What is sprouting?
Sprouting is the process of soaking and in some cases re-growing your legumes, sprouts, nuts and seeds.
Why does this need to be done? Most legumes have a constituent called phytic acid which inhibits the absorption of minerals If you are Vegan or vegetarian you get a of your minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc from beans. Phytic acid causes that uncomfortable bloated feeling that some people get after eating legumes.
Soaking reduces the amount of phytic acid in the legumes and sprouts.
What are the benefits?
During sprouting process:
Increased protein by 15-30%
Increase in most B vitamin, esp. B1, B3
Production of Vitamin C – un-germinated seeds contain no Vit. C
Beta-carotene content compare favorably with most green vegetable – especially young alfalfa, radishes & cress
Phytate level – greatly diminished – assisting absorption of Ca, Fe, Zn
Enzymes: during sprouting changes in enzymatic activity – maximum activity between 2-6 days
Enzyme amylase present in high quantities – allowing starches to be broken down – explaining why young sprouts may taste sweetish – esp. wheat sprouts
How do long do I need to sprout or soak my legumes or sprouts? That depends on what you want to do and what condition your food was in.
If you had canned kidney beans it is unlikely that you will regrow your food however soaking these beans for at least 2 hours at least to reduce phytic acid would be recommended. If you cook for someone who has a sensitive tummy it is best to soak overnight or for a day.
Chick peas need longer soaking and if you have dried beans or chickpeas then you will need to soak them overnight.
If you are trying to sprout then a few days in water changing out the water 1-2x per day is required.