Sprouting hulled oats

My Sprouting whole oats trial was a hassle with hulls and a poor germination rate. This week I used hulled oat seeds from a different vendor, and a different study, Degree of oat sprouting, as my model.

  • Oat variety of Avena sativa was a small seed, 7 mm x 2 mm. The model used “huskless oat ‘Gehl'” which is a different species (Avena nuda).
  • 100 seeds weighed 1.5 grams. There were over 1,300 seeds per 20 g batches.
  • Oat sprout batches were processed the same way I do broccoli sprout batches. A new batch started soaking to start germination every 12 hours, then was rinsed three times every 24 hours on a 6 hours – 6 hours – 12 hours cycle. I have an open question to the model’s corresponding coauthor to explain their “4.5‐hr wet steeping, 19‐hr air rest, and 4‐hr steeping, all at 20°C” procedures to start germination, since I didn’t have access to its cited study. The model grew oat sprouts for 1, 2, and 3 days.
  • Temperature in my kitchen was 21°C (70°F) because it’s winter outside. The model grew oat sprouts at 10, 14, 20, 25, and 30°C. Their findings included “Temperatures between 20° and 25°C yielded the most dramatic changes in properties of sprouted oats.”

I evaluated germination results per the model’s Degree of Sprouting finding:

“Length of the coleoptile [shoot] was selected as a criterion of categorization of degree of sprouting. Grains of degree 0 do not show any radicle [root] or coleoptile growth. Degree:

  1. Has visible embryos (small white point), while radicles and coleoptile are not visible;
  2. Shows a developed embryo emerging from the seed coat;
  3. Coleoptile lengths of at least half the oat grain length;
  4. Coleoptile lengths between half and a full grain length; and
  5. Coleoptile longer than a full grain length.”

Most of this trial wasn’t a big deal, adding just a few extra minutes onto what I do three times a day with broccoli sprouts. Here’s what this oat variety’s hulled seeds and 3-day-old sprouts looked like:

The tedious part was evaluating degrees of sprouting. I took as large a bottom-to-top sample as I could tolerate sorting (235 seeds / sprouts, about 17%), with these results:

A 97% germination rate. 🙂 Average weight of three 3-day-old batches was 51.9 grams, for a 260% weight gain. My 5-day-old whole oat sprouts trial had a 22% germination rate and a 221% weight gain.

The model’s Figure 3 Degree of Sprouting finding for 20°C and 25°C at 3 days was hard to read:

Don’t know how 0 degrees of sprouting at 20°C and 25°C > 1% reconciled with their statement “Germinability after 3 days was about 99% at all temperatures.” A numerical table wasn’t provided – yet another question for the corresponding author. Meanwhile, I’ll estimate:

Their hard-to-read Figure 3 also wasn’t completely congruent with their statement:

“Around 20% of grains sprouted at 20° and 25°C had a coleoptile longer than a full grain length (degree of sprouting 5).”


These oat sprouts taste milder than my previous trial’s. With more than a third at a degree-of-sprouting 5 measurement, they’re sweet, concurrent with the model’s findings that:

“Increased amounts of reducing sugars and ascorbic acid were found particularly in the radicles and coleoptile. Coleoptile and radicle growth (input parameters for the degree of sprouting) and reducing sugars and α‐amylase activity are interdependent.”

Corresponding increased enzyme concentrations produce an aftertaste, though. I eat them along with either food or drink.

Can eating three-day-old oat sprouts of this Montana cultivated variety help with what I’m already doing? Here’s what I expect, given the model was a different oat species, and the Sprouting oats and Oat sprouts analysis studies used different oat cultivars.

1. In order of magnitude: increased antioxidants, GABA, phenolic compounds, protein, amino acids, β-glucan, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Don’t know about GABA and protein, but the others may help counter inflammation.

2. Increased enzyme intake. The model study used α-amylase as a marker for α-amylase enzymes (catalyze starches), protease enzymes (catalyze proteins), and lipase enzymes (catalyze fats).

Oat sprouts analysis characterized increased α-amylase and lipase activities as undesirable in a sprouted oat flour context. More on enzymes in Part 2 of Sprouting hulled oats.

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