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Many chicken owners may consider growing lentil sprouts to feed to their chickens. Lentils are inexpensive and when sprouted are a fantastic treat that your chickens will enjoy time and time again. When it comes down to actually making it happen, some concerns may be that they are difficult to sprout, you don’t have enough space or time to do it etc. We’re here to help.
You can keep your birds very happy year round by giving extra protein to keep their strength up, regardless of the climate or time of year. One way to give them that extra protein is by sprouting your own grains, seeds or legumes. Not only is this extremely easy, it’s inexpensive and fun for the kids to help with as well. Let’s dive in to lentil sprouts.
Chickens Aside, Why in the World Should You Eat Sprouts?
Sprouts are one of the healthiest things we can eat. They are incredibly easy to grow literally on our own kitchen countertops. You do not have to even go outside and get your hands dirty (though, I would argue that’s where all the fun is). Here are some reasons why we should all add sprouts to our lifestyles and homes.
- Nutrient levels are enhanced in the sprouting process. This cannot be emphasized enough. Just a tiny bit of research will show you quickly that sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse. Fiber, protein, enzymes, vitamins, and essential fatty acids just to name a few.
- Vitamins A, B-complex, C and E are the vitamins that sprouts are predominately providing for your body. What does that mean? That means your vision, reproductive health, immune system, energy levels, brain function, cell metabolism, and antioxidant levels are all given a major boost by including sprouts in your diet. These are so easy to do, it’s worth it.
- Inexpensive and locally grown. Not much else to say about that. Again, how many things have such health benefits but can grow on your countertop? Apartment gardening anyone?
There is even a sprouting kit you can purchase that comes with everything you’d need to get started!
Whatever you decide will ultimately come down to the quantity, your time invested, ways you’d like to use them, amount of chickens or family members you have etc.
I like to use mason jars for a variety of reasons:
- They take up minimal space (we live in a small home & kitchen).
- We have a smaller flock of birds here in the city.
- We do not eat a huge amount of sprouts. One jar is enough for a week.
- I love the beauty of them. Maybe this doesn’t matter to you, but it brings me joy to see the lentils sprouting swiftly as we’re going about our days. They create an earthy backdrop that is alive and functional.
- Easy for the kids to help. When transferring to and from jars, putting lids on, rinsing and dumping etc. the kids are able to easily help every step of the way. Happy kids, happy life.
Ready to Get Started on Your Lentil Sprouts?
- You will need your nutrient rich lentils, a large bowl, water, a 32oz mason jar (or other container), outer rim piece to the mason jar lid, and a piece of cheese cloth or other thin fabric (we just used old worn out kitchen towels). Or you can actually buy sprouting lids specifically made for sprouting.
- Soak 1/2 cup of lentils in bowl of water overnight (8-12 hours). Half a cup will fill one and a half 32 oz mason jars. We usually give a whole jar to the chickens and keep half a jar for ourselves. One cup of dried lentils equals three full 32 oz mason jars when they’re completely sprouted.
- In the morning the lentils will have gotten slightly more plump. Drain out all of the water and then add to mason jar.
- Once all are in the jar, place cloth on top and screw the lid on top of the fabric. Make sure it is snug in place. Drain any excess water. Place the jar on a windowsill or countertop that gets sunlight, but not direct.
Now, You Wait.
Twice a day (morning and evening for us) you will need to re-soak the lentils. Simply remove the lid and add water. Place lid and cloth back on. Turn upside down to drain all water. Make sure all the water is completely gone. You do not want to have mildew. You can even leave the jars upside down and at a tilt so that water can drain out (just make sure you still have airflow).
Sample, Stop Rinsing When You’re Happy
At this point you get to watch the sprouts grow. Sample them each day to get a feel for the flavor you’d like. Early on they taste more tart to me, then after a few days have more of a sweet, earthy taste.
Above you see them sprouting only after 24 hours of first soaking. As the sprouts grow and expand, they will need more space. For this batch we used one cup of dried lentils, so ended up with three full jars.
Once they’ve reach your desired flavor, empty jar, let dry and store in the refrigerator for one week. Usually my happy place is after about four days of sprouting. Lentil sprouts can be eaten raw or cooked (think sandwiches, soups, salads, pastas, curries, pizzas etc.). If these are for your chickens I hope you enjoy watching your birds devour a tasty treat.
*Preservation of food is essential to homesteading & emergency preparedness! Freeze drying is the most lightweight option for food storage and has a shelf life up to 25-30 years. Harvest Right is an excellent company that has in our opinion the best at home freeze dryers on the market. Check them out and see what you think:
Enjoy yourself with this one and don’t forget to include the kids. Guarantee they will love it and make memories lasting for years to come.
If gardening is your interest, learn more about different gardening methods so you can choose what works best for you. Also learn about how to start seeds indoors as a beginner, or how to start seeds using egg cartons from home.
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Wishing you and your family all the best on your self reliance journey!
Herbs, Birds & the Bees
Garden, Chickens, Bees & Homestead