Just like mung beans, you can't go wrong with these little legumes! Green, brown, red (as long as they're whole red lentils and not the split ones) all grow beautifully, black too apparently! Furthermore, you don't need to buy special sprouting seeds, as all the lentils I've ever tried have sprouted beautifully. Personally though, I do prefer organic. They're cheap (1 cup of dried lentils grows into 8 cups of sprouts), easy peasy to sprout, delicious and super nutritious! So let's get some onto your plate!
How to sprout lentils
Wash the lentils well, discarding any tiny stones you might find. It's a rare occurrence but can happen.
Put the clean lentils in a glass jar or bowl & cover them with plenty of cold water. If possible, throw away the initial soaking water after a short while, rinse and then soak again. (Not essential, but I like them to sit in nice clean water.) The beans will grow considerably in size, so make sure the jar is big enough and there’s plenty of water.
Leave them to soak for about 8-12 hours, or all day or all night. Don’t skimp on this step, the dormant seeds need time to awaken and activate.
Discard the soaking water (you can use it to water your plants) & rinse the lentils well. It’s as if they’ve been sitting in their dirty bath water all night, so give them a good rinse. They must start their journey clean and fresh!
Put the lentils back into the clean jar, or other sprouting vessel of choice, and cover it with a mesh lid, a piece of cheesecloth or something breathable.
Cover the jar with a dark towel or something to block out the light.
Rinse & drain well twice a day. Twice a day is sufficient but in the hotter months I sometimes rinse them halfway through the day too.
Within 4-7 days* they are ready to eat! After two days you get a little tail on them and they can be eaten but personally I like them around day 5-7.
1 cup of dried lentils will sprout into approximately 8 cups of sprouts in 5-6 days!*
*Depending on the temperature. The warmer it is, the faster the sprouts will grow.
2-day-old lentil sprouts
There are so many containers you can use to grow your lentil sprouts: hemp bags, a clean almond milk bag, any clean glass jar, practically anything really. I love how they grow in a carton. Here I grew them in an opened carton, popped a weight on top (I used a Sauer Stone, a glass fermentation weight), then a small jar of water on top of that to weigh them down and finally covered them with a dark cloth.
Place something on top of them to weigh them down.
Weighted down with a jar of water.
As they grew they pushed up the weight so I removed it after a few days. When you grow lentils in a carton they have to fight for space and strangely enough, grow really well. I used one cup of dried green lentils for this 1-litre container since it was open at the top. For a closed container one cup is probably quite a lot, as once they've filled up the carton, they have no more space to grow. They are packed tightly but it's easy to remove them from a carton as you just cut it open. When you grow them in a glass jar and they're packed in tightly, it's a little trickier to remove them (but still doable, lots of pulling and shaking!)
A litre of lentils.
Green lentil sprouts! Time to harvest!
After around 5-6 days of daily rinsing and draining, open up the carton (or remove from the sprouting vessel you are using).
A lentil sprout tower!
They'll be packed tightly :)
Rinse, look at them in wonder and enjoy! :)
Rinse and eat!
Here's 1/4 cup of brown lentils, sprouted for 5-6 days in a 500ml carton.
Have fun experimenting with various containers and drop me a line to share your successes!
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