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.



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.


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.



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.



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.



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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online shopping - 2014-04-19 00:54:13

I just bought a hemp sprout bag and starter mix and am new to sprouting. I have a few questions: - will whole grain rolled oats from Kroger/HEB sprout? - will any bean sprout? I prefer to buy local/organic but, the specialty shops with these mixes are much higher priced than a bag of beans from grocery stores. Thanks, Kyle

Kyle - 2014-03-22 18:37:31

Can you recommend a dehydrator? I would also like to use it to make yogurt. Thank you.

Mary - 2014-03-20 15:51:33

@Peter Foss - you get them as dry as possible and then store them in a sealed glass jar in the fridge. They will keep for about 2 to 3 days. @Roger Sprouted to full potential in hours? I haven't had that experience. But, thanks for your input.

Tess Masters - 2014-02-04 00:05:51

Quinoa sprouts in a matter of hours, not days

Roger - 2014-02-03 18:13:25

How do you store them after they're sprouted?

Peter Foss - 2014-01-29 01:40:19

@Rebecca yes, the salt activates the process. @Tannercarranza - thanks for sharing.

Tess Masters - 2014-01-17 16:48:54

It is necessary to soak grains, nuts and seeds to make them easily digestible and gather the most nutritional benefits from them. Also to eliminate the toxic substance found in them it is necessary to soak them before cooking. If you wish to know the detail information about their nutritional content value, you can read the blog of Boris Wolfman that will give you good idea and help you to determine its intake daily.

tannercarranza - 2014-01-10 13:37:25

Is the salt really necessary for soaking?

Rebecca - 2014-01-06 00:35:07

@Mike I don't soak hemp seeds.

Tess Masters - 2014-01-01 16:31:47

@Debra Once your nuts or seeds have activated or sprouted you must put them in the fridge dry as soon as possible. Then they will last for about 3 days on average. If they taste fermented get rid of them. To keep activated nuts, seeds, and grains longer, dehydrate after soaking.

Tess Masters - 2013-12-31 23:39:17

Hi Tess, what's hemp seeds soaking time? thanks! Mike

Mike - 2013-12-31 23:26:02

If my almonds and walnuts taste slightly fermented, should I throw them out. I think my mistake was not refridgerating sooner......

Debra - 2013-12-19 17:48:31

@Rebeccar Sorry for any confusion. Truly raw almonds can physically sprout a tail. But other "no sprouting" items means they do not physically sprout a tail. But, their nutrient potential is activated.

Tess Masters - 2013-12-07 13:30:51

@Georgina Great! @Kenton Thankyou so much for the lovely glowing endorsement. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave such a lovely comment. It made my day. I am glad you have find my articles useful, and it is lovely to be connected. @Amanda - Yes, absolutely rinse your foods prior to soaking. It is actually preferable.

Tess Masters - 2013-12-07 13:26:46