Apr 12, 2011

Nuts & Seeds: Benefits of Soaking or Sprouting

If you've started reading raw cookbooks, you've probably noticed that soaking nuts and seeds is a pretty common practice!

The main reason soaking nuts and seeds is so important is because they contain enzyme inhibitors. The purpose of these enzyme inhibitors is to protect the nut or seed until it has what it needs for growing. Nature allowed the inhibitors and toxic substances to be easily removed when the conditions (enough rain and sun) were met.
In nature, when it rains the nut gets enough moisture so it can germinate and produce a plant. The plant then continues to grow with the sunlight. By soaking nuts and seeds, you release these toxic enzyme inhibitors AND increase the life and vitality contained within them!

The Benefits of Soaking Nuts and Seeds
  • Enzyme inhibitors get neutralized.
  • The amount of vitamins your body can absorb increases.
  • Gluten breaks down so digestion is much easier.
  • Phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of vital minerals, is reduced.
Soaking times vary with the nut. Generally the more dense the nut, the longer the soaking time. Ideally, soaking should be done at room temperature.

Soaking and Sprouting Times

It's pretty basic and not an exact science. You just need a glass container (or you can buy sprouters) with something to strain on the top (I used clean nylons once, or linen, but I prefer the metal strainer lid I bought at a nutrition store that tops a mason jar). The goal is to soak , and then keep rinsing to keep them moist, but not wet or dry--balance.

Nut / Seed Dry Amount Soak Time Sprout Time Sprout Length Yield
Alfalfa Seed 3 Tbsp 12 Hours 3-5 Days 1-2 Inches 4 Cups
Almonds 3 Cups 8-12 Hours 1-3 Days 1/8 Inch 4 Cups
Amaranth 1 Cup 3-5 Hours 2-3 Days 1/4 Inch 3 Cups
Barley, Hulless 1 Cup 6 Hours 12-24 Hours 1/4 Inch 2 Cups
Broccoli Seed 2 Tbsp 8 Hours 3-4 Days 1-2 Inches 2 Cups
Buckwheat, Hulled 1 Cup 6 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8-1/2 Inch 2 Cups
Cabbage Seed 1 Tbsp 4-6 Hours 4-5 Days 1-2 Inches 1 1/2 Cups
Cashews 3 Cups 2-3 Hours 4 Cups
Clover 3 Tbsp 5 Hours 4-6 Days 1-2 Inches 4 Cups
Fenugreek 4 Tbsp 6 Hours 2-5 Days 1-2 Inches 3 Cups
Flax Seeds 1 Cup 6 Hours 2 Cups
Garbanzo Beans
(Chick Pea)
1 Cup 12-48 Hours 2-4 Days 1/2-1 Inch 4 Cups
Kale Seed 4 Tbsp 4-6 Hours 4-6 Days 3/4-1 Inch 3-4 Cups
Lentil 3/4 Cup 8 Hours 2-3 Days 1/2-1 Inch 4 Cups
Millet 1 Cup 5 Hours 12 Hours 1/16 Inch 3 Cups
Mung Beans 1/3 Cup 8 Hours 4-5 Days 1/4-3 Inches 4 Cups
Mustard Seed 3 Tbsp 5 Hours 3-5 Days 1/2-1 1/2 Inches 3 Cups
Oats, Hulled 1 Cup 8 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8 Inch 1 Cup
Onion Seed 1 Tbsp 4-6 Hours 4-5 Days 1-2 Inches 1 1/2-2 Cups
Pea 1 Cup 8 Hours 2-3 Days 1/2-1 Inch 3 Cups
Pinto Bean 1 Cup 12 Hours 3-4 Days 1/2-1 Inch 3-4 Cups
Pumpkin 1 Cup 6 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8 Inch 2 Cups
Quinoa 1 Cup 3-4 Hours 2-3 Days 1/2 Inch 3 Cups
Radish 3 Tbsp 6 Hours 3-5 Days 3/4-2 Inches 4 Cups
Rye 1 Cup 6-8 Hours 2-3 Days 1/2-3/4 Inch 3 Cups
Sesame Seed,
1 Cup 8 Hours 1 1/2 Cups
Sesame Seed,
1 Cup 4-6 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8 Inch 1 Cup
Spelt 1 Cup 6 Hours 1-2 Days 1/4 Inch 3 Cups
Sunflower, Hulled 1 Cup 6-8 Hours 1 Day 1/4-1/2 Inch 2 Cups
Teff 1 Cup 3-4 Hours 1-2 Days 1/8 Inch 3 Cups
Walnuts 3 Cups 4 Hours 4 Cups
Wheat 1 Cup 8-10 Hours 2-3 Days 1/4-3/4 Inch 3 Cups
Wild Rice 1 Cup 12 Hours 2-3 Days Rice Splits 3 Cups
Or look up others that may not be listed at www.sproutpeople.com

Soaking Nuts and Seeds
  1. Gather your raw, organic nuts or seeds.
  2. Rinse them in purified or distilled water.
  3. Place them in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
  4. Soaking Nuts
  5. Cover with twice as much water as the nuts or seeds. (1 cup of nuts to 2 cups of water).
  6. Cover the bowl with something breathable like a cloth towel.
  7. Drain and rinse the nuts or seeds every 3 or 4 hours.
The soak water will contain the enzyme inhibitors which is very acidic to the body so make sure to rinse your nuts and seeds well.

