Dehydrated seeds have the water removed from the seed through exposure to dry air and warmth. The seeds are no longer living, like fresh seeds, such as peas and beans. They're not necessarily dead, just dormant. Sprouting seeds require the addition of water. The husk of the seed becomes completely hydrated, allowing the root of the embryo and the stem to pierce it. Seeds such as beans, lentils, barley and peas are often dried or dehydrated as a food source that doesn't require any other preservation.
Seeds should be completely washed before the dehydrating process if they're to be consumed afterward. Seeds to sprout do not have to be cleaned if they're to be planted in the garden. However, wash the seeds if they are to be consumed after sprouting.
Place the seeds to be dehydrated in a single layer on a cookie sheet or in a basket. Store the seeds in a warm dry place. Stir the beans in the basket so air reaches them. An electric dehydrator can be used, but is not required unless you live in a cold damp climate. Sprout seeds by putting them in a jar with just enough water to dampen them. Keep in a dark warm place, changing the water daily.
Preparation for Consumption
Rinse dried seeds several times. Soak covered in water overnight before cooking. Sprouted seeds should be rinsed to remove the water, drained and patted dry right before consumption.
Place the soaked seeds in a cook pot. Rinse again and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook until the seeds are soft. Eat sprouted seeds raw in salads and sandwiches or quickly stir fry.
Sprouted seeds will live for only a few days to a week unless planted in the ground. Dehydrated seeds are viable for months, if not years. A 4,000-year-old lentil seed found in an archaeological excavation in Turkey successfully sprouted, according to the Daily News and Economic Review.
Soak dehydrated seeds overnight covered with water. Plant in the garden at a depth of 1/2 to 1 inch depending on the seeds. Sprouted seeds need to be planted in the garden soon after the delicate embryonic root shows. If it breaks off, the seed will not continue to sprout and grow.