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

Would I do the same soaking for scarlett runner beans?

Kate Alberts - 2014-09-26 19:34:30

Hi, great information. I sprout buckwheat, nit sure which grains to soak or sprout. But anyway I dehydrate the, how long can i stor ein the fridge. I have had them for a few weeks, and cooked kasha, they were fine. Cheers Alana

Alan - 2014-09-18 03:45:41

Hi Tess, Every time I eat Quinoa I vomit. Do you think that sprouting the grain may change something that would allow me to consume it without getting sick to my stomach?

Michele - 2014-09-11 15:22:41

A good source for Organic sprouting seeds, grains and beans is SunOrganic Farm. www.SunOrganic.com

David - 2014-08-29 03:13:57

What's with the "Celtic sea salt"? Why not just regular plain salt, or regular sea salt? Why does it have to be fancy, expensive, and Celtic?

Christina - 2014-08-12 17:51:07

Tess, I see that you recommend dehydrating nuts after soaking to keep them longer. Can they be frozen instead? Typically, I freeze nuts and seeds to maintain freshness, but I've never soaked them first. What are your thoughts?

Doretta - 2014-07-02 14:08:50

No luck sprouting soy beans...bitter tasting, turn green or brown and takes forever

citra - 2014-06-24 11:49:58

Hi there Tess, Thanks for blogging about sprouting. I had no idea that soaking in salt water had a nutrient unlocking effect on nuts, beans and seeds, etc. Ill try this out :) Also, which part of LA are you in? Do you teach workshops too or provide consulting? I am from LA and currently live in San Diego so only a skip away...I am a 32 year old nutritionist and athlete so having this information will be great to pass on. Have you noticed a difference in the way you feel after soaking/sprouting verses not? Best, Jonathan Ohana (858) 740-1660

Jonathan Ohana - 2014-06-21 23:44:59

Hi, thank you for this awesome wealth of information. I've 2 questions. Which seed do I use for "beansprouts", and what are the soaking time and sprouting times for alfalfa seeds? thank you so much! Cynthia

Cynthia - 2014-06-13 23:09:30

Thank you Tess! Btw you are GORGEOUS! WOW! <3

Zsuzsi van Dijk - 2014-06-13 15:11:22

I purchased a package of organic seeds, marketed for sprouting. However, the package recommends soaking them in bleach (to avoid E.Coli). Well, this feels like defeating the purpose! Is this necessary? If so, is there something else I can use that won't kill the "good" part about sprouts?

Debby - 2014-05-04 19:07:24

Mary - I really love the Excalibur Dehydrators. 9-Tray with Timer is a great investment.

Tess Masters - 2014-04-24 18:33:08

Oat groats will sprout in 2-3 days. Not rolled oats. Black beans, garbanzo beans, adzuki beans, lentils, mung beans, and some others will sprout. yes.

Tess Masters - 2014-04-24 18:30:57

As you search for discount codes and deals, you may inadvertently stumble across a virus.

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