Sprouting Nuts: Yummy and Good for you!
I first heard about sprouting nuts on a healthy parrot feeding Facebook group, The Parrot’s Pantry. I didn’t think much of it at first, then I started noticing how many people said that their birds really liked them and that they could hardly bare to eat an unsprouted almond after eating a sprouted one. I finally saw a picture of a sprouted almond and it looked so scrumptious I just had to try it.
Almonds and other nuts don’t have the obvious tails like other sprouts but you can see an itty-bitty bulge at the pointy end of the almond at least, that is the radical AKA tail.
Not all nuts taste very good when sprouted, I tried pecans. Yeah, NOT trying that again! They got spongy and slimy and more bitter. They were perfectly “safe” to eat, just not very enjoyable.
I got this whole absolutely confusing explanation after my pecan failure about how “drupes” can be sprouted and nuts can’t. Well, I checked it out and the explanation I received was totally incorrect. It doesn’t matter if it’s a really drupe or a nut for sprouting. The difference, in short, between a drupe and nut is that a drupe has fruit outside the seed, a nut has the fruit inside the seed, with just a hard shell outside. If you want a little more info about the difference check out Nuts vs. Drupes: What’s the Difference? Since it doesn’t matter if it’s a drupe or a nut for sprouting and I don’t know any easy way to tell which are good candidates for sprouted, I included a list of nuts ( yep, I am using the general incorrect term here for all of them) that you should be able to sprout.
|Almonds||8-12||No Sprouting (if pasteurized) 3 Days (if truly raw)|
|Brazil Nuts||3||No Sprouting|
Why bother with sprouting?
They taste better sprouted!
At least I think almonds do anyway. They get a creamy texture and a sweetness, not to mention that they aren’t dry and nasty anymore!
They are good for you!
Better than just raw nuts or roasted nuts. A raw plant embryo “seed” has a host of compounds that are intended to discourage and or prevent microbes and bigger critters from eating/digesting the baby plant. Phytates, enzyme inhibitor, thick seed coats and capsaicin are all defenses used by seeds for that purpose. Some of those compounds are actually what’s referred to as “anti-nutritive” meaning they interfere with digestion and or metabolism.
Enzyme inhibitors and phytates fall into the anti-nutritive category. Enzymes are what make things happen in our bodies, without them you are not alive. So you can assume if something messes with your enzymes you should be concerned about it. Enzyme inhibitors found in plants generally work by binding to the enzymes active site – the area that they interact with other molecules with- and not letting go. Thus preventing the enzyme from performing its normal function in the body.
They can also work by causing the enzyme to denature, basically to change shape. When an enzyme changes shape its active sites usually don’t “fit” right with the compounds they are supposed to interact with anymore, again preventing the enzyme from working properly in the body. Roasting/processing does help with this particular concern. One of the most common consequences of consuming high amounts of enzyme inhibitors from plants is a proteins deficiency.
Legumes have especially high levels of enzyme inhibitors and other compounds that mean they should all be soaked and or cooked before eating, depending on what they are. If you would like to learn more about legumes check out my Cooking Legumes post.
Phytates on the other hand can bind with mineral in your digestive system and prevent your body from absorbing them. These can also be made safe by fermenting, which is great since they are abundant in whole grains. So soak your grains overnight before cooking them and ferment dough as much as possible!
Sprouting or soaking, however you want to look at it, also causes other changes in the seed. The nutrients in a seed are stored in a way that makes them as stable as possible so that the plant embryo has the longest length of time to possibly sprout in. They aren’t in a form that’s readily available to use in our bodies anymore than they are to the plant. Your digestive enzymes can of course still get something out of them but not as much as when sprouted. By initiating the growing process nutrients in the plant start to change into more usable forms and whole new nutrients are created in the processes.
I could go on and on and on about the benefits but lets get to how you actually do this whole sprouting thing!
It really is simple
You need raw almonds or anything else for that matter. Roasted and or otherwise cooked seeds won’t sprout!
Add the amount of almonds you (and your feathered friends) will eat in a couple days to a jar.
Add cold water and vigorously rinse your almonds.
Cover them with twice there volume of water.
If you are able, change the soaking water. It helps prevent souring or microbial growth in warm weather and helps keep the almonds loose in the jar.
You don’t need to add anything to the soaking water. Seeds naturally deactivate the compounds with just water; they must in order to successfully germinate and grow into a plant.
Different seeds will need different lengths of soaking and then sprouting time-where they are out of water but you rinse multiple times a day. I soak Almonds overnight, sometimes a little longer and usually continue to let them sprout for two days before we eat all of them.
A lot of people refrigerate sprouts but I actually think that most of the time that’s a bad idea. Seeds in the ground usually rot when they get cold and wet, which is what is going to happen in the fridge. Unless they are dry in which case the sprouts will be under stress and likely dieing, not something I want to eat.
So, instead, my sprouts stay out on the counter at room temperature, growing temperature, I continue to rinse them multiple times a day until they are used up, never more than a week. I do add sprouts to my chop which is frozen and they hold up nicely, I really don’t know how much is lost from freezing them but considering many seedlings can take a light frost it probably isn’t too bad.
Sprouted nuts are used to make nut milks, you can eat them just for a snack or use them in place of dry almonds most of the time. People also dehydrate the soaked almonds so they have a texture more similar to unsprouted almonds but with the health benefits of having been sprouted. Since writing this post I’ve started dehydrating sprouted almonds and I love them. They retain the sweetness of a sprouted almond and they end up being more crunchy, you really should give it a try!
That’s all there is to it! Just rinse them, soak them, change the water and keep rinsing them throughout the day until you eat them all!
This post is participating in The Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #84, Real Food Wednesday, the Homestead Barn, The HomeAcre #32 and Healthy Tuesdays #56 blog hops, Head on over to find other great blogs like ours!