Sprouting Grains

Do you see the beautiful little live sprouts?

(Before I get into my post, just a quick little reminder that we will be having the Nourishing Sweets and Treats Carnival on the 16th, Hope you can make it!)

Once upon a time, I sprouted grain frequently and always had some dehydrated grain for milling into flour. I have since fallen from my sprouting good habits, but am determined to renew that habit.

(If truth be known, I am really into sprouting grains right now because I want to make some cookies with sprouted flour. Cookies are a great motivator. But since sprouting this batch of wheat berries, I remembered how very easy it is to do, and I really am going to make it more of a routine. *wink*)

Sprouting not only neutralizes phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of many important minerals (read more about it here), but it increases the vitamin content. Many people prefer sprouted grain because they consider it more alkalizing to the body. I mentioned in my post 12 Tips for Squeezing the Most Nutrient Rich Food From Your Dollar, in tip number nine, that sprouting grain gives you more nutrition for just a little bit of time, not more money. I am all for increasing nutrition without increasing my monthly budget.

You can lightly steam sprouted grain, add it to breads, or casseroles. Or, you can dry it in your dehydrator or oven, and grind it up to use in recipes that would be otherwise be hard to soak, such as cookie recipes. There are so many advantages and uses for sprouted grains, it’s a shame not to take advantage of them!

Sprouting Grain

Equipment:

Half Gallon Mason Jar
Sprouting Screens such a this one (A little screen that you screw on with the outer band of the usual jar lid. You can also sometimes find plastic ones at health food stores. I have also used a bit of cheesecloth, but it only works okay. )

Grains for Sprouting, such as, Wheat, Spelt, Millet, Rye

1-In the evening, fill your mason jar 1/3 full of grain and fill the rest of the jar with water. Leave out on the counter top overnight.
Soft White Wheat berries and Millet

2-The next morning drain your jar (the screen will catch all of the grain for you), and rinse the grain by pouring water in the jar through the screen, and gently rolling the water around to rinse all of the grains. Drain again, and place in a bowl or other dish that will hold your jar at a slant downwards (so that the grains will continue to drain and the air is able to circulate.
A bowl works fine.

A more flat container, like a pie dish works even better, and you can fit more than one jar in as well.

3-Rinse at least twice a day, three times is better, until you see little sprouts coming out of the grain. 2-4 days. I have often been surprised at how quickly my wheat will sprout.

Dehydrating Your Grain (to make into flour)

You can you use a food dehydrator (which I have done). Just make sure you have inserts that make it possible to put in such a small item, like grains. (I have used American Harvest’s beef jerky inserts, and their fruit leather inserts, with good success).

Or you can use your oven. Spread your grain out on baking sheets, making sure not to make too thick of a layer, so they dry evenly.
Sally Fallon recommends that 150 degrees be the highest temperature you use. Unfortunately, my oven only goes down to 170 degrees. I have been able to make it work however (I will periodically open the oven up, to let out some of the heat). My wheat berries took 7 hours to dry, but it could take a bit longer. You could also do it overnight. Just make sure that the grains are nice and dry if you plan on grinding them.

Grinding Your Sprouted and Dehydrated Grain

The easiest option is, of course, to use a grain mill/grinder. Just grind it like you would un-sprouted grain.

But if you don’t own a grinder you could also use an electric coffee grinder. I have one friend who uses her larger electric coffee grinder to grind all of her flour. It takes a bit more time, but it does work. You could also use a powerful blender (a vita-mixer works great).

Keeping Your Sprouted Grain

Your sprouted, but not dehydrated grain, can be kept for several days covered in the refrigerator.

Your sprouted and dehydrated grain can be kept for extended periods of time in the refrigerator.

It’s best to grind your berries right before using in a recipe, but if you have extra flour leftover, place in a sealed container in the refrigerator as well.

For more Info:

Sprout People
sell seeds for sprouting, and have info on the time it takes to sprout different seeds and grains and carry many useful sprouting tools.

Kelly also did a recent post on sprouting grains.

For those who don’t want to sprout their own, you can also buy sprouted flour, as a kind reader pointed out to me. (Thanks Mary!) Here’s the link, Creating Heaven. They also have a lot of information on why sprouting grain is so good for you.

