How to Soak & Sprout Nuts, Seeds, Grains, & Beans

By Tess Masters March 18, 2013 Categories: How-To's

Nuts, seeds, grains, and beans are nutritional powerhouses. However, the natural agents that protect them from early germination can wreak havoc in our digestive system. Soaking and sprouting replicates germination, which activates and multiplies nutrients (particularly Vitamins A, B, and C), neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, and promotes the growth of vital digestive enzymes.

Soaking and sprouting is very easy. The method is exactly the same for nuts, seeds, grains, and beans—only the time required for full germination changes. (See the table below.)

Please note: Many “raw” nuts and seeds have been pasteurized and irradiated. Truly raw almonds and peanuts will sprout, but those that have been pasteurized and irradiated will “activate” with soaking, but will not physically “sprout.” However, soaking still removes anti-nutrients (compounds that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients), increases nutrient density, and makes the nuts more digestible.

 

HOW TO SOAK NUTS, SEEDS, GRAINS, AND BEANS

PLACE  in a large glass bowl or mason jar, and cover with warm, filtered water (about a 2:1 ratio) and about ½ tsp. Celtic sea salt. Cover with a light cloth for desired time.

RINSE food thoroughly and drain.

USE these activated “non sprouts” immediately to make plant-based “milks.” (Read my recent post on How to Make Plant-Based “Milks.”) You can also cook soaked and rinsed grains immediately, using them just as would un-sprouted grains in any of your favorite recipes or as a bed for vegetable dishes. Do note that most soaked grains only need a 1:1 water/broth ratio to be cooked through because they are already plumped with water.

OR

DEHYDRATE in a food dehydrator at no higher than 115º F for 12 to 24 hours, and store in sealed glass containers in the fridge. Beware: If nuts are not completely dry, they will develop mold.

 

HOW TO SPROUT NUTS, SEEDS, GRAINS, AND BEANS

GET a quart-sized (or larger) mason jar. Remove the solid middle insert of the lid, and cut a piece of cheesecloth or breathable mesh to fit inside.

FILL one-third of the jar with nuts, seeds, grains, or beans, and fill the rest of the jar with warm, filtered water and about ½ tsp Celtic sea salt. Screw the lid on with cheesecloth or breathable mesh screen in place.

SOAK For soaking times, see table below.

DRAIN/RINSE Remove the mesh insert of the lid, and replace with metal insert. Pour the soaking water out of the jar, fill with fresh water, replace lid, and rinse well by shaking jar. Replace the metal insert with the mesh lid again, and drain. 

INVERT the jar and lay at an angle so that air can circulate, and the water can drain off. Allow to sit in the light.

REPEAT this process, rinsing every few hours, or at least twice daily.

WAIT  In 1 to 4 days, the sprouts will be ready. Sprouts vary from 1/8-inch to 2-inches long. When ready, rinse sprouts well, drain, and store in a jar (with the solid part of the lid replaced) in the fridge.

ENJOY within  2 to 3 days. Sprouts are a fabulous nutrient-rich addition to raw salads, sandwiches, and wraps, and are also tasty in smoothies, soups, and stews.

 

 

FOOD SOAKING TIME (hours) SPROUTING TIME (days)
Almonds 8-12 No Sprouting (if pasteurized) 3 Days (if truly raw)
Adzuki Beans 8-12 4
Amaranth 8 1-3
Barley 6 2
Black Beans 8-12 3
Brazil Nuts 3 No Sprouting
Buckwheat 6 2-3
Cashews 2-4 No Sprouting
Chickpeas/Garbanzo 8 2-3
Flaxseeds ½ No Sprouting
Hazelnuts 8-12 No Sprouting
Kamut 7 2-3
Lentils 7 2-3
Macadamias 2 No Sprouting
Millet 5 12 hours
Mung Beans 8-12 4
Oat Groats 6 2-3
Pecans 6 No Sprouting
Pistachios 8 No Sprouting
Pumpkin Seeds 8 3
Radish Seeds 8-12 3-4
Sesame Seeds 8 2-3
Sunflower Seeds 8 12-24 hours
Quinoa 4 2-3
Walnuts 4 No Sprouting
Wheat Berries 7 3-4
Wild Rice 9 3-5

