Tuesday 9 June 2020


There is no point  in doing science unless you write it up and put it out there . . . even if the results are negative . . . especially if the results are unexpected. A week ago, I described my cup-o-soup set up for sprouting legumes. I can report that there was no difference in sproutability between the two packets of speckled lentils; one beyond and the other within, its sell-by. If anything, the older packet was greener, quicker than the less desiccated sample. There are too many variables to come down with any certainty but might it be that the old pulses sense that this is their last gasp and reprogram to get leaves out and up asap. You can see the 3-day progress picture above.

A week after Start of Sprout, I finished the lentil experiment by shaking the sprouts into a small sieve and rinsing them through with cold tap-water. Two modest heaps: speckled lentils L - lentilles vertes R. It is difficult to tell them apart at this stage and I'm taking them to be kitchen-equivalent. You don't want to exaggerate the nutritional benefits of sprouts vs beans: they are a little sweeter and more digestible because sprouting mobilises the starch, breaking it down into its component sugars so that they can be converted to energy for the exhausting business of growing up. It also reduces the concentration of phytic acid which has a habit of preventing the absorption of minerals, vitamins and micro-nutrients.

But I like the idea that you're allowing [natural] enzymes to do the heavy lifting of preparing the dried out, gravel-hard seeds for consumption by His Blobbiness. Every day soaking in moisture is 10 minutes less fuel for cooking. But let's not knock cooking! There is an argument that fire-for-broiling was a key step in human development. Boiling or baking: either could convert doubtful roots, seeds and dead animals into a tasty meal. Yes, it was hugely energy intensive but it was super-quick and it gave proto-people leisure to tell stories, plan hunts, educate the kids. Our nearest rellies spend pretty much the whole day chewing and burping their way though handfuls of leaves and fruit and haven't got to the bang-two-rocks-together stage even now. That was then, when there were only 4 million people looking for sticks to burn in the whole of Africa; now there are 4 million people scavenging for fuel within a day's walk of Nairobi. Bring on the sprouts, lads!

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