Soaking, sprouting and dehydrating nuts and seeds might seem like a ridiculous waste of time when you first learn about the process. I know that’s how I felt!
Then I learned why it’s so important and spent years figuring out how to make the whole process as fast and easy as possible. Now I only do it a few times a year and I always have a stash of nuts and seeds ready to use in my recipes!
If it still seems like too much work right now, that’s okay. I’ve provided links to some of my favorite brands of nuts and seeds that are already sprouted and dehydrated for you! Many people find it’s easiest to start by purchasing most of their nuts and seeds already sprouted and dehydrated and then doing it yourself when you find the time. It helps to do one big batch of each nut or seed at a time (more on that later).
Why do we soak raw nuts and seeds?
When we soak and sprout nuts and seeds we are reducing the amount of phytic acid on the nuts or seeds. We also remove the enzyme inhibitors during this process. Removing the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors makes them easier to digest.
Sprouted nuts and seeds are also more nutritious than raw nuts and seeds. Another benefit is they taste better and stay fresh longer than raw nuts and seeds!
What foods contain phytic acid?
The highest concentration of phytic acid is found in raw grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
What happens when we consume phytic acid?
Research shows that when phytic acid is present, it binds to minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc and prevents the body from absorbing them. This can lead to mineral deficiencies, which can cause tooth decay and osteoporosis.
This only happens when we eat foods high in phytic acid with other mineral-dense foods. Therefore, when you eat nuts and seeds by themselves the phytic acid isn't a problem and can even be beneficial.
What are the benefits of phytic acid?
Phytic acid does have some merit.
There is now plenty of research to show the good qualities:
In order to properly absorb the minerals in our food, it is important to reduce the phytic acid from nuts and seeds anytime they are consumed with other foods. This means whenever nuts and seeds are used in a recipe they should be soaked first.
Other benefits from germinating nuts and seeds
Raw nuts and seeds also contain a significant amount of enzyme inhibitors, which act to prevent the nut or seed from sprouting prematurely in nature. The problem is, the enzyme inhibitors can also bind to minerals and cause digestive problems. Soaking nuts and seeds removes these enzyme inhibitors and makes them easier to digest.
We also use hydrogen peroxide in the beginning of the soaking process to remove any possible mold or fungus sometimes found on nuts and seeds.
The process of soaking, sprouting and dehydrating nuts and seeds:
It seemed like a daunting task the first time I heard of this 20+ years ago, but now I kind of enjoy doing it because I know how much better I feel when I eat this way and it really doesn't take long now that I have a routine.
The equipment needed:
When you are ready and have purchased all of your supplies:
Step by Step:
The sunflower hulls are much lighter than the seeds Stir them with
a spoon and the hulls will float to the top of the water after soaking for 6-8 hours.
Sunflower seeds, after sprouting for 24-48 hours.
Buckwheat groats after sprouting for 12-24 hours
Flax seeds after sprouting for 36 hours
Just a reminder, if you have a 9-tray dehydrator, expect to need 1 lb. of nuts of seeds (about 4 cups) to cover each tray.
I sprout a large variety of nuts and seeds. Therefore it takes a few days for me to soak, sprout and dehydrate enough to have a full staple stash that will last me for 4 months.
By creating this much at one time I only have to do this three times a year, so it's not such a hassle as worrying about soaking nuts and seeds every time I make a recipe.
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