There is something about early spring that makes me want to sprout things. Last year around this time I became obsessed with sprouting mung beans and now I'm crazy-obsessed with sprouting lentils. Lentils are great sources of vitamins, protein, and fiber. I love eating cooked lentils, but sprouted lentils are delicious, fresh bites of goodness when tossed in with salads or lightly cooked in stir fries.
Sprouting lentils is also really helpful for people that have digestive issues or have difficulty digesting legumes. Sprouting causes some of the starches to be converted to simple sugars, making it easier on your digestive system. Delicious, healthful, and easier on your digestive system? Sounds like a win-win to me!
Sprouting legumes at home is incredibly easy and once you learn to do it, you'll never again pay high prices for sprouts at the grocery store. My method below describes sprouting them in a jar with a cheesecloth cover (to help drain them), but they can also be sprouted in a colander. Once you have soaked your lentils, simply put them in the colander to drain and keep a clean plate over the top so that nothing gets into them. Then you simply have to take care of rinsing the lentils and then waiting for your sprouts.
Sprouted lentils are wonderful raw on top of green salads or mixed into other dishes. I also like sprouting lentils and then cooking them in stir-fries and soups.
Ready to make your own? Let's get to it!
DIY Sprouted Lentils
about 1/2 - 1 cup organic, dried grey green lentils
Large glass wide-mouthed jar
Cheesecloth (or another light cloth) to cover the jar
Water for rinsing
You'll want to start by choosing some organic, dried grey green lentils and rinse them very well before soaking. (Remember that the sprouts will at least double in size so you only want as many as you can eat in a few days. I used a half cup and found this to be more than enough.) Remove any stones or other debris that might be mixed in with the beans. Also remove any broken or discolored lentils.
Put the lentils in your glass jar and cover them with water. Put the cloth over the top and secure with your rubber band. Soak them overnight or for at least 8 - 12 hours. In the morning, rinse and drain them well. There should not be any water left sitting in the bottom of the jar. If water sits and collects, this is where mold will develop and your sprouts will go bad.
Leave the jar in a cool, semi-lit place while the lentils sprout. I left mine in a corner of the kitchen, away from daylight
Rinse and drain the lentils well about every 12 hours or so. As long as you are diligent about rising them and not leaving water in the jar you should not encounter problems with slime or mold.
The sprouts usually take about three days to become fully sprouted. When the sprouts have reached your desired length, give them a final rinse and then transfer to the refrigerator.
I stored mine in a long shallow glass snapware container with some paper towels. They usually last about 7 days.