This post is part of Works for me Wednesday.

KimiHarris

I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Comments

  1. KristenM says

    Thank you for this very informative post. Love the pictures, too. They really make it look easy!

    And you’re right. It really is time to sprout grains.

  2. Sarah says

    Funny, I was going to email you this week and ask you about sprouting grains and then dehydrating them to use later. I was wanting to use it for cookies and pie crust. You must have read my mind. Thanks for the info!! I love your blog. It is so helpful for me to getting things moving in the right direction and to encourage me. You’re recipes are great!! Thanks again!

  3. Spencer Andersen says

    What an elegant post! I’ve never seen sprouting so clearly laid out;) The first time I sprouted it was by accident. I was soaking some quinoa and forgot it in the fridge for a few days, that stuff is so aggressive it sprouted refrigerated and totally submerged in water!
    I think this is the best sprouting grain for beginners as it is soo agressively fast to sprout.
    I like to add some juice from cultured veggies in the soak stage to help break down the phytic acid even more, plus you know there’s good bacteria protection in the sprouting stage.
    Another added bonus is faster cook time when not re-dried, nice with whole grains. Great post Kimi! Keep it up:0)

    • LynnCS says

      Spencer. Thanks for your post. I bought several kinds of sproutable grains, including Quinoa. Tried everything and didn’t get it to sprout. It softened enough to eat, but couldn’t get it to sprout. Now I’ll try it again. Do you suggest leaving it like you did, or soaking over night. This is exactly why I got on this site, to look up how to sprout Quinoa. I was ready to send it all back. lol. Thanks, Spencer.

  4. Suz says

    Great post! I’ve always wanted to start some sprouts, but never really looked into it… just buy them on occasion. I’ll have to try it one of these days!

  5. Kimi Harris says

    Kristen,

    It really is so simple! Every time I do it, I wonder why I don’t keep the habit up because it’s so simple to do.

    Sarah,

    How funny! Good timing I guess. ;-) By the way, following up on our previous conversation, Elena’s rash has almost completely disappeared since I took eggs out. So that was definitely it!

    Trying Traditional,

    What do you like to use your flour for? I would love to hear some ideas from you. :-)

  6. Kimi Harris says

    Spencer,

    Thanks so much. :-) Adding some juice from cultured veggies is a great idea. I may try that sometime. You are right, cooking time would be greatly diminished, good point. Thanks for the comment and ideas!

    Michelle,
    And dehydrating is easy to do too! :-)

  7. Trying Traditional says

    Our top use for the flour is bread. I also use it for crackers, pancakes, biscuits, crusts for meat or sweet pies, pizza dough, and the occasional cookie. Then there are odd ball things like a clafoutis, sauces, or other recipes I find needing a bit of flour. So far as the actual sprouted berries, I’d like to try making a mixed grain porridge sometime, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

    When I soak mine, it is in a big bowl with water just to cover it mixed with a little whey. I usually have a short tail within 12 hours. I think the key part is to rinse it really well before drying it. I have an Excalibur dehydrator that along with my mixer are the two hardest worked “gadgets” I own.

    I’ve become very fond of sprouted quinoa served warm or in a cold salad. In fact, I was at a place last week that served a quinoa salad that had some bits of seafood, fresh greens, and a vinagrette dressing. If only I could get the recipe for that!

    It has become so common-place in my routine and kitchen that I really do not give it much thought. I had to really stop and think before writing what I use the flour for!

  8. Jen says

    Thanks for the instructions on how to do this. I think I am going to give it a try after the holidays are over. It sounds so easy.

    You know this is really a timely topic. I am going to school to be a dietitian and just finished up a nutrient metabolism class. It amazed me how the absorption of most of the nutrients (calcium, zinc, iron, and many of the minerals) are inhibited by phytates. I have been soaking my grains pretty much ever since I started reading your blog and finished reading Nourishing Traditions back over the summer. It just irritates me that the information is there in black and white in our textbook, but soaking or sprouting our grains is not taught to dietitians. I guess it is a fine line between educating our patients and overwhelming them with too much information. It certainly should be mentioned as an option though. If people choose not to do it, that is their choice.

