Alkaline Grains FAQ
What Grains are Alkaline?
Alkaline Grains:¬† Amaranth, Buckwheat, and Millet are thought to be neutral or alkaline.¬† Quinoa is great as well.¬† It is not a grain but tastes like one and is so good for you.
Foods rich in acid-forming elements are generally high protein -- animal products and most grains. Foods¬† rich in alkaline-forming elements are most fruits and vegetables. Alkaline grains are millet, buckwheat, and sprouted grains.
Whole grains have important fibers that promote healthy digestion, compared to meats, which contain no fiber to help push foods through the system.
I have heard it suggested that if you sprout the grains it is much better for the body and can be more alkaline forming:
Basics of Sprouting
1.¬†¬† ¬†Obtain seed for sprouting. Store in bug-proof containers, away from extreme heat/cold. Seed should be viable, and, to extent possible, free of chemicals.
2.¬†¬† ¬†Basic steps in sprouting are:
- measure out appropriate amount of seed, visually inspect and remove stones, sticks, weed seed, broken seeds, etc.
- rinse seed (if seed is small and clean, can usually skip this rinse)
- soak seed in water for appropriate time
- rinse soaked seed, put in sprouting environment for appropriate time
- service seeds (rinse) in sprouting environment as needed
- when ready, rinse seeds. Store in refrigerator, in sprouting environment or in other suitable container until ready to use. If not used within 12 hours, seeds should be serviced (rinsed) every 24 hours in refrigerator. Best to eat as soon as possible, as freshness is what makes sprouts special!
Jars: use wide-mouth, glass canning jars, available at many hardware stores. You will need screen lids - cut pieces of different (plastic) mesh screens, or buy some of the special plastic screen lids designed for sprouting. Sprouting in jars is quite easy: simply put seed in jar, add soak water, put lid on. When soak is over, invert jar and drain water, then rinse again. Then prop jar up at 45 degree angle for water to drain. Keep out of direct sunlight. Rinse seed in jar 2-3 times per day until ready, always keeping it angled for drainage.
Cloth: soak seed in flat-bottom containers, in shallow water. When soak done, empty seed into strainer and rinse. Then take flat-bottom bowl or saucer, line bottom with wet 100% cotton washcloth, spread seed on wet cloth. Then take 2nd wet cloth and put on top of seed, or, if bottom washcloth is big enough, fold over wet seeds. Can add additional water to washcloths 12 hours later by a) sprinkling on top, or b) if very dry, remove seed from cloth, rinse, re-wet cloth, put seed back between wet cloths. Cloths used should be 100% cotton (terrycloth) or linen, used exclusively for sprouting, and of light colors. Cheap cotton washcloths (and cheap plastic bowls) work well and will last a long time.
Comparison: Jar vs. Cloth Methods
Jar method is more versatile; can grow greens in the jar (e.g., 6-8 day old alfalfa greens), and the jar is less likely to mold than cloth for sprouts that require more than 2 days. However, the jar method needs a convenient drainage system (otherwise mold can develop). The cloth method can withstand some direct sunlight (direct sunlight in early stages of sprouting can cook the seed in jars), and needs no drainage system. The methods require roughly the same time, though 2nd service of cloth is very fast. Almonds, buckwheat give better results in cloth.
Other Methods of Sprouting:
‚ÄĘ¬†¬† ¬†Plastic tube - variation on jar method; opens at both ends - easier to remove long sprouts like greens from tube than from jar.
‚ÄĘ¬†¬† ¬†Sprouting bags - cotton or linen; also plastic mesh. Soak seed in bag in water, then hang up inside plastic bag (forms a little greenhouse).
‚ÄĘ¬†¬† ¬†Trays: very good for growing greens. Might need drainage system.
‚ÄĘ¬†¬† ¬†Clay saucer: used for mucilaginous seeds like flax, psyllium, etc.
‚ÄĘ¬†¬† ¬†Commercial sprouters: wide variety available. Often fairly expensive; most don't work as well as cloth/jar methods!
What is the best time/length to eat sprouts?
