Whether you are new to the vegan game, or have been at it for quite a while, you may have come across articles, recipes, or information where people talk about soaking and sprouting. From soaking nuts to sprouting legumes, there are lots of ingredients you can soak and sprout and the reasons for doing so are many. Let’s dive in and learn what each one is, when you use it, and why it is beneficial.
Just like you may soak your shirt or your dishes, you can also soak food. Quite simply, it is the act of submerging foods such as nuts, seeds, and legumes in water. When you do it with legumes, such as chickpeas and large beans, it is done before cooking to soften them in preparation for the cooking process.
For nuts and seeds, soaking is done mostly for a digestive benefit. When the ingredients are soaked, they release a compound called phytic acid. This is not a harmful compound and occurs naturally in the plant. For many people who do not digest nuts and seeds well, however, it can lead to digestive distress and the inability to extract nutrients. Removing phytic acid allows these individuals to enjoy nuts and seeds as a healthy snack. Soaking nuts and seeds is commonly known as “activating” them, and once they have been soaked, you can make them crunchy again through dehydrating.
Similar to soaking, in that you initially soak the items in water, you can think of sprouting as the step after soaking. The moist ingredients are contained in a warm environment, so they start to sprout, in the same way as if they were planted in the ground. Just like fresh young fruits and vegetables have great nutritional value, so too do sprouted grains, nuts, and seeds. They are a powerhouse of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals and packed full of important micronutrients.
This nutritional boost is indeed one of the main reasons to sprout ingredients. You can sprout things such as legumes, including chickpeas, adzuki beans, mung beans, and lentils. Grains also sprout well, especially quinoa, buckwheat, and millet. In many cases, you will see flours that are milled from sprouted grains. For this, the grains are sprouted, dehydrated, and then milled into a flour before being sold. This not only boosts the nutrient profile of the flour, but also, for some people, makes them easier to digest.To sprout your own grains and legumes, follow these steps:
- Rinse the product thoroughly 2-3 times.
- Drain well, making sure all the water has drained off.
- Place the ingredient in a jar, set it on the counter in a warm place out of the sun, and cover with a see-through, breathable cloth.
Each day, take the ingredients that you are soaking out of the jar, rinse well, and then return to the jar. Repeat 2-3 times per day.
After a few days you will see the sprouting begin. Let them sprout for as long as you like and then enjoy raw, on salads, in sandwiches or on top of a stir-fry.Want some more delicious and creative vegan food ideas? How about a delicious meal delivered straight to your door? Reach out to Savor Living and we’ll show you how we can help!