Have you ever learned why we need to soak and sprout our food? Did you know it’s actually a key process, that our bodies need to digest food? Even if you don’t know, I’ll show you everything you need to know about sprouting and soaking nuts, grains, seeds and more. And don’t worry, it’s simple and easy! All you need is 4 things, the seeds, a mason jar, water and some cheese cloth. I’ll be guiding you through this easy and simple process with some helpful articles. Let’s get to it!
What are sprouts?
In general, sprouts can be any type of seed that is allowed to soak in water and, well, sprout. The term micro-green may get mixed up with sprouts and here’s why… A broccoli seedling can both be a sprout and a micro-green, the only difference is how they are grown.
With micro-greens you plant the seed in soil which allows the plant to focus growth on the leaves and stems. With sprouts you soak the seeds in water, not soil, which focuses on the root and stem. I go in depth about micro-greens in my previous article, here.
Since sprouts focus on their roots and stems, the leaves tend to be underdeveloped (they don’t get a lot of sunlight, like micro-greens). One of the most common sprouts comes from the mung bean. That’s the sprout I’m a big fan of lol. Now what about soaking? How does this tie together?
Let’s Talk About Soaking
Here’s a helpful article from Dr. Axe that talks about the benefits of soaking, here.
When you hold a grain, seed, nut, etc in your hand, you are holding a complex organism. That seed contains nutrients and vitamins that are essential for our bodies. But I’ll let you in on a secret, those nutrients are locked away. You can’t expect to eat that seed and automatically get the vitamins.
The Truth About Soaking & Sprouting
Back in the good ol’ days we used to eat a diet that consisted of whole, raw foods. Whole grains, fresh foods, home cooked veggies. Everything that we used to eat, was what we had grown or was fresh from the town. Freshly milled flour, whole oats (not the quick cook ones) are just a couple examples of how things have changed.
Now look at our diets today, canned vegetables, ready to go flour, quick oats, processed frozen meals. Now please don’t get me wrong, my husband loves quick oats and obviously I love my brand of flour (maybe later in life I’ll make my own). All I’m showing is that our bodies can no longer process food like we used to.
With our new way of eating food, our bodies lack phytase, a key to that lock we were previously talking about. Our bodies naturally produce phytase which helps break down the different “walls” in whole grains. Since our bodies no longer need produce a lot of phytase we can no longer open those whole grains. Make sense?
If you would like another scientific outlook check out this article from Don’t Waste The Crumbs, here.
How Can We Get Those Nutrients?
Now that we know our bodies need help accessing those nutrients, we can start to do something about it. This is where soaking comes into play. When you soak any whole grains, the water helps unlock some of those nutrients so our body can absorb them. It’s like knocking on a door and waking the seed up. When that germination process begins, the enzyme, that blocks the nutrients, starts to break down. Soaking is a great, simple way to help our bodies get all of those key nutrients.
So, now that I’ve got all of the science stuff out of the way, let’s starting growing us some sprouts!
How to grow Sprouts
I love graphics that help me to remember things! This graphic contains some great info about starting sprouts.
- Choose a variety that strikes your fancy, and place about a half cup in a quart sized mason jar. You can sprout as few or as much as you like, so play around with it and see what works for you.
- Fill the jar with cool filtered water.
- Cut out a square of cheesecloth to fit over the top of the mason jar. And secure it with a rubber band, or use a hair band, like me, who couldn’t find a rubber band haha.
- Soak for 8 hours, I set it up before work and then when I come home it’s ready to go.
- Once the 8 hours are up, drain off the water and rinse the seeds.
- Place the cheesecloth back on the top of the mason jar.
- Keep the jar at an angle, so any excess water can drain off. I kept my jar in a bowl leaning against the wall. Whatever works for you is perfect.
- Every morning and evening I rinse my seeds and then place back in its bowl.
For soaking and sprouting times, go back up this article and click on Dr. Axe’s chart. It’s not an affiliate link, it’s just a really informative chart about different times for different varieties.
See, wasn’t that easy? I think the only hard thing you had to endure is my talking!
It doesn’t take much effort to grow sprouts and they taste great! I hope this article covered everything you need to know, about soaking and sprouting various whole grains.
Quick Note: I’ll be popping back soon to give you guys some inspirational recipes using both micro-greens and sprouts. Make sure you sign up for my email notifications so you don’t miss out!
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