Chances are you've already heard about soaking and sprouting your nuts, seed and grains but are not sure how this benefits you or how it effects the taste. So why soak and sprout your nuts, seeds, and grains?
Differences in tastes?
The taste of nuts, seeds and grains after soaking is enerally sweeter and not terribly diluted at all. Soaking nuts or seeds removes tannins so that you have a softer, more palate friendly taste. Many people prefer the taste of soaked pecans to unsoaked ones and some nuts, like almonds, become better smoothie ingrediants after being soaked for a day.
Soak and Sprout to Increases Nutrient Content
If you soak and sprout your nuts, seeds and grains it will dramatically increase the available nutrient content and increase proteins, minerals, vitamins and enzymes by 300% to 1200%. Soaking and sprouting also makes grains, legumes and nuts more easily digestible and encourages the production of beneficial enzymes which will help the break down of gluten, and makes proteins more readily available for absorption.
Just like other raw foods, nuts and seeds contain enzymes which we want to benefit from. However, till the germination conditions are met the enzymes in most nuts and seeds stay dormant because they are being held hostage by so-called enzyme inhibitors which is a natural mechanism to ensure the proliferation of the species. When the conditions are right for seeds to start growing, the enzymes within them break free and start to break down nutrients into simpler chemical forms, thus making them easier for digestion and easier to absorb.
In his book Enzyme Nutrition: the Food Enzyme Concept, Dr. Edward Howell cites a 1948 University of California experiment in which chickens were fed a diet of raw soybeans, containing enzyme inhibitors. The birds looked sick, failed to grow and gain body weight, while their pancreas gland enlarged significantly. A similar 1960 U.S. Department of Agriculture experiment, using rats, confirmed those findings. Howell also describes how, after two months of unwittingly consuming raw wheat germ with enzyme inhibitors still in them, he developed severe gastrointestinal issues.
How Long do I Soak?
Soaking time can vary wildly based on a number of factors, but to be in the right ballpark you can use our chart as a guide. Generally If the nuts or seeds you are planning to soak have brown skins, such as almonds, walnuts, filberts and pecans, they have a high level of enzyme inhibitors and should be soaked for several hours. White nuts, such as macadamias, pine nuts and hemp seeds require very short soaking time or no soaking at all, since they have a very little amount of enzyme inhibitors.
Soaking and Sprouting Chart
|Nut, Grain or Seed||Soak Time||Sprout Time|
|Adzuki||12 hours||3-5 days|
|Alfalfa||8 hours||2-5 days|
|Almonds||8-12 hours||12 hours|
|Barley||6-8 hours||2 days|
|Black Beans||12 hours||3-4 days|
|Black Eyed Peas||12 hours||4-6 days|
|Broccoli||8 hours||3-6 days|
|Buckwheat (hulled)||6 hours||2 days|
|Cabbage||4-6 hours||4-5 days|
|Chickpeas||12-24 hours||1-3 days|
|Clover||4-6 hours||4-5 days|
|Corn||12 hours||2-3 days|
|Cow Peas||12 hours||4-6 days|
|Fenugreek||8 hours||4-5 days|
|Green Peas||12 hours||2-3 days|
|Kamut||7 hours||2-3 days|
|Lentils||8 hours||12 hours|
|Millet||8 hours||2-3 days|
|Mung Beans||1 day||3-5 days|
|Mustard||8 hours||5-7 days|
|Oats (hulless)||1/5-1 hour||1-3 days|
|Oat Groats||6 hours||2 days|
|Peanuts (valencia)||1 day||2-4 days|
|Peas||12 hours||1-3 days|
|Pinto Beans||12 hours||2-4 days|
|Pumpkin Seeds (hulled)||8 hours||1 day|
|Quinoa||2 hours||1 day|
|Radish||8 hours||3-4 days|
|Red Clover||8 hours||3-5 days|
|Rice (brown)||12 hours||3-4 days|
|Rice (Wild)||9 hours||4-5 days|
|Rye||8 hours||3 days|
|Sesame Seeds||8 hours||1-2 days|
|Spelt||7 hours||2 days|
|Sunflower Seeds (hulled)||2 hours||2-3 days|
|Triticale||12 hours||2-3 days|
|Watercress||4-6 hours||4-5 days|
|Wheatberries||7 hours||2-3 days|
Do not soak: Brazil Nuts, Hemp Seeds, Macadamia Nuts, Pine Nuts or Pistachio Nuts