You can sprout lentils in roughly the same way as you can sprout mung beans or soybeans. It involves a minimum of props and is worth trying, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan who is concerned about any nutrition that may be missing from your diet in the absence of meat and animal products.
- Place a couple of handfuls of dried lentils in a large transparent receptacle. A wide-bottomed glass or perspex bowl is ideal. You can use other things for sprouting, such as a wet cloth, or specialized seed sprouting equipment, but a glass bowl is easiest.
- Fill the bowl with water so that the lentils are totally immersed, and leave for 24 hours.
- Empty out the water and rinse the lentils using a sieve. If you're sprouting orange lentils the rinsing is important, as they tend to ooze a fair amount of starch into the water. Continue rinsing until the water is clear.
- Place the lentils back in the container and place it near a window or other source of natural light. The lentils will germinate without natural light but they won't be as healthy. Direct sunlight is also bad if there is too much of it.
- Rinse the lentils twice a day for as long as they are sprouting. You can eat them after 1 or 2 days, when they've just started to grow, or you can leave them a week. If you leave them too long they turn into plants - for flavour and nutrition the best time is probably between 2-4 days.
Nutrition and Health
The process of photosynthesis and germination changes the chemical composition of the lentil, increasing the amounts of the following substances:
Exact information on the chemical changes in sprouted lentils is hard to find, but most sources agree that almost every substance naturally present in the lentil increases during germination, and that existing substances, such as starch and protein, are broken down and effectively predigested by the activated enzymes, making them easier to assimilate.
Lentils are a legume, and as such are high in protein and can be hard for some people to digest. The sprouting process should make digestion easier, but they may cause a lot of gas in certain people, who should probably avoid them.
- Can be grown anywhere, in any climate or season.
- No need for soil, sunshine or fertilizer.
- Dried lentils are extremely cheap, especially when bought in bulk, and can be stored for a long time in the right conditions.<;/li>
- Sprouted lentils, and sprouts in general, are known as one of the most complete foods available to humans, with protein levels rivalling those of meat and Vitamin C levels equal to most citrus fruits.
- Require little or no effort (though admittedly 3 days of waiting may be too much forward thinking to people who are accustomed to microchips and boil-in-the-bag rice)
- Low in calories.
- If the sprouting process is continued until leaves appear, some sources state that the chlorophyll helps to fight cancer.
- Finally - they taste good! Sprouted lentils are as sweet as sweet garden peas and crunch nicely. Yummy.
References and further reading: