Here are my lentils after about 48 hours - they're almost ready to eat. :)
You probably know that lentils, chickpeas and other legumes are a good source of amino acids (protein), vitamins and minerals. But did you know that most of the time the amino acids, vitamins and minerals stay locked inside?
Here is a cheap and easy way to 'unlock' all that nutritional goodness. In other words, an easy way to make it bioavailable.
What does 'bioavailable' mean?
Nuts, seeds, legumes and grains are full of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. However, their outer layer acts as a kind of barrier which keeps all of this nutrition locked inside.
The nutrients are most accessible when the dormant legume/nut/seed/grain becomes a live plant. In other words, when it sprouts into life and has all the nutrients and energy to make a new plant. This process breaks through the outer 'barrier' which had been keeping the nutrients locked inside and makes them available to use.
So to put it simply, bioavailable simply means when the nutrients are accessible - when they are biologically available to your body.
How to sprout your lentils and make them bioavailable
I did an online nutrition course with nutritionist Khush Mark recently. I learnt from her that we need to unlock this outer layer to access the nutrition and make it bioavailable.
I also learnt that sprouting is a really simple way to do this.
When I was young, my brother had a sprouting kit which I thought was amazing! I'd help him go through what seemed like a very time consuming process with different layers of seeds waiting to sprout.
During Khush's course I discovered that you don't need a fancy kit to sprout lentils!
Here are five simple steps to prepare your own sprouted lentils.
All you need is:
Put a small handful of lentils into your jar. Cover with water until there is at least 2 inches of water above the lentils. Then cover the jar with a mesh lid or single layer of muslin cloth. Secure with string or an elastic band.
Soak for at least 10-12 hours, or overnight.
Rinse and drain thoroughly a few times with water. Put the lentils back into the jar and cover with the muslin cloth or a tea towel to keep off the light.
Be patient! It will take about two or three days for the sprouts to develop. If it's warm then rinse and thoroughly drain the lentils each day to make sure they don't go mouldy.
Once the sprouts are at least 1cm long they are ready to eat! Rinse and thoroughly drain. If you're not eating them all right away, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.
Rinse and repeat.
You can easily do this every few days or once a week to keep your supply going. You can experiment with different legumes etc to see which ones you like best. They are great added to salad or even as a snack on their own.
Interested in finding out more?