 

PLEASE NOTE: Sprouts can be subject to contamination which can result in bacterial growth such as E. coli, leading to food-borne illnesses. Always purchase organic fresh products from a reputable source, wash your hands thoroughly before handling foods, and keep sprouting equipment and all kitchen surfaces clean to avoid cross contamination. Always consume sprouts within a few days, fresh and straight out of the fridge. Some health organizations also recommend consuming them cooked to reduce the risk of infection. I certainly consume raw homemade sprouts, and have never had an issue. Decide what is a responsible choice for you and your family.

 

ABOUT TESS MASTERS

Tess Masters is an Australian actor, presenter, voice-over artist, cook, and writer living in Los Angeles.
 Her alter-ego, “The Blender Girl” writes the quirky vegetarian recipe blog Healthy Blender Recipes, where she shares super quick and easy gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and raw recipes. Join Tess on FacebookTwitter, PinterestYou Tube, and Google +.

 

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comments

what about chia? the author of the paleo diet says chia contains phytic acid which blocks the absorption of all those lovely nutrients, but some sources say the phytase in chia neutralizes it and we don't need to soak chia, but others say we need to soak it

donnagail - 2015-05-15 23:05:09

THANK YOU for a brief and lucid article on sprouting. Your directions make me say, "Yeah, I can do this." Others make it sound so complicated. You look like you are glowing in your photo. It is certainly an inspiration.

Natalie - 2015-05-15 20:45:18

Why add salt?

frank jacobson - 2015-04-28 16:29:39

What's the purpose of the salt?

Curious - 2015-04-24 02:33:30

I am trying to sprouts ruca (arugula) seeds. They seem to have a coating on them. A jell like substance. I bought the seeds as sprouting seeds but I can't drain the water out completely.. Is this normal? Will it work? I have soaked them over night and now trying to drain them... Shall I continue?

Hala - 2015-04-19 07:24:57

What are the instructions for the Watermelon seeds?

Leardon - 2015-04-16 23:03:17

how come no answers to any of the questions?

Chris French vtknitboy - 2015-04-03 20:37:04

Hi Tess! I want to make almond milk with sprouted almonds that I bought online. I want to know if soaked is the same as sprouted. Do I still have to soak my almonds even though I bought them sprouted? I want to get the most nutrition possible from my almond milk. Thanks, Diana.

Diana Guerra - 2015-03-25 19:31:39

Hi I am trying to make my own protein powder to stay away from commercially produced ones. Any ideas? I bought beans, seeds and lentils and soaking them. Then I was going to dry out? Thoughts?

Donna D - 2015-03-16 12:00:33

Great info. Thanks a lot for the exact soaking time requirements. I generally mix many seeds and grains and put it in water. Your article inspires me to do better!

Harsha Vardhana R - 2015-02-24 17:02:27

Dear Tess Having followed instructions for pumpkin seed sprouting I had to discontinue as after two days in the jar after soaking,they were smelling decidedly off. Have you any advice please? I am trying to use them to help with arthritis etc, would simply soaking be sufficient? Thank you

J - 2015-02-21 07:47:12

I love this, I was wondering if you would also provide a nutritional value increase for sprouting each of these ingredients. I lived by an increase of 8x nutritional value increase, is this accurate?

OOReyes - 2015-02-20 08:10:17

I started soaking my red lentils and just realized I'm going away for the night. Can I let them soak for 24hrs, instead of my usual 8-12hrs? Thank you very much for taking the time to read my question. Hope your having a lovely day. Kevin

Kevin - 2015-02-07 20:07:38

Hi Tess Fantastic tips making sprout seeds keep it up

S.ramesh - 2015-01-28 22:16:59

why is there a "no sprouting" with pistachios?

Alvaro Perdomo - 2014-11-03 23:31:21