  9. Sarah says

    Is it better to use whey/ lemon juice when sprouting grains and beans? Can you dehydrate sprouted beans again for the same effect? I never remember to soak them overnight. Does the phytic acid break down better if you sprout the grain before grinding or after? I’ve been grinding the wheat and soaking it overnight in water and lemon juice, which I’m sure if fine, but is sprouting the grain whole better?

    I’m glad taking the eggs out worked! It’s tough having a child with allergies. The good thing is that you caught it early, so she will probably outgrow the allergy. Keep it out for a year and try again. I find it easier on the system to make something with eggs in it and see what happens, introduce it back in a little at a time.

    As an egg replacer I used 1 Tablespoon whole flax seed ground in a coffee grinder until a fine meal mixed with 3 Tablespoons warm water. Give it a minute to set up. It works great! I used it in almost everything; cakes, cookies, quick bread, pancakes. Really the best substitute that I used. I made wacky cakes that don’t use eggs or dairy and it really is a supper moist cake. Yummy!

  10. Mary (Mary's Nest) says

    Hi Kimi,

    Thank you so much for this visual primer and all the great links for the stuff needed. I am going to give this a try and see how it goes. I am so inspired how you do all this wonderful stuff.

    Love,

    Mary

  11. Anonymous says

    Kimi,
    Thank you so much for this post. It is such a blessing…I had been researching the last few months more in depth about how to sprout grains…you make it look easy…..I am a visual learner…so thanks for the great steps & pictures…..you also saved us money…so Thank you….we had been looking at sites where to buy the sprouting jars & lids…I had put off ordering right now due to the cost…but then I saw your link to azure for just the screen…. I was just putting my azure order in so I ordered 2 of the screens….
    Thanks so much….

  12. Kimi Harris says

    Jen,

    Isn’t that silly? It drives me crazy sometimes how little information is put into the hands of people seeking help with their diet.

    Sarah,

    I don’t think that you really need to use the lemon juice or whey, because once you have sprouts, there is no need to worry about phytic acid. :-) And I always soak my flour after grinding, as I think that it is a very effective way to eliminate phytic acid. Is sprouting better? It does have unique properties (like increasing nutrients, making the grain more alkalizing), but it is also a lot more work, and does make more dense baked goods.

    I am using the flax seed binder as well. It does work wonderfully, though I notice that baked goods don’t brown as well. Weird!

  13. Kimi Harris says

    Anonymous,

    Yes, some of the sprouting stuff is expensive, but using the little screens on the mason jars really make it a cheap endeavor. I may someday get a nicer set up, but really this works very well. :-) I am so glad that my post “caught you” in time before you sent in your azure order.

    Hey Caroline,

    Welcome to my site! Great job sprouting beans! You motivate me to sprout some myself soon. :-) And yes, the wheat is SOOOO easy to sprout (at least it always has been for me).

  14. Anonymous says

    Kimi,
    I just realized that I did not sign my name on my last post…the one from Anonymous…sorry….one of those days I guess….
    Have a great day…and thanks again for the great entry…
    Jessica O.

  15. Candace @ A Garden of Blessings says

    I’ve been doing this for a while now and it really is simple. It makes those spur of the moment baking projects doable!

  16. Julia says

    I’ve been doing a ton of experimenting with making gluten free baked goods from soaked and/or sprouted whole grains. Sometimes I sprout them, but sometimes I just make the batter after soaking the grains overnight. I am wondering just soaking is beneficial, as I know that how much you allow the sprouts to grow is really a preference. Thanks!

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Julia,
      Good for you!

      Soaking can very effective in reducing anti-nutrients, and I do that method often. :-) Sprouting has it’s own benefits, but I also think that soaked grains are good for you too. :-)

  17. adrienne w says

    I recently bought broccoli sprouts and am concerned about the safety of eating them. Do you think buying sprouts is safe? I am thinking about growing my own sprouts.

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Adrienne,

      This, of course, is a very personal choice issue. But I think that they are really pretty safe. I just did a new post about the benefits of sprouts (both raw and cooked sprouts), and in it I give a few links addressing this issue. Read through those, and research it a little, and see what you think. :-)

  18. gen says

    I need help, I did the whole sprout, dehydrate, and grind. But my flour likes very fine but is sanding when eaten, even cooked(as in cookies). Added to boiling water makes a good mush though(sandingness goes away). What am I doing wrong?

