Sprouting for Health
Updated: Jul 26
Upgrade your diet by growing your own micro garden in the kitchen
We all know that whole grains and colored rice is good for us by now. However, what if I told you that there is a way where we can increase the health benefits and make it easily digestible right in our own kitchens? Its easy to forget that grains like rice, corn and chia seeds are actually seeds with a whole plant waiting to grow inside it. When we sprout our grains we actually increase the fiber, vitamins and minerals of our food and reduce the carbohydrates and calories.
What are sprouted grains?
Sprouting involves soaking all kinds of seeds (whole grains, legumes, nuts and small seeds) overnight to start the germination process. Think of small leaves and little roots wanting to grow.
Letting grains and seeds germinate makes the nutrients more bioavailable which means it is easily absorbed by our bodies. When the germination happens the phytic acid changes and minerals are release which makes sprouted grains a better source of iron and zinc. This can also be considered as a form of pre-digestion.
Any kind of whole grain which still has its germ and bran intact can be sprouted. All whole grains such as brown rice, red rice, black rice, and Adlai as well as beans, nuts and small seeds like chia and flax can be soaked and sprouted as well.
photo from John Sherwin Felix
The Philippines is so rich and abundant with rice varieties that the International Rice Research Institute of the world is located here in Laguna. We have thousands of heritage rice that are in danger of being extinct since no one eats them anymore. If no one eats them then no one will plant them and soon we will be stuck with the same limited GMO varieties that everyone eats. If you get a chance to try fresh and local heritage rice I highly recommend you try because they each have their own unique flavor.
My personal favorite is the Balatinaw black rice. It is short and sticky and can be found in the Cordillera region. Traditionally it is used in rice wines and desserts. There's many more out there waiting to be promoted and discovered. Some may say that the texture of colored rice is too rough compared to its white rice counterpart but sprouting actually helps in making these whole grains softer and more palatable. It also helps shorten the cooking time! So what are you waiting for? Lets start sprouting!
1. Wash the grains, beans, nuts or seeds of your choice.
2. Soak them overnight with clean water.
3. If it’s a whole grain, then soaking them overnight is enough and ready to cook. If it’s a bean then drain them and keep it in a strainer with a plate as a cover or a glass jar with some rubber band and cheesecloth. You can also purchase a sprouting jar online.
4. If you are using a jar, tilt it to its side to drain the water. Wash every 3-4 hours to prevent it from fermenting and spoiling
5. In 1-2 days, depending on the bean, you will start to see tails sprouting and that’s when you know it’s ready to cook!
6. If you don’t have time to wash every few hours or if your kitchen is too humid, you can also place your container in the fridge. Although the sprouting may take longer, you can limit your washing to about twice a day.