I love carbs! and who doesn't? They're filling and delicious and some people, like my 6' 4" boyfriend, Zak, require A LOT of them to keep going throughout the day. So, we eat carbs with almost every meal, but it's so hard to find high quality, minimally processed flour and sprouted grain products, like Ezekiel Break are SO expensive! That's why I sprout my own wheat and Zak grinds it for me.
I first learned about the benefits of eating sprouted grains from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats and haven't looked back since (when I can get it that is). But, the budget has been a bit tight lately since student loans are kicking in and our recent move to Rabbit Ridge Farm in West Virginia. Sprouting and milling my own wheat is a great way to make delicious, nutrient dense, food for cheap. It takes a bit of time, but it's well worth it.
So why are sprouted grains better than their unsprouted counterparts?
Well, according to Whole Grains Council, whole grains contain starches for long term storage while waiting for the proper conditions to sprout. Once the grain begins to sprout, the enzymes in it transform this starch into simpler molecules that are both more easily digested by the baby plant as well as by humans. The ease of digestion allows our bodies to absorb more of the nutrients from the grain, including more vitamins and mineral, especially Vitamin C.
The following instructions are for whole wheat grains, but it is applicable to almost any grain and even some legumes, like dry beans. In this recipe, I am using hard red wheat, which is great for storage, plus we have a ton of it (mine is from 2006 and I still got almost 100% germination). I use hard wheat because soft wheat does not store well and has poor germination rates. Here's some good products to use:
Now down to the nitty gritty: The Recipe
Step 1: Fill a large clear glass container less than halfway full with whole grain hard wheat. I like to a large mason jar or a clean bulk salsa jar, especially one with a wide mouth.
Step 2: Cover grain with water and let soak overnight. Do not put a regular lid on. Instead, use a piece of fabric and a mason jar ring or rubber band. You can also use a lid specifically designed for sprouting in mason jars. I prefer the metal ones to the plastic, and they're less expensive too, but the plastic ones won't rust:
Step 3: In the morning, dump out the entire contents of the jar into a fine wire mesh strainer. Rinse the wheat thoroughly and let drain for a few minutes before returning to jar. Make sure it drains well to prevent it from molding.
Step 4: Rinse and drain grain thoroughly 1-3 times a day for 2-3 days or until it begins to sprout.
Step 5: Eat it! At this point it can be eaten in soups or salads as is. If you want to make flour you will have to dry the grain.
Step 6: To dry, spread the grain in a food dehydrator in a single layer. Dehydrate below 113 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-24 hours. It is not recommended that you let the temperature go above 113, as it may damage the enzymes in the grain. For this reason, I would not recommend drying the grain in the oven as most ovens only go down to 170 degrees at their lowest setting. If you do decide to dry it in the oven, keep it on the lowest temperature possible and dry for 8-12 hours.
Step 7: Now, you will need to grind the grain. I use an antique hand crank grain mill that I found at an antique store (pictured above). They do sell newer versions, which you can find at Lehman's or Amazon, but they are not as sturdy. They also make electric ones and even attachments for kitchenmaid mixers if you are running low on elbow grease.
That's all there is to it! Happy sprouting!