  19. ls says

    hi,

    after the 2nd step of draining the grain in a dish with slanted position(without lid), does it mean just have to leave it that way with no water? then just rinse it twice a day n drain it in the same way?

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-way-to-soak-brown-rice.html
    here is a link where i found the way he sprout brown rice is a bit easier than here.is the method in this link result no difference from the method above? but i’d soak it over than 24 hours and it turned out sour, so i wonder can i still keep the sour soaked water for the next batch
    ,i’m soaking brown rice for my 4 months old bb

    reagards,
    ls

  20. Naomi says

    I am interested in sprouting my grain (mostly wheat right now). Just ordered an Excalibur dehydrator and waiting for it to arrive, and the grains will be the first thing I use it for. My question is how does one know when the grains are thoroughly dried? I DO NOT want to damage my mill with grain that still has some moisture in it. Maybe someone can tell me how long they dry their grain and at what temperature. I have a WonderMill, and it is one sensitive baby. Not to mention costly. I realize this is an older topic, but maybe someone will stumble onto this and help. Thank you!

    Naomi

    • Linda says

      I dry my sprouted grains at 115F for 12 hours and don’t have any problems running them through my Nutrimill. I have had problems in the past on very humid days, so I have moved all my grain and equipment into the basement where it is much drier on a hot humid day.

  21. EJ says

    I love your post and your sprouting setup. I mostly tie up the grains/beans in a cloth instead of the jar/screen method. It works, but is a bit messy. I am going to try your method next.

    For those looking for ways to use sprouts for something other than baking, here is my favorite recipe: (Version of a popular Indian recipe)
    1 part of any sprouted beans (mung works best)
    1 part of any soaked/sprouted grain (sprouted quinoa or soaked brown rice work best)
    1 cup of grated carrots, or zucchini, or finely chopped spinach/kale
    Salt
    1 Serrano pepper (if you like things spicy)
    1 inch piece of ginger
    A few springs of fresh Cilantro

    Grind everything (but the carrot/zucchini/spinach/kale) in a blender with some water. Add water until its the consistency is that of pancake batter. Now add the carrot/greens.

    Spread them out a little thinner than pancakes on a greased skillet, flip and let cook on both sides. Make a quick and healthy breakfast.

  22. Linda says

    Does anyone know how long I can store sprouted and dried grain before it starts to lose any of its nutritive value? I usually sprout 25 – 50 pounds of wheat berries at a time (over a couple of weeks) and then just store it in sealed jars so it’s ready to go when I need to mill.

  23. Laura52 says

    I sprouted white wheat berries very successfully. I attempted to dry them in the oven on 150 for 7 hours. BUT I think they might have over cooked. They smell a little burnt. I did grind them in my magic bullet. So I’m afraid to use them in anything b/c I don’t want to ruin it. Are they supposed to smell a little burnt?

  24. says

    Hi Kimi -
    Have you ever had trouble sprouting spelt versus other grains? I have been perfectly successful with seeds, beans and millet in the past but I just tried some wonderful spelt that I got locally, and ended up with clumps of moldy grains before really any of them sprouted.
    First, any thoughts on what I did wrong? I rinsed them 2 – 3x per day in a jar with cheesecloth on the top, always leaving it upside down in the dish rack to drain in between. Nothing different than what I did with the others.
    Second, I picked out the moldy clumps and put the rest of the grains into the refrigerator. Do you think that the remainder are safe to eat? I was planning to cook them anyway, probably just by steaming – but now I’m questioning myself….
    Thanks in advance for your help!

  25. Valerie says

    Would there be any benefit in sprouting oat groats and than rolling them in my roller mill?
    I’ve been rolling my own oats for many years.

  26. calle says

    Hi, new here so have many questions.

    I need to sprout all kinds of things as realize that my body needs that. Does anyone have a recipe for general baking made up of beans and grains that works well?

    Has anyone set up a cart with screens for larger amounts of sprouting? I need to sprout larger amounts for the whole family and my counters won’t hold many jars. I was thinking of sewing sprouting bags and hang them above the tub.

