Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Standards for Sprouted Grains

Lately, sprouted grains are all the hype.  While it was once considered crazy to set a jar of soaked grains on the counter and watch them begin to grow little sprouts, it sure isn’t now!  Sprouted grains are regularly featured in many different forms of media such as T.V. shows, magazines, books, and the Internet.

The reason grains are commonly sprouted is because the seed has growth inhibitors that only allow it to grow when the moisture content and temperature are acceptable.  Once it begins to sprout, enzymes transform the starch into molecules that are much easier for the seed to digest.  Even though more research needs to be conducted, sprouting supposedly increases the bioavailability of some vitamins and minerals.  In addition, some people find that sprouted grains are easier for them to digest. 

Sprouting is relatively inexpensive if you choose to sprout on your own.  However, you may have noticed the prices of the already-sprouted-grains in the grocery stores are a bit higher than the non-sprouted variety.  The process of sprouting grains is fairly simple.  Sprouting requires choosing a grain, soaking, rinsing, draining, and placing them in a jar for a few days.  Most people would prefer saving time by purchasing already sprouted grains and, unfortunately, manufactures have taken advantage of that. 

The Whole Grains Council is making an effort to set standards for sprouted grains.  One of the reasons the Council is pushing for this is to help protect the consumer and ensure that they are truly getting what they paid for.  As of right now, there are five areas the Council is considering regarding the sprouting standards.  These include
·      Having a minimum and maximum sprout length
·      Using lab tests to verify that the grain is, indeed, sprouted
·      Establishing nutrient tests to determine when the sprouting occurred
·      Establishing what percentage of grains must be sprouted
·      Setting microbial and safety tests for sprouting

The next part of the process, the Whole Grain Council says, “is to establish sub-committees that can actually test these standards.”  In the mean time, you can taste sprouted grains by purchasing ones that are already sprouted or you can even dabble in some sprouting yourself.  While they may simply be grains that have been sprouted, they also just might be simply delicious.  Give them a try sometime and use them just as you would regular grains.

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