Friday, February 6, 2009

Sprouted Wheat Experiment

I had heard from a very reputable source in the food storage community that if you stored your wheat/beans/seeds in cans or buckets and used the oxygen absorber packets it would kill the germination ability of the seed and make it so it would not sprout. Well, knowing how important it is to be able to sprout my food for nutrition, I've had some specially packed without the oxygen absorbers (oxy packs). Well, a post over at M.D. Creekmore's Survivalist Blog got me thinking about this information and I thought I'd better test it out. So here's the experiment, plus the basics on sprouting wheat since I haven't covered that on this blog yet.

The Wheat I used was white wheat. One batch has been stored in an orange tupperware for who knows how long. The second batch was packed in a mylar bag in 2002 with an oxygen absorber packet.
I put one cup of each wheat in a bowl and labeled them "plain" and "oxypacked". Covered the wheat at least double with cool water and let it soak. I started around noon on Wednesday. The seeds should soak "overnight". So if you start it before bed, you can move on to the next step in the morning, but if you start in the morning, they're done soaking by then end of the day.That evening, I drained the water off, rinsed the wheat and put it in sprouting trays. There are lots of containers you could use to sprout wheat, I just happen to like these trays better than using a jar or something like that. The seeds need to get air or they'll mold, but not too much air or they'll dry out.Then I put the lids on the trays and put them in a dark cupboard.I rinsed and drained the wheat in the trays again the next morning (Thursday), and returned them to the cupboard. By that evening, the wheat was already sprouting (the tray on the left has already had a handful taken out for tasting).
Here's the plain wheat at the end of approx. 36 hours:And the Oxy packed wheat at the same time:The little white things at the ends of the wheat are the beginnings of the sprouts. Both trays of wheat were sprouting. You could stop here and eat them, but I like my sprouts just a little longer so I rinsed them again and put them back in the cupboard for the night. Late this morning (Friday) I pulled them out and here's what I have. Plain wheat after about 48 hours (including soaking time):Oxygen packed wheat after approx. 48 hours (including soaking time):Now, it appears that the oxygen packed wheat actually is sprouting better than the tupperware stored wheat, most likely due to freshness. I do not recommend storing wheat in tupperware for any long period of time as it is not airtight, I just figured I'd use what was sitting around in my storage room open first for this experiment.

So the "advice" from an expert was proved incorrect. Kind of like the butter! Guess you really have to test stuff out for yourself sometimes!

For reference, 1 cup of dry wheat berries yielded 1 3/4 + cups sprouted wheat.


Anonymous said...

This was a great demonstration, thank you very much for putting this together. I just canned a bunch of wheat today using oxygen packs, so as I started reading your post I was nervous, and by the end, I was vindicated! Phew. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! We've been asked that question on our forum and I didn't know how to respond because I've never done an actual test. Thanks so much for sharing!

foodstr2 said...

On a slightly different subject, we found Alfalfa Sprouting Seeds that were NINE YEARS old in our Texas, unheated-uncooled warehouse. They sprouted like they were fresh.

See pics at

(I hope the oxygen absorbers used in your experiment were installed properly. They're a tricky item to use, and many people do it wrong, taking too much time for them to be effective...)

Angela said...

Connor and Jodi--You're welcome. It did me good to find out also so I know all the food I have packed with oxygen packs is not limited in how I can use it.

Foodstr2--That's great to know on the age of the seeds! And yes, this oxygen absorber was fresh and packed correctly. You can kind of tell in the photo, but the mylar bag was sucked tight around the wheat and it hissed air in when I cut it open.

Thanks for the comments!

megandjon said...

Yes, someone tried to tell me the same thing once, and I was like,"really? because I sprout my oxygen packed a couple years old wheat all the time!" The really great thing about sprouting (welll there are many) is that, besides all the super nutrition, it also makes food storage go longer!

Krystal said...

I always wondered how to sprout wheat...and now I know. I'm still trying to learn all I can about food storage. Thanks for this post!

Chef Tess said...

I love you! I get asked this question all the time at my seminars and I laugh every time! Same thing with the statement that you need a wheat grinder to make bread. You can actually take those sprouts and run them through a meat grinder and turn them into bread. Tutorial on my blog if you want to look at it. (sprouted wheat bread). Thanks for all your efforts! I will be sure to tell people about your blog!

Anonymous said...

Have you tried making rejuvelac from the wheat Angela? The drink it makes is not only nutitious, it is delicious!

I have how to on my blog, just type rejuvelac in the search section if you are interested, it makes a delicious alternative to cordials and juices.

Anonymous said...

Any plant should not be affected by a lack of oxygen. Remember your grade school science classes. Plants breathe carbon dioxide, and give off oxygen. (The opposite of people and animals.)
Now vacuum packed may be a different matter. Someone needs to try that experiment.