    Thanks,,

    Calle

  27. says

    I like to sprout enough to fill up my dehydrator, so I use a very large bowl instead of multiple jars, and do the draining part by placing a splatter screen over the top of the bowl and holding it on while I pour out the water.

  28. Gloria says

    Thanks so much for such an informative blog! I’ve been visiting from time to time when I need inspiration.

    OK so speaking of inspiration, I decided to get a sprout screen and start sprouting my grains. I’ve done it now 3-5 times. Do you or anyone else have any issues with the screen getting rusty spots? I’ve been cleaning off the rust between sproutings, but am just wondering if it’s truly safe for the grains to touch the rust like that…

    Muchos gracias and please keep up the excellent work!

  29. says

    I’m wondering if when I’m soaking a grain in water in order to sprout it….should it be soaking in the acidic water? Or does it not matter since it’s going to sprout?

  30. Amy says

    Has anybody tried to mill dried sprouted wheat berries in a Nutrimill? I have a Nutrimill and my wheat berries won’t go through. I don’t want to try again and ruin my mill. I spent this week sprouting these berries and now Im not sure that I can mill them in my mill.

  31. says

    Which grains can be sprouted for consumption in a gluten-free diet? Saw an ND today and she thinks I may either have celiac or gluten intolerance, so I’m trying to research how to get the most nutritious “bang for my buck” with the upcoming stretches to our food budget…

  32. Shelley says

    Is there any advantage to first soaking your whole grains with an acidic medium, then rinsing before sprouting them?

  33. SweetCarol126 says

    Can you pass the dehydration by using the Vitamix to blend it all together or must it be dried first and then blended in the Vitamix?

  34. Virginia says

    Interesting stuff here. I have sprouted my beans before cooking for years ~ yummy. My Grandmother (born 1875) used to soak her ‘Quaker’ oats every day to cook the next morning. I forgot that step when I had my own kitchen and wondered why I became sleepy after eating my oatmeal when I never did with Grandma’s. I have since started again and VOILA! Like Grandma’s – not sleepy. So evidentally, for me anyway, soaking rolled oats before cooking makes them more digestable also. She never poured off the soaking water ~ just cooked in it. ORGANIC of course.

  35. sarah says

    I read somewhere in the web that soaking oats overnight with yogurt and a bit of water helps for digestion. I got to say besides the great taste of the oatmeal, i certainly do not bloat eating them. This is the best tasting oatmeal i ever had.

    In regards to sprouting. I have a big family so i need to sprout in bulk. I just placed the berries in deep colanders. I had bought a set of three from costco ten years ago. I had been using the smallest size of the set all this time. But finally got the rest out and put them to work. It worked amazingly. Now to dehydrate them.

    My question is once dry can i store them in mylar bags in buckets with oxygen absorbers and how may years can they keep?

  36. says

    I am just sprouting my first batch of spelt and rye berries. Followed all your instructions and some of my rye berries have 1/2″ tails,but some have not sprouted yet. How long should I let them go / I want to dehydrate them to make bread.
    Also, where can I find a good cookbook dedicated to baking breads with sprouted grains or making sourdough bread., perhaps making the starter with sprouted grain flour?
    Thank you. Helen

  37. says

    Hi!

    What is an “extended amount of time?” I have been storing my sprouted dehydrated hard red wheat in thr fridge about 6 weeks now, and I’m thinking it might smell a bit off…

    Thanks!
    Meredith

  38. Deepa says

    Hi

    For more than 3 years now, i have been sprouting around 23+ variety of grains. I clean then for any unwanted grains. Then wash them well, and soak them over night. The next day morning, place then individually in separate cloth and tie loosely. And the sprouts come out of the cloth. (not all of them sprout at the same time, some are very quick and some take time. For the first time, i had no idea, and i combined all the 23+ variety in one big bundle which should be approx 3-4 kilos combined, and i waited for the all of them to sprout and some of the early once like ragi, wheat, green gram, chickpeas, peas started to decay and rot while i was waiting for the others to sprout.) so i had to discard them, next time, i started to sprout them individually. So once one is done, just dried them(not in direct sunlight). Takes about a week. Then as they are dried, store them in airtight boxes. The rest i grind and stays good for about 8 months, which i use to make bread. Really healthy. But i have not done any test to determine if the flour loses its nutrients.

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