Sprouts are so healthy and so easy to grow yourself. I’m not sure why I’ve waited so long to grow my own. I guess I didn’t really see the need. I don’t usually eat sprouts myself even though I am aware of all of the health benefits. But now I have two reasons to grow them: chickens and Trim Healthy Mama.
For THM, I can eat sprouted bread and honestly, buying sprouted bread regularly puts a dent in my grocery budget! I recently had to buy a loaf and it was over $6 for one small loaf!!! YIKES!! That’s especially hard to pay for someone that often makes their own sandwich bread. But I bought it because I honestly didn’t know how to make my own.
And know what I discovered? It’s very easy. I already have a grain mill and grind wheat berries for my own flour. Not all the time. But sometimes. And to make my own sprouted flour, all I do is grow sprouts, dry them in (my recently purchased) food dehydrator and then grind them. Presto! Sprouted flour to make sprouted bread. I hope to do that maybe next week!!
But for now….
We have a few chickens. It’s part of our wanna-be-homestead. They are spoiled and love treats and I like to spoil them. When I read that sprouts are not only very healthy for chickens but also a great way to cut down on feed costs, I took the plunge to sprout.
I like this method the best because I only need to sprout a little at a time for our small flock.
First, I purchased whole grains. For this first batch, I just went to my local health food store in the bulk section and purchased barley, winter wheat berries and raw sunflower seeds.
I tried the wheat and sunflower first and just combined them because I had read that they sprout at the same rate. I don’t believe this is true. (I picked out the sunflower seeds when I feed my baby chicks the wheat sprouts at 2-3 days of sprout growth.)
Look through the grains and pick out any pebbles, debris, etc. Now, thoroughly wash them. I used a mesh strainer.
After rinsing the grains, they need to soak overnight. I have a bowl that the strainer fits in and just kept the water up about an inch over the grains. Then I put it on the counter and covered it with a kitchen towel.
The next day, I drained the water, rinsed the grains again. No more soaking. Now, after they get rinsed, I ran my hands through them, allowing any water to drip out. Then I spread the grains up along the edges of the strainer so that the air can circulate more freely. This is to prevent mold. You can see this in my barley picture above. The strainer is not that full but the thickness of the barley is evenly spread over the bottom and sides of the strainer.
You will continue to rinse and spread to dry two to three times a day over the next couple of days.
It depends on how much sprouts you want as to when to actually use them. For flour, I plan to use wheat berries after the second day of sprouts showing. For my youngest chicks, they only get early sprouts too. My older chickens will get the sunflower seeds and the longer sprouted wheat berries.
The following is my 4th day of sunflower/wheat sprouts. This is as long as I let them get.
The chickens LOVE them!! I have read that I can let the sprouts grow even longer (at least the wheat) until it forms young grass, called fodder. I might eventually do that but right now, I like the flexibility of using the sprouts for flour for my family or for the chickens