Sprouting Nuts and Seeds
  1. Follow the process above for soaking nuts and seeds.
  2. Place the soaked and rinsed nuts or seeds in a sprouting jar. You can get this online or at a health food store.
  3. Cover the jar with screening, cheesecloth, or sprouting lids.
  4. Sprouting Jar
  5. Put the jar face down, at an angle in a low light place. A dish rack or a high rimmed bowl works well because it allows the excess water to drain out.
  6. Rinse every 8 hours. To rinse: Fill jar with water. Shake vigorously. Drain. Repeat 2-3 times.
  7. Make sure you drain the jar well. Seeds that sit in water can spoil the whole jar!
  8. Once sprouting begins, place in a sun lit area. Don't place in direct sunlight though. Continue to rinse every 8 hours.
  9. Let the sprouts grow for the suggested number of days.
After the final rinse, let the sprouts dry completely! They should be dry to the touch. This is very important! Refrigerated produce dies quickly. The sprouts can then be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

Here's a little more about what you sprout:

Best grown in open trays these are mostly eaten raw.

Alfalfa – means ‘father of all foods’ in Arabic, a lovely mild taste means you can’t grow enough. Sensitive to heat, ready in 7 days.
Buckwheat – actually a herb, likes light, warmth and wet. Needs to soak for 12 hours and a larger mesh or holes to root into than normal, use black unhulled seeds. The hulls are susceptible to mould so rinse well, ready in 10 days.
Cabbage – very small seeds make rooting difficult, use a very fine mesh. Strong cabbagey flavour, ready in 6 days.
Clover (red) – like alfalfa but sharper taste and bigger leaves, ready in 6 days.
Fenugreek – Tall and bitter, prefers cool temperatures. Mix with milder sprouts to tone it down, ready in 9 days.
Garlic – expensive, but just as good as the bulb for health and taste, but with less odorous after effects. Seed jackets don’t come off easily, just eat them! The first week will see little growth, ready in 12 days.
Mustard – as you’d expect this tiny sprout is hot. Use the black type as it’s easier to grow. Too hot for mass consumption, better for spicing up other meals, ready in 6 days.
Radish – hot, rinse well, ready in 6 days.
Sunflower (in shell) – sprout black ones as the shells fall off more easily and rinse well as they are prone to mould. As buckwheat, soak long and use a larger mesh, they get big! Ready in 10 days.
Wheatgrass – looks like grass and must be juiced. Soak hard wheat grains for 12 hours and use a large holed tray or basket. Harvest with scissors, has a strong flavor and many health giving properties, ready in 12 days.

Best grown in bags, most of these sprouts are ready in 3 to 5 days. Sprouted beans and grains should be used as you would unsprouted, but with less cooking. Although sprouting increases nutrients and digestibility they are still essentially raw and eating large quantities regularly without cooking is not recommended. Smaller beans are easier to digest and can be eaten raw especially if you grow them long, light cooking is still advised for regular, mass consumption.

Adzuki – cousin of the mung bean, crispy, use in salads sparingly, ready in 5 days.
Barley – grows about 2 to 3 times the length of the grain, better cooked, ready in 2 to 5 days.
Chickpea – cook, makes good sprouted humus, ready in 4 days.
Lentil – very easy to grow, steam them or eat sparingly on salads, ready in 5 days.
Kamut – this ancient grain is more nutritious and used the same way as wheat if you can find it. Sprout till the shoots are half the size of the berry, 4 days.
Mung – the famous Chinese sprout, to get them long, grow under a heavy bag of water with a banana or two nearby, (it gives off ethylene gas, a plant growth hormone.) The seed hulls don’t move easily, let them float away by holding the sprouts underwater, ready in 5 days but you can grow longer.
Oats – use oat groats, you can eat sprouts raw, but better cooked, sweet. Ready in 3-5 days.
Pea (green) – like lentils, but bigger and needs cooking, ready in 5 days.
Sunflower (hulled) – sweet nutty taste, but gets bitter and moulds easily if you leave them too long, grow for 2 days, then eat.
Quinoa – Hard to find, untested.
Wheat – sprout this and use it to make sprouted breads, ready in 3-5 days.

I looked up wheat and sprouted it to use for salmon croquet recipe--not bad. Next time I want to sprout wheat and the dehydrate it and grind it for sprouted grain flour. I also soak my almonds sometimes to eat plain, but I like to use them for the almond milk recipe. Charise has done flax seeds and made crackers out of them in the dehydrator (soon to be posted under sensational snacks).

*Info from  http://www.raw-food-living.com/soaking-nuts.html

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