Monday, March 31, 2014

Sprouting Grains

Ever since my hubby spoiled me with a The Sausage Maker stainless steel food dehydrator and NurtriMill L`Equip grain mill, my life hasn't been the same.  

One of the staples in our home is sprouted grains which creates sprouted flour which creates a lot of yummy foods.

I have no desire to go gluten free.  Or grain free.  Do I have a gluten sensitivity?  Yes, a small one.  Stomach bloat after I eat to much white flour products...check.  But I am also a believer that we need a TON more fruits and vegetables in our diets, which create those little enzymes that help break down gluten and allows our bodies to process and digest food like they should.  And that from the years of crap that we have all eaten our bodies are simply tired.  Tired of trying to process crap.  So, inturn we have damaged our bodies, thus creating gluten intolerances and sensitivities.

Now, ask me why kids are having gluten sensitivities and intolerances at such YOUNG ages.  And I do not have a scientific answer for you......yet.  I have my own opinion about this.  But is not post worthy yet, without some hours of research and interviews invested first .  ;-)  

So, I have chosen a middle ground for myself and my family.  And here it is.....

When I eat out I use doTERRA's TerraZyme.  TerraZyme is digestive enzyme complex, click here to learn more about TerraZyme.  And I sprout my grains and grind my own flour, the majority of the time I am cooking and baking.  I do buy Organic King Arthur All-purpose flour to keep on hand, (which of course I soak before using it to bake.  and I highly recommend the ebook Is You Flour Wet?,  it is FREE now!).  And I am currently using their flour to make sourdough starter.  And of course I am always attempting new recipes with coconut flour and almond flour, just because it is a fun challenge to make dishes with these ingredients that taste good.  And I am thrilled that I am finding more and more dishes that we consider good.

I do believe that I need to make our grains the healthiest possible.  Thus, I sprout.

Sprouting is like a science project in your kitchen.  It is so easy.  Anyone can do this.  And if you don't have a food dehydrator, you can use your oven at it's lowest temperature to dry your sprouted grains.

Personally speaking, everyone needs a grain mill (who eat grains, that it.  if you can go 100% grain free, my hat is off to you).  They make great Christmas or birthday presents. ;-)  Even the good, unbleached, organic flour that we buy in the stores, has most likely been sitting in that bag forever.  Which means by the time we buy it and take it home most of the vitamins and nutrients are gone.  Which is utterly depressing.  Once again, we are eating more dead food.  I believe that if companies started to store this flour in freezers, some of the vitamins and nutrients would be preserved.  But....that hasn't happened yet.

So, on to sprouting.  Here are the basics to getting started.

Sprouting 101
Pour your whole grains (organic hard red wheat or organic soft white wheat*) into multiple quart or 1/2 gallon wide mouth canning jars, filling them 1/3 full (trust me, don't overfill...the grains swell ALOT and they won't sprout if they don't have room for air to circulate inside the glass jar) and cover the grains with reverse osmosis water.  Make sure you use pure, clean water here (I don't know if fluoride filled water will allow the grains to sprout or not).  Cut a piece of cheesecloth and place over the top of the jar and use the ring to keep the cheesecloth in place or purchase these lids from Amazon, I love mine.  Just make sure you are buying the sprouting lids with the tiny holes.  Some of the 3 packs have holes that the grains will fall through.  Let jars sit upright overnight on your counter with the water soaking the grains.  

In the morning, leave the sprouting lid or the cheese cloth on the glass jar and turn the glass jars upside down, draining the water off of the grains, remove the spouting lids (or leave the cheesecloth on) and fill again with clean water, covering the grains and turn upside down and gently shake the jars and pour off water (use a turning motion of the jars while draining off the water, this ensures that the grains are all getting rinsed as you pour off the water).  While holding the jars at an angle,shake the jars to get the excess water out.  Place all 4 quart jars in a tub or some sort of a container at an angle so the water continues to drain off of the grains.  See picture below. 

Ok, so you have the glass jars sitting at an angle.  Now you just have some small maintenance to do.  At different times today, rinse the grains with reverse osmosis water 2-3 different times before going to bed.  I am going to be honest here.  Some days mine get rinsed twice and that is it.  And they sprout just fine.  Each time you rinse the grains, shake and turn the jar to make sure all the grains are getting wet.  The grains cannot sprout without moisture.

