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Wednesday, with sprouts.

September 21, 2011

Some people see Wednesday as the armpit of the week. Others, the groin. My Facebook and twitter feeds are full of hump-day lamentations; Wednesdays appear to be the struggle-street epicentre.

For me, they’re just another 24 hours, 3 meals and 2 snacks worth of opportunity to gorge myself on sprouts.

No, not these kind of supermarket-grade wannabe-sprouts.

I’m talkin’ D.I.Y, love-infused, tiny, mini, edible, incredible, plants. You sprout them, nurture them, beam proudly as their perky little tails unfurl from within…

…then devour them in their awkward teenage years; parenting was never my strong point.

Buckwheat sprouts. They’ve been brewing in jars on my bench top and freaking out my roomies. But despite their mocking inquiries (what the hell are these pubes growing in a bowl on my table?) I’m forever converted to seedy, weedy germination. Why? So glad you asked!

‘Sprouting’ a grain, seed or legume means just that; allowing the little embryo inside to germinate and begin to mature into a fully fledged plant. Have you ever stopped to wonder what you are really cooking when boiling up some buckwheat or quinoa? They’re seeds after all! Even rice, lentils, chickpeas...anything will sprout given the right conditions. Provide water, sunlight and a warm room and they’ll start to bud, making you feel like you’ve resurrected Frankenstein’s monster and breathed life into a dormant husky vessel. And so you have! Sprouting is important for a number of reasons; let me list them for you in a helpful, bulleted manner:

  • Sprouting requires soaking, whereby the seeds/grains are allowed to sit in pure water to kick-start the process. Soaking assists in the breakdown of phytic acid, a pesky anti-nutrient which interferes with our absorption of some minerals. Especially zinc. (FYI Australian soil is criminally deficient in Zinc; we need to retain that shiz).
  • Once the seed begins to germinate, it becomes extremely high in enzymes, vastly improving digestion and rendering some grains edible to even the gluten intolerant! Bravo.
  • With the addition of the green shoot, the chlorophyll content skyrockets. We <3 chlorophyll for its cleansing, nutritive, blood-purifying, iron-boosting properties, and of course that signature green pigment that is the nutritional traffic light for GO!
  • The whole nutritional composition of the grain changes as it transforms into a living entity. It is now more leafy green and lower in starch than it was before – and the amino acid profile improves hugely (ie. more available protein for our hungry warrior muscles).
  • Vitamins and minerals become more bioavailable.
  • Did I mention you are now consuming a vibrant, live, whole food? The energetic potential of food is enormous, and it’s wonderful to chow on something that’s delivering zingy cell-food that’s alive & kicking.

For a long time I was supremely afraid of all kitchen ventures spanning more than 20 minutes. Sprouts? Don’t they require perfect humidity, impeccable sterilisation and some kind of designer, multi-leveled-sprouting-condo?

Not so, friends. All you need is a glass jar with a wide mouth, a strainer, some kind of cloth-like device and a witchy-kitchen bench top to stage your foray into the world of slow food.

Do this:

  1. Grab yourself some buckwheat. The pale groats, hulled. Organic, if you please.
  2. Pour some into a bowl. Don’t bother with measurements. Who needs specifics? Guesstimate. Leave it to destiny.
  3. Cover the buckwheat with filtered water, about an inch over. I usually buy a bottle of spring water because I don’t like the idea of my babies marinating in chlorine. But again, choose your own adventure.
  4. Soak for 1-2 hours. Not too long, they’re only little.
  5. Strain and rinse. Drip as much water out as you can.
  6. Spoon back into the jar, without the H2O. Lay it on it’s side in a warm-ish place. Anywhere in the kitchen is fine. Loosely cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth or mesh.
  7. Come back and rinse them off every 8 hours or so, to dampen and stop the growth of mould.
  8. After about 1.5-2 days, you’ll have buckwheat tadpoles, ready to throw into salads, smoothies, stir-fry’s, your gaping mouth.
  9. Store in the fridge; eat within 2-3 days.

Now that my brains have sprouted, i’ll leave it to you to tell me about your own slow food experiences. Jumped on the sprouting bandwagon? What’s stopping you?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2011 1:13 pm

    Glad to have you back and blogging, especially if you’re talking about buckwheat pubes :)

    • Catie permalink*
      September 22, 2011 9:32 pm

      I only ever touch on the most serious topics; pubes just don’t get enough airtime!
      Thanks Lindsay, you’re still my decadent, home-cooked foodie inspiration!

  2. September 22, 2011 1:41 pm

    Don’t talk to me about sprouts I’ve been sproutin them grains for 40 years…
    But in all seriousness how good are real foods! even soaking almonds for a little while makes me feel so much more energetic when I eat them…
    Now I can’t wait to soak some buckwheat and make a tadpole army of my own ;-)

    • Catie permalink*
      September 22, 2011 9:33 pm

      Knew you would’ve been sproutin’ since Nantucket days. Cheers Christian!

  3. Hannah permalink
    September 22, 2011 2:20 pm

    It’s point 7 that scares me. Mould!
    I’m super absent minded and those 8 hours would stretch to 12 before I saw my little jar of sprouts and remember this step. And then I’d be worried that they’d be mouldy and I would’ve wasted the seeds or that they’d look fine have tiny invisible mould (I’m not even sure that’s a real thing..) and I’d eat it. And that’s gross.

    • Catie permalink*
      September 22, 2011 9:39 pm

      I had the same reservations Hannah! As a matter of fact, I’ve had some kidney beans soaking on my benchtop for about a week now that have officially crossed over to the land of swamp monsters and nightmares…so they’re gonna have to go. But with the sprouts, as long as you rinse them regularly and don’t leave them sitting in a heap of water they should be fine! You can tell if they’re off :)

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