There are so many different kinds of gadgets out there for sprouting: special sprouting jars and mesh lids and home sprouting devices...
I've been sprouting grains and legumes for a couple of years now and I have never purchased a single piece of special equipment in order to do it successfully!
Here's how I do it:
- Soak grains/legumes/seeds overnight in a bowlful of water. Make sure that the water level is much higher than the grains or whatever you are sprouting. They will absorb quite a bit of water! I usually put in about twice as much or more water than the amount of sprouting material that I add.
- In the morning, I pour everything into a plain old kitchen strainer/colander. I rinse the grains very, very well this first time, as some things that you will sprout will emit a mucilage (somewhat of a sticky, mucus-like type of coating) after being soaked. You want to make sure that you rinse this off completely, or else your grains may end up going bad rather than sprouting.
- After rinsing, I place the strainer over a large bowl (to catch the drips), cover it loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and set it off to the side on a kitchen counter.
- Every evening and every morning I rinse the grains very well, shaking them around a bit to make sure that they are all thoroughly rinsed and that there are no dry areas. The grains need to stay damp at all times. In the middle of the day, I often take a peek to make sure that they are not drying out, and if they are I will do just a quick rinse/spray to keep them moist. In the summer, when it's warmer out, I often need to do this third rinse.
- Depending on the temperature of your home, it will take anywhere from 8 or 12 hours, and up to 3-4 days for the grains to sufficiently sprout. You want to make sure that they all have cute little tails, perhaps a couple of millimeters long (hmmm... in imperial this might be an 1/8 of an inch?).
Here are a few pictures of my sprouting process:
These ones are buckwheat.
I've also sprouted chickpeas and lentils, using the same process. You could also do the same for seeds, if you want to make sprouts for sandwiches, salads, etc. but you would need to have a strainer with very small holes.
Another option would be to find some sort of plastic or wire mesh, cut it into a circle the size of a canning jar, and using a canning ring to hold it in place. You can then rinse them by pouring water right into the jar, swishing it around, and then draining the water. Set the jar on a bit of an angle, to allow the sprouts some breathing room. Once they have stated to sprout, you can spread them out on dinner plates, as my mother-in-law does, and put them on a windowsill or in her case, on the floor in front of her sliding glass doors, to catch the sunlight for added chlorophyll.
And what do I use these for? For grains, I can either blend them up into a batter or dough in my blender or food processor. I use the buckwheat to make a raw, sprouted granola in the dehydrator. I also dehydrate sprouted spelt grains, so that once they are dry I can make flour that doesn't need to be soaked before baking (I used this for my tortillas last week and they were awesome!).
The chickpeas I use to make raw hummus or dehydrated falafels- so yummy! The lentils I used in another raw dish that was dehydrated. We really disliked the particular recipe I used them for, but I'm sure there are many great ways to use sprouted lentils!
And sprouted seeds are the perfect addition to any sandwich, especially my favorite- stuffed inside pita bread! They are also a great addition to a salad, just sprinkled on top before serving. We also put them in our tacos sometimes, for an extra nutrition boost. I've even blended them up in smoothies or in a fruit leather mix (shhh... don't tell my family. They couldn't even tell!)
So who says you need a bunch of fancy equipment to make incredibly nutritious sprouted foods in your own kitchen? A bowl, a strainer, a cloth, and lots of water- works for me!