You are going to do this for the next 2-3 days.  Keep watching, you will see sprouts sooner than you think!  Note:  Sprouting time may take 3-4 days, depending on temperature of your home, amount of grains you put in jar and number of times you rinsed the grains. 

When you start to see the grains sprout, it is time to dry!!

This is a batch from when I tried to make ezekiel bread, thus the beans and lentils.  I have some soft white wheat spouting now, I will take new pics of it and update here. 

In my opinion, these sprouts are to long for my grain mill.  Though, they are beautiful.  I will post new pictures later showing the correct sprout length you want. 
These are soft white wheat grains.  The sprouts are still a little longer than I prefer but better than the ones above. 

(Note:  DO NOT refill the jars with water and let them soak in the water for the 3-5 days.  You are rinsing the grains and letting the jars sit upside down at an angle with NO added water in the jars for the next 2-3 days.  Sitting them at an angle allows for air flow which will allow for the sprouting process.  I just let mine sit out on the counter top during the process.)

The goal is for the sprouts on the grains to be 1/2 the length of the grain.  

Note:  After 2 days of sprouting, hard red wheat berries become very sweet.  They are very tasty just raw.

After the grains have sprouted I place them on my dehydrator trays and dry at 150 degrees for 6 hours.  Don't overfill the trays or you will need to mix the grains up periodically while they are drying to ensure all of the grains are dry.

After the 6 hours, I leave the grains in the dehydrator (unplugged) or bring the trays out and let the trays of dried grains sit on the countertop for a couple of days.  This just ensures there is no moisture left in the grains.  Then I store the grains in 1/2 gallon glass ball jars that you can buy here (this price is crazy expensive, so I would ask around at your local hardware store and see if they carry them or if they can order them for you).  And I love these lids and I buy them on Amazon.  Then I label the glass jar what grains are inside and store them in my deep freeze until it is time to grind.

When you grind grains, you want the grains to be frozen.  That ensures that less vitamins and nutrients are lost in the grinding process.  The process of grinding heats up the grains when creating flour.  Thus, if you begin with frozen grains, it takes longer for the grain to heat up and kill off vitamins and nutrients.  Make sense?

Sprouted grains do not fall down into the shoot of grain mills like ordinary, unsprouted grains do.  So, I use a Pampered Chef citrus peeler to push the grains down into the shoot to grind.  It works perfectly.  (I know an awesome Pampered Chef consultant, if you are interested too.)  :-)

So, there you have it.  There is a lot to share but after you do it a couple of times it is so easy.

Make sure you save your cheesecloth squares for next time.  Use a safe and green dish soap and hand wash them and then lay them out to dry, until next use.

*These are the only 2 I have tried.  Don't try to sprout organic hulled barley, it doesn't sprout.  Trust me on this.  And pay attention to smell.  If you are starting to smell a strong, sharp odor from the grains before they have sprouted, they may not sprout.  This is what happened with the barley.  I just rinsed and rinsed them until I couldn't smell the sharp, sour odor any longer and then dried them.  I guess they could be called fermented organic hulled barley.  :-)  

Sprouting in a nutshell
-Organic red hard wheat (good for breads/pancakes)(i also make an all purpose with 1/2 hard red 1/2 hulled barley, I do not sprout the barley
-Organic soft white wheat (good for lighter pastries/baking)
-Glass Ball jars
-Reverse osmosis water
-Cheese cloth and canning rings or sprouting lids
-Dish pan

1.  Soak grains overnight, covered in water.
2.  Drain next morning.  Fill again with water to rinse.  Drain.  Place at an angle in dishpan.
3.  Rinse and drain grains 2-3 times per day.
4.  Keep looking for sprouts.
5.  When you see sprouts 1/2 the length of the grain then it is time to dehydrate.
6.  Dehydrate at 150 degrees for 6 hours.
7.  Leave grains sit in dehydrator for 2 days.
8.  Place sprouted grains in a large glass jar with lid and label.
9.  Store in freezer.
10.  Do not thaw grains before grinding.  Grind frozen.

Happy Sprouting!!

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