectarines, plums, pears, tomatoes, peaches) separate from all other produce. Use up your most perishable produce first. 

Avoid cashews and peanuts. Cashews most often they are not truly raw and the nut is encased in toxic resins, while peanuts are commonly contaminated with moulds.

Daily work
Rinse sprouts and put nuts and seeds to soak in the morning while you are preparing your fruit or making a fruit smoothie.

Appliances and gadgets
It isn't really necessary to have lots of kitchen gadgets, but they do allow for faster and easier preparation time. I have to admit, I do love testing out new gadgets, so over the years in my raw food kitchen, I have acquired an array of gorgeous food prep play things.

The type of equipment you choose, will depend upon the type of raw food recipes you intend to prepare, so you can acquire kitchen equipment as and when it's needed.

Start off with some main pieces of equipment to make preparation in the kitchen easier. A masticating juicer for superior juices that retain more of their nutrients and enzymes; a blender that can deal with the thick nature of many raw food dishes and frequency of usage; food processor with lots of attachments, great for chopping; a dehydrator with a thermostat for making pie crusts, patties, fruit leathers etc; and utensils and knives that you feel comfortable using. 

You might also want to consider a mandolin which slices, juliennes and shreds vegetables quickly, decoratively and with so much ease. A spice grinder which is also known as a coffee grinder, these tools double as a great way to grind up fresh spices or small amounts of seeds or nuts. They can also ground flax seeds.  

Think about how to design your space that that when you're preparing a recipe, your process can flow easily from one piece if equipment to another, so where they are stored and located is important.

Storage
Store your seeds in a cool, dark place, preferably in glass containers. However, all seeds vary in their shelf life, and storing your seeds in the refrigerator will also double their approx shelf life. Nuts and seeds that are high in fats and protein can oxidise and become rancid over time, so store them in a freezer and ensure that they remain dry.

Generally, it's best to use dried herbs and spices within a year of purchase. Ideally buy whole spices and ground them yourself. 

Avoid plastic containers, glass is great for storage of dry goods and prepared foods. Glass jars come in most handy for fermenting foods. Raw kimchi, nut cheeses, sauerkraut and other pro-biotic raw foods are fermented and stored using glass or ceramic jars only. Glass bottles and jugs are best for your raw hut and seed milks, flavoured water and other drinks.

Sprouting
Sprouts are living foods, chlorophyl-rich and a great source of nutrients as well as anti-oxidants. Sprouting is so simple. Glass sprouting jars with their fine mesh caps commonly used in the raw food kitchen. You can do this without building a greenhouse. Believe it or not, the best place for you to grow all your sprouts is right in your own kitchen. You can pick and eat your sprouts on the same day. Learn how to sprout by watching a video, reading a book or attending a class. For your kitchen you will need these items to get you started:

  • Seeds
  • A sprouting vessel
  • Trays
  • Potting mix
  • A sprouting rack
  • A drain pan

"Sprouting really does not require a lot of space. You can grow five pounds of food in the form of sprouts in one square foot of kitchen countertop space. This takes care of all the beans, legumes, and leafy sprouts. Using a tiered rack such as the seven-tiered Hydrosol rack, you can grow all the wheatgrass, sunflower, buckwheat and pea shoot sprouts you need for two people in two square feet of floor space. You can have a nice butcher block cutting board cut to size to fit over your stovetop and use that area for growing sprouts."

Education
There is so much more readily available information about how to get started with raw and living plant-based food and it's accompanying lifestyle, that it's easy to yourself clued up, which will enable you to make more informed decisions. There is a great deal of conflicting information flying around, even raw food fads and fashion that encourage unhealthy habits; so pick from the best tried and tested sources. You only need to start reading, signing up for Sistahintheraw programmes or attending a local class as steps towards optimum health and wellness. See the list below to get on track.

Sistahintheraw holding her tray of sunflower sprouts

Sistahintheraw holding her tray of sunflower sprouts

Resource and Research:
Growing Your Own Living Foods - Sprouting The Easy Way. By Brian Hetrich. New Life Books ISBN-13: 978-0-6926-0055-9
http://hippocratesinst.org/how-to-set-up-your-kitchen-for-sprouting
www.sistahintheraw.com/products/
The China Study. By Colin T. Campbell and Jacob Gould Schurman

Want to know more?

Living Food = Vibrant You - Create healthier habits, try out one of my online wellness programmes, register here.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Anita McKenzie, is a Raw Soul Food and Holistic Health Lifestyle Mentor, she is founder of the brand "Sistahintheraw" and "Raw Soul Food" and a leading authority on Raw Food Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make healthier choices, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Sistahintheraw now atwww.sistahintheraw.com

Medical Disclaimer
Sistahintheraw.com provides information on this website as an educational service. This website does not provide medical advice. The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. The contents of this web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. The products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications and medical conditions.