Hey guys! Today the sun is shining in Romania, in fact it is day three of Spring! I hope you are enjoying the seasons shifting wherever you may be.
Today I want to share some information about "sprouting" and "activating" your pulses and tree nuts and why it is totally worth doing at home!
Let me begin with a Fun Fact! Have you ever wondered what is the difference between legumes, pulses and beans?
Well, the word legume refers to plants in the Fabaceae family, while the word pulse refers to the edible seeds inside pods grown on those plants. An example of a legume would be a pea pod. Examples of pulses include lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas. So really, you're eating pulses, which are the seeds of legumes!
Another fun fact, peanuts are actually legumes! While real nuts grow on trees, peanuts grow in pods that mature underground.
Now before I get into the information, I want to write a disclaimer!
Disclaimer: Pulses, nuts and seeds are beneficial for you no matter what (unless you have an allergy! But I'm sure I don't need to specify that.) DO NOT experience a guilt trip if you do not have time to sprout and activate. This is simply for the nutrition nerds folks who want to get the most bang for their buck. Be sure to let me know if you try this at home!
WHY SPROUT AND ACTIVATE?
Soaking and then sprouting your legumes and nuts is an easy and inexpensive way to boost the nutritional content.
And as you know, I want you to THRIVE and not only survive. I also believe this is important because if you are incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet, you may include them in a way that your body receives best. As they say, "It's not only what you eat, but what you absorb!"
If your body doesn't absorb the nutrients you are feeding it, they simply pass through your system without delivering the crucial vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at an optimal level.
THE BENEFITS OF SPROUTING PULSES & ACTIVATING NUTS INCLUDE:
Increases the protein, vitamins, and fibre in the legumes and nuts.
It makes the legumes and nuts easier to digest.
It helps our body to absorb minerals in the legumes and nuts.
Provides anti-cancer benefits.
Makes the legumes and nuts more alkalizing.
Inhibits phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors, so our bodies can absorb the optimal nutrition from the pulse/nut/seed.
Nature has set it up so that nuts, grains, and seeds stay dormant until the conditions are right for growing. When planting a garden from seed, you have to introduce the requirements/conditions for a plant to grow properly. This is why nuts and seeds do not start sprouting into plants at the supermarket!
The nuts and seeds keep the nutrients "inside" per se until they are ready to grow. By soaking pulses and nuts in water and then leaving them to sprout, we are tricking the nuts into thinking that it is time to grow. When they grow, they release enzyme inhibitors and make their nutrients available as if they would be sustaining growth.
By sprouting the legumes and nuts, we inhibit the phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors present in the seed.
Phytic acid (one of the best-known anti-nutrients) can prevent our bodies from absorbing calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. All plant seeds naturally contain substances called anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients protect the plant from predators and also prevent the seed from sprouting too soon. But they also interfere with our ability to digest vitamins and minerals within the seeds.
So, eating "sprouted" pulses and "activating" your nuts is simply soaking them in water for a short time, tricking them into thinking it's time to shine! — and then allowing them to sprout or dry out for a few days after. You can do this on your kitchen bench at home, and you don't need any fancy equipment!
You can get very specific about soaking and sprouting times — but I like to keep things simple. As a general rule, I soak over night (anywