If you are curious about how to sprout whole grains, I am here to help you. I have been sprouting for quite some time, you might even say it is a passion of mine, and I am ready to share what I know with you!
What Is A Sprouted Grain?
Simply put, they are grains that have been soaked in water and given time to germinate. As part of the germination process, the whole grains will sprout.
To still be considered a whole grain, according to the Whole Grain Council, the sprout cannot be longer than the grain itself.
I generally sprout mine to about ¼ inch long. This is just a personal preference though, you can always sprout longer if you prefer.
So, the difference between a sprouted grain and whole grain is the sprouted grain is a whole grain that has germinated.
The Health Benefits Of Sprouted Grains Grains
You might be wondering if sprouted grains are better for you? This question is common! The main reason people go through the trouble of sprouting is for the health benefits. I will name a few below, but there are so many!
- Germination breaks down phytate, a form of phytic acid that normally decreases the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body. These nutrients include iron, folate, zinc, magnesium, etc.
- Carbohydrates are converted into simple sugars, proteins are broken down into amino acids, and fats are broken into the component fatty acids. These conversions make the food easier for the plant and humans to digest.
- A 2012 study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that wheat sprouts had higher levels of fiber, amino acids, and antioxidants after 48 hours of sprouting when compared to unsprouted wheat
- They reduce glycemic levels. They break down slowly, preventing the rise and fall of blood sugar
- Sprouted grains have many health benefits. It’s the result of catching the sprouts during the germination process.
The American Heart Association has a great article on whole grains, which holds true for sprouted as well. I also love this article from Harvard Health.
What Grains Can You Sprout?
Okay, one of the first things to learn is- you cannot sprout every whole grain. The grains need to be whole, I will explain below Here are the stipulations:
- In order to sprout, grain needs to be whole. Meaning we need the bran, germ, and endosperm intact
- The grains that are rolled, flaked, or cut will not sprout, these have been modified and it will not sprout
- You also need to be mindful of grains that have been “hulled” and “pearled”.
- Pearled means the grains have the hard outer layer is taken off, but also the bran. Hulled is also a term you need to be aware of. Hulled should only have the bran taken off. I have found, however, that many times, the bran is also removed in the process.
Where Do I Buy My Whole Grains?
I always prefer to shop local and use local farmers. If you don't have that option for buying your grains, let me share a few of my favorites.
Azure Standard is a co-op I am loving lately. They carry just about any grain you can imagine and have deliveries across the US! Farm Fresh Wheat is my source for soft winter wheat. Einkorn Wheat is a great farm for einkorn. Bluebird Grain Farms also carried einkorn, plus great rye I love and emmer. Barton Springs Mill is a company out of Texas that carries some cool varieties of heritage grains. They are pretty new to me, but have loved them so far!
What Tools Do I need To Sprout?
Sprouting actually requires very little from you! I will list what you need below.
- Whole Grains- This is a given. Go by the lists above and make sure your grain is whole. Some of my personal favorites to sprout are- spelt, rye, einkorn, white wheat, oat groats, and soft winter wheat.
- Sprouting container- This can be anything really. I prefer using quart mason jars as I love to see the grains sprouting.
- Perforated Lid- You can use 2 different things for this. The first is just basic cheesecloth. If you're using a mason jar, cut a square of cheesecloth to fit over the jar with a 2-3 inch overhang. You can secure it on the jar with a screw ring for the jar, or a rubber band. The second is an actual sprouting lid. This is what I use and love. They are pretty inexpensive. If you want to make a habit out of sprouting, they are worth the investment.
Safety When It Comes To Sprouted Grains
It is important to note a few things when it comes to safely sprout grains.
First, the environment you sprout in is an environment bacteria thrive in. Don’t panic. Here is what you need to know.
Start with clean utensils, jars, lids, etc. Once your sprouts have sprouted, move them to the fridge. Get them in a cooler space to stop any chance of bacterial growth.
Don’t be scared, but be mindful
How To Sprout Grains- A Step-By-Step Guide
Let's get into How To Sprout Whole Grains!
- Rinse ½- 1 cup wheat berries in lukewarm water. Give them a good rinse. Make sure and remove any rocks or debris. Most grains are well rinsed, but it is always good to check.
- Place kernels or seeds in a quart mason jar or sprouting containers.
- Cover the grains with a few inches of lukewarm water, then place a sprouting lid or cheesecloth covering over the jar.
- Place in a dark location and allow it to sit for about 2-4 hours. Drain all water off the kernels. Rinse well again. Germination has begun!
- Replace the lid and tip upside down at an angle to drain. I place mine in a bowl. Make sure if you are using cheesecloth, it is secured with a rubberband or screw lid.
- Rinse and drain again before going to bed. Return it upside down.
- The following morning you could see sprouts popping out! If it hasn’t sprouted by the following morning, don’t panic. Some grains and seeds take a little longer.
- At this point, the grain is technically sprouted.
- The second day you may need to rinse and drain a few more times to get those seeds sprouted, so if you don’t see a sprout in the morning, rinse and drain. Let it wait about 1-3 hours, then repeat again.
- Continue this process until you get the length you want.
I Have Sprouted, Now What?
Now the fun begins! There are so many great ways to use sprouted whole grains.
You can add the sprouted grains to your salads, this is my favorite way. You can eat them on a sandwich or wrap. They are also really good thrown in a smoothie. If you are making energy balls, you can throw them in there as well.
Another way to use the sprouted grains is cooking them and using them as you would any other grain.
The last thing I like to do with the sprouted grains is dry them out and grind them for flour. If you haven't tried baking with sprouted grains, you are missing out! The photo below shows sprouted rye berries that have been dried.
So, if you have always wanted to learn How To Sprout Whole Grains, now you know and now you are ready!!