Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sprouting lentils

I was cleaning out some nooks and crannies in the kitchen last week and found the sprouting screen I bought....last summer. I had made one (failed) attempt at sprouting immediately after buying it and gave up.

In case you're wondering: a sprouting screen is simply a piece of fine mesh-type material that fits perfectly over a Mason jar (a wide-mouth, in my case), under the screw band; they cost about $1-2.

My first sprouting attempt failed because I failed to pay close attention to the details. I soaked hard white wheat berries overnight, and then instead of rinsing and draining, I just kept filling the jar back up completely with water. No, no, no. After 4 days, they looked and smelled very gross and there was no sprouting happening.

What you're supposed to do: soak your grain/bean/seed, completely submerged in water, overnight. Very important to use filtered water, too. Chlorine is not conducive to life! The next morning, you drain, rinse, then set at a 45-degree angle to allow it to continue to drain. And you rinse as many times a day as you remember (ideally at least 4), and continue with the draining. This is why a sprouting screen is so handy--you keep the grain/bean/seed in the jar and just drain them through the screen.

I have what seem like millions of types of grains and beans around. I decided on lentils, just because they sounded good. I only have plain, old brown lentils; I've wanted to buy green French Puy lentils and the tiny black beluga lentils, but Azure doesn't carry either, and I forget to check every time I'm at Whole Foods. I'm at a loss for where else to look.

So...I filled up my Mason jar (a wide-mouth quart), approximately one-third full of lentils (probably about one cup), rinsed them a couple times, then filled the jar to the top and left them overnight.

Then, the draining and rinsing. To drain, I propped the jar at an angle in a cake pan, which turned out to be a bad idea, as the pan was metal. You'd think living in the Pacific NW, I would have a better grasp on what happens when metal is exposed to moisture continuously. My screw band, cake pan and sprouting screen were sporting rust within a couple days. So YOU should use a better contraption for draining, as I will next time :)

I started this on a Friday night, and the sprouts were about a half-inch long by Monday afternoon.

My jar was very full; next time I'll use a bit less lentils.

As it happened, the day after starting the sprouting, I checked, one of my fave food blogs, and she had Palak Daal (an Indian lentil and spinach dish) posted as her newest recipe. I love daal. My lentils were sprouting. I had a huge tub of spinach from Costco. It was fate. 

This picture is the lentils right when cooking started. Apparently I forgot to take one of the finished product.

In addition to reaping the health benefits of sprouting, the recipe cooked in one-quarter of the time (a bonus to soaking grains, also). I also reduced the water to only 4 cups, as the lentils had already absorbed quite a bit, and it was perfect.  I didn't have the asafetida the recipe calls for; again, hard to find. We ate it with some homemade whole wheat flat breads (which I even managed to soak the flour for!) and yogurt, and I called it good for dinner. The recipe was really good, I'd recommend it, sprouting or not. 

And now, I am planning more sprouting adventures. Chia seeds from Azure are next, then some soft white wheat, I think.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my sprouting screen is rusty so I've been afraid to use it again. I even ordered a bunch of seeds for sprouting last year, which I still have.

    Your dinner sounds delicious.