Nuts, seeds, beans and cereals play an important role in our diets as they can contribute a wide range of nutrients. However, humans are not designed to break down certain anti-nutrients in plant compounds, which prevent us from absorbing vitamins and minerals. Soaking and sprouting such foods can help break down antinutrients such as polyphenols, phytic acids, lectins and tannins, making them more digestible and preventing vitamin and mineral depletion.
Some studies found that sprouting grains, beans and seeds actually increases the availability of certain nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc and protein.
When it comes to nuts and seeds try to stick to raw ones. If they have been pasteurised or irradiated they will “activate” by soaking but will not physically “sprout” (ie germinate).
Rinse your seeds or nuts, place them in a sanitised mason jar and cover with enough filtered water. Place a kitchen towel or muslin cloth on top and let them sit for 5-48hs depending on the type of nut/seed.
If you soak for more than 12 hours, rinse and change water completely. Do this every 12hs.
Seeds/nuts will swell/expand. They will be coming back to life!
Drain, keep refrigerated and use within the next few days as they can now spoil.
Strain soaked nuts/seeds and leave in a shallow bowl on the counter top, with just enough water to keep them moist.
Leave for 3-24h depending on the type of nut/seed.
Sprouts vary in length; when ready, rinse them well, drain and store in the fridge for up to a week (rinsing them everyday).
TIP: There is one seed that despite having caught on in the health food market should be avoided... Some research has shown that alfalfa sprouts may inhibit the immune system and could contribute to inflammatory arthritis and lupus. Canavanine, an amino acid present in alfalfa, may be toxic to both animals and human when taken in quantity.
Some nuts/seeds that you can soak / sprout
Almonds: 2-12h soaking; 2-3day for sprouting.
Walnuts: 4hs soaking
Brazil nuts: 3hs soaking
Cashews: 3-3hs soaking
Hazelnuts: 8hs soaking
Pumpkin seeds: 8hs soaking; 1-2 days for sprouting
Sesame seeds: 8hs soaking; 1-2 days for sprouting
Sunflower seeds: 8hs soaking; 3-3 days for sprouting
Quinoa: 4hs soaking; 1-3 days for sprouting
Chickpeas, white beans, lentils, adzuki beans, navy beans: 8-10hs soaking; 2-3days for sprouting