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Sprouting seeds and grains

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Legume and grain sprouts combine wonderfully with solar cooking. Until I discovered Sprout People (sproutpeople.com), I thought of bean sprouts mostly as the long, fat type we enjoy in oriental cooking. Those are good, but now I know that you can take just about any bean (or pea, lentil, etc) that is viable (iow, not heat processed or ancient/stale/rancid) and sprout it just a little bit, just enough so there's a little root starting to poke out. If you cook it at this point, it will still be very close to a dry bean in taste and texture (for example, your chilli will still taste/feel like chilli), but they will cook more quickly and be much easier to digest. Basically, in the process of waking up, the seed digests the part that gives some people trouble.

Grains like rice or wheat or barley sprouted the same way--just a little bit of root sticking out--also cook quicker and are easier to digest. (You need unrefined/whole grains... I don't think 'pearled' barley or polished white rice would sprout well if at all.)

You can sprout the legumes and grain together, in a jar with one of those plastic sprout lids or cheesecloth or netting banded over the top. Soak for eight hours or so in cool water, then drain and rinse two or three times a day until the little roots start to poke out. It only takes a couple of days to get them to this point. I've got a batch going now... if it's sunny tomorrow we'll have solar soup for supper with a base of sprouted peas (assorted mixed... one of sproutpeople's blends), wheat, and barley. The last sprout soup, which was the first thing I cooked in my new 10-ream paper-box cooker I just made, was assorted lentils and barley sprouted together, with canned tomatoes, various vegetables and including some lovely spring leeks, kale, and chard that survived the winter in the garden. (It clouded over an hour or two earlier than I'd hoped, so I had to finish it in my slow cooker, but solar got it more than halfway to done before the clouds rolled in.) It was very yummy.

So next time you're thinking about what to cook in your solar cooker, consider giving sprout soup a try, and if you want to know more about sprouts, go to http://sproutpeople.com, because those folks really know their stuff.

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