The germinated seeds reserved for a long time for vegetarians and organic aficionados have appeared on the cards of the biggest starred chefs and have become very popular, prized in particular for their nutritional and decorative qualities. If they are easily found on the market, it is also possible to obtain them at home in order to eat them raw, in salads, or delicately combined to decorate a plate. We wanted to know more about this new guest at our table… The seeds kept in humidity germinate above ground, and have been used thus since Antiquity in Asia and Europe. It is not without reminding us of the lentil or bean sprouts that we saw as a child appear as if by a miracle on wet cotton!
Sprouted seeds: extraordinary nutritional properties
Seeds of lentils, soybeans, quinoa, chickpeas, sunflower ... We find the seeds sprouted in salads, sandwiches. They are very popular with vegetarians, vegans and athletes because they are very energetic. The germinated seeds are indeed a very good source of vitamins and minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron ...) and are full of enzymes. The enzymes in sprouted seeds will help digest cooked foods that lack them. True concentrates of vitality, sprouted seeds have nutritional properties far superior to those of dry seeds. The levels of vitamins and enzymes are in fact multiplied by germination. Natural and economical, these are little treasures of health to adopt!
What seeds can I germinate?
It is possible to use a large number of seeds, favoring organic seeds to avoid the presence of pesticides. Cereals: oats, wheat, spelled, corn, millet, rice, buckwheat, rye, quinoa, amaranth ... Legumes: alfalfa (alfalfa), lentils, chickpeas, beans, fenugreek, mung beans, azukis, green peas, green soybeans , clover ... Oilseeds: sunflower, sesame, almonds, hazelnuts ... Vegetables: carrot, cabbage, radish, leek, fennel, arugula, basil, broccoli, spinach, turnip, parsley, celery ... Mucilaginous: watercress, mustard, flax, arugula… Beware of seeds that should not be eaten germinated: tomato, rhubarb and eggplant seeds.
Make your own sprouted seeds
Various prepared seed mixtures are commercially available. But why not see your own sprouts sprout? No need to invest in expensive and imposing equipment. A few empty jars covered with gauze or fine cloth may be enough to create a germinator. First put the seeds in the jar (a small handful or 2 tablespoons of seeds) and cover with water. Close the jar with the square of muslin or gauze, fixed with an elastic band and then let stand overnight. The seeds will soak up water: this is the pregermination phase. Without removing the gauze, empty the water from the jar and rinse the seeds with water. Drain the seeds through the gauze. This should be done 2-4 times a day to prevent bacteria from growing. After 2 to 5 days depending on the variety, the seeds will start to germinate. They will be consumable after 3 to 10 days when the shoots reach about 3 cm. Store in a cool place and eat quickly within 2 to 3 days of "harvesting". Most commonly eaten raw, sprouted seeds can also accompany a hot dish, in a soup for example.
With sprouted seeds, some precautions are necessary
If you are growing them at home, it is very important to wash them well before germination, and to rinse the sprouts before consuming them. Germinated seeds have indeed been implicated in cases of poisoning by the bacteria E. coli. In 2011, the European Food Safety Agency therefore recommended not to sprout germinated seeds for its own consumption, following various poisonings. Indeed, if the sprouted seeds have very interesting nutritional properties, they can present health risks. Indeed, the production of germinated seeds, which is done in humidity and heat, can favor the multiplication of bacteria like E. coli, salmonella or listeria. Contamination can come from the water used to germinate the seeds, or directly from the seeds themselves. Vigilance is essential.