Ultimately you will answer this question by experimenting - growing sprouts and eating them at different ages/lengths. My preference is to eat sprouts (except almonds, pumpkin seeds) when the growing root is, on average, the length of the soaked seed. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are discussed below.
A note on times: the sprouting times given below are based on cloth and/or jar method, and reflect an average time. The soaking times can be increased or decreased somewhat (except for buckwheat), with little or limited impact on the results. If you are using a different method, especially one of the commercial sprouting units, the times here will not apply and you will have to monitor your sprouts to decide when they are ready.
Grains and Similar Seeds
- Amaranth: Soak 2-4 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth. Very tiny seeds, likely to flow through screen in jar method; line strainer with sprouting cloth to retain seeds. Sprout can be very bitter. Might be able to grow as greens, if you can get appropriate variety of amaranth.
- Barley: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.25-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Use only unhulled barley; "whole" hulled barley and pearled barley won't sprout. Chewy, somewhat bland sprout. Hulls are tough; people with stomach or intestinal ulcers might find hulls irritating. Can be used for grass also.
- Buckwheat: Soak 15-20 minutes only; sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth. Use hulled, *raw* buckwheat groats. Kasha is usually toasted, won't sprout. Raw buckwheat is white/green to light brown; toasted buckwheat is medium brown. Unhulled buckwheat (black hulls) are for greens, not general sprouting. Don't soak longer than 20 minutes as it spoils readily. Monitor moistness, rinse or change cloths every 12 hours to avoid spoilage. Good sprout, mild flavor. Sprouts much faster in warm/hot weather.
- Corn group:
- Field corn: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 2.0+ days. Method: jar or cloth.
- Popcorn: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.5+ days. Method: jar or cloth. Blue mold can be a problem, esp. with field corn. Sweet corn seeds (if you can find them) will sprout also. Field corn sprouts, if long enough, are tender but bland/starchy tasting. Popcorn sprouts are very sweet, but the hull doesn't soften much in sprouting - very hard to eat. Not worth the trouble; suggest eating raw sweet corn (including raw corn silk, which is delicious) instead.
- Millet: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Hulled millet - most seeds will sprout, but some ferment, producing very sharp taste. Unhulled millet best sprouter, but hull is very crunchy and sprout is rather bland. Best used in recipes.
- Oats: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.25-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Must use unhulled oats; so-called "whole oats" or oat groats won't sprout. Good sprout, mild flavor similar to milk. Thick hull makes it difficult to eat; best used in recipes (see sprout milk recipe). Can grow as grass also.
- Quinoa: Soak 2-4 hours, sprout 12 hours. Method: cloth or jar. Very fast sprouter. Must rinse seeds multiple times to get off soapy tasting saponin in seed coat. Very fast sprouter; can grow as greens. Strong flavor that many find unpleasant. Small seed, line strainer with cloth. White and black quinoa are available.
- Rice: Soak 12-18 hours, sprout 1.0+ days. Method: cloth or jar. Only brown, unprocessed rice will sprout. White rice, wild rice are dead and won't sprout. Standard long grain rice doesn't sprout. Short, medium grain brown rice, also brown basmati (but not Texmati) rice will sprout. Before root appears, rice can be eaten but difficult: bland, chewy, *very* filling. Once root appears, rice sprout is very bitter. The only rice I suggest sprouting is: Lundberg Farms "Wehani" rice, a specialty rice (sprout 1.5 days). It is least bitter - less bitter than fenugreek - of possible use in recipes.
- Wheat/rye group:
- Rye: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Nice sprout - good flavor. Rye harvested immature or handled improperly can have strong, unpleasant flavored. If it molds, discard (ergot mold possible).
- Triticale is a cross between rye and wheat; used to be available from Arrowhead Mills, but haven't seen it in market for some years.
- Wheat, including Kamut and Spelt: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Hard Winter wheat better than soft Spring wheat. Wheat can get excessively sweet at 2+ days of sprouting. Spelt has nice texture, but spelt and kamut are more expensive than ordinary wheat. Wheat, rye, kamut, spelt, triticale can be used for grass also.
Sprouting Information by Thomas E. Billings