Soaking overnight before cooking is the right way to handle beans, grains, nuts and seeds and the perfect start to homemade sprouts!
Do you feel bloated and heavy after eating a meal made with beans, grains, nuts and seeds? Did you soak them overnight before cooking them? Aha! Gotcha! As I spend more time researching and learning about food, I come to understand that the old ways of eating was the right way. Our ancestors leading all the way up to our grandmothers would consider it blasphemous to cook lentils without soaking them first. And while they may not have very many reasons besides ‘it reduces cooking time’ or ‘that’s how it was always done’, here are the actual reasons why you must ALWAYS soak your ‘seeds’.
Understanding the ‘Why’
It may seem like it’s easier and more ‘instant’ to cook dried beans, lentils, seeds and nuts directly without soaking them, but trust me, you’re doing it wrong and only hurting yourself!
We can’t process complex nutrition
Beans, grains, lentils and nuts are essentially seeds, each one designed to give life to a whole new plant! These seeds contain an immense amount of nutrition locked and coded specifically to be unlocked as the seed grows into a plant. The human gut is not equipped to digest such complex nutrition, and the by-product of that is the adverse production of hydrogen – a.k.a ‘fart-attack’.
It actually ages you!
The body also uses up a lot of enzymes to digest them and contributes to early aging. Eat them right to put the brakes on the aging process.
Phytic Acid sucks!
It literally ‘sucks’ guys! Sucks the nutrition in our food from being absorbed into the blood stream. Soaking for atleast 8-24 hours breaks down the phytic acid and ensures that you get all the nutrition you are signing up for.
Knowing the ‘How’
Now that you have begun to understand why you should soak your ‘seeds’, let’s get to the part about actually doing it right.
Step 1: Pick your seeds
Take some ‘seeds’ – the popular choice (mine and everybody’s) is Moong (Mung) beans. Close second would be Black Chickpeas (Kala Channa). This time, I also did Black-eyed peas and Chickpeas. If this is the first time you are making sprouts at home, start with 1/4 cup. Although with mung beans, the yield was much higher than with others. So, nifty too!
Step 2: Drown them
Rinse and submerge in water overnight. Optionally, add a tsp of acid (lemon juice, whey or apple cider vinegar). Helps break down the acids much faster and inhibit growth of harmful bacteria.
Step 3: And that’s it!
Rinse and drain out the soaking liquid. You may do this several times during a 24 hour soak, but it’s not really necessary. If you’re just going to cook them straightaway, pressure cooking is the fastest way to cook soaked beans, lentils and other seeds. Once you’ve drained the soaking liquid, add more water and cook!
Here’s a pressure cooker that almost all Indian homes keep for life. I use a Hard Anodized version of this and believe me guys, with proper care and use, it can last you a lifetime and cut cooking costs+time incredibly! Comment below if you’re curious about the workings of a pressure cooker and I’ll write a separate post on it!
Step 4: Homemade Sprouts
Skip the previous step if you want to take this one step further! To sprout the soaked seeds, drain, rinse and place in a clean glass jar. Cover the mouth with cheesecloth/muslin and hold it in place with a rubber band. Invert on a wire rack and place in a cool, dark place in your home. Pick a place that doesn’t get much traffic, you really don’t want them in the way. The best way to sprout is to forget about them from time to time.
Tip: Don’t want to deal with the hassle of maintaining muslin/cheesecloth? Order these Sprout-Ease lids (set of 3) – fits most wide-mouthed jars! And they’re each a different size, for different sized ‘seeds’! Easy peasy indeed! Thanks Sharmilla for bringing this awesome product to my notice!!!
Step 5: Rinse and repeat
Every 12 hours, rinse, drain, cover, invert and repeat. I do the rinse cycle once in the morning and once after dinner. Keep doing this until they sprout tails long enough for your preference.
Tip: The day before you plan to eat your homemade sprouts, leave them by the windowsill to catch a little sunlight. This little burst of sunshine treatment would help the sprouts develop chlorophyll and carotene.
The only thing left to do is eat your homemade sprouts, done right! Top your salads, soups, add to smoothies, stir-fry, make them into curries/stews – enjoy your dose of proteins and minerals, done right!
Note: Black-eyed peas, Chickpeas and other lentils with a thick husk tend to spoil quickly, so do not plan to keep these in long-term storage. If you want to store them, you’ll need to de-husk them before storage. You can do this by drowning them, and squeezing the husk out. Once they float up, you can drain, dry and store. But honestly, too much work! I’d rather just eat them up quickly!
When you make these (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see what you cook from here and will share it with pride on my social media feeds.
Do you like sprouts? How often do you make them at home? What’s your favourite way to eat sprouts? Let me know in the comments below?
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