Today marks the beginning of my fun with sprouting grains at home! (Grains began soaking at 12:00 PM)
I’ve got 3 jars of hard red winter wheat berries currently soaking (step 1, see below) with different levels of grains just for fun and experimenting.
Hard red winter wheat berries are the most commonly used for baking, and in all-purpose flour. They aren’t always sprouted first. They are high protein, and sprouting will increase the quantity and quality of the protein content. Hurrah!
Sprouting at home in mason jars
What you will need:
- Mason jar
- Grain of your choice
- Your choice of covering (cheese cloth or mesh screen with mason jar lid ring -OR- plastic sprouting lids with mesh screen.)
- Always start with clean, organic, untreated grains!!! Don’t ruin the connection to your food and your health by soaking up pesticides.
- Sort through grains for dirt/debris. Rinse thoroughly.
- Soak grains, completely immersed, in filtered water for 8-12 hours to activate the sprouting process.
- If using cheesecloth or mesh screen: Cut covering to fit mason jar mouth with at least 1″ overhang around all edges to prevent covering from slipping during draining process. Most sites recommended 2-3 layers of cheesecloth, which is what I’ll be using this time around. Secure with thick rubber band (like those found on certain produce) or mason jar lid ring.
Our cat Jack decided to try to help me cut the cheesecloth. He’s not allowed on the counter though, so I booted him. I left the cheesecloth folded as seen and cut just around the mason jar lid. Squares work well too and save much time cutting.
- If using plastic sprouting lids: Screw on! So easy. Jar lids come in different sizes for different grains. Plastic lids are said to be better so rust doesn’t form on the lid ring from constant exposure to water. The mesh screen used in these is also the best size for air circulation. I purchased these ones today:
- Rinse and drain grains. Make sure that all grains are able to move around and all surfaces of grain are exposed to water. Allow the water to run through all the grains for complete rinsing. Once the jar is full, shake the water around and swish it in between the grains as you are pouring it out.
Rinsed grains at 11:00 PM, after soaking for 11 hours.
- ***IMPORTANT FOR FOOD SAFETY*** Many resources address the contamination issues that are possible when sprouting in mason jars, due to lack of circulation or the possibility of extra moisture remaining in the jar. Make sure to follow every step exact to get the best quality and safe sprouts to use!
- Rinse, rinse, rinse your sprouts! Rinse 3-4 times daily and make sure to “swish” sprouts around so water gets in between all sprouts and moves them around to circulate. Take care when rinsing to not damage delicate sprouts. Damaged sprouts may also lead to contamination.
- Drain, drain, drain your sprouts! After rinsing, make sure to thoroughly drain. I am planning on allowing the jar to sit on an upside down angle in dish strainer to allow more air circulation and encourage all water to continue draining out.
These are not laying horizontally, but are tipped slightly downward to allow continue drainage and air flow. (Draining grains at 11:00 PM after 11 hours soaking.)
- After 2-3 days, when sprouts reach your liking, rinse and drain one final time. (Note: the general consensus is that the sprout should end up being approximately the same size as the grain. However, shorter or longer sprouts can result in a different flavor so I will be doing some experimenting with this.)
- Refrigerate sprouts for whole use in cooking, baking, or raw in salads, or dehydrate sprouts into flour. I plan on formulating different recipes for bread using either whole wheat berries or sprouted grain flour, to experiment with the difference in flavor, texture, etc.
I also purchased an Excalibur 9 Tray Food Dehydrator today, something I’ve wanted for over a year now. I finally took the plunge! I think it’s going to be a good investment. Sprouted grain flours, dried fruit, kale chips! Even raw flatbreads. Hmm.. the wheels are turning.. Anyway, once the grains are sufficiently sprouted, I’ll move forward with either cooking with them whole or dehydrating them for flour, depending on when this bad boy gets delivered.
Before sprouting at home, consider doing some thorough reading on the sites I’ve pulled my information from. These sites all contain beautiful photos and a great voice of the process. I find, personally, before starting anything new its best to hear many different perspectives on it. Gets you the big picture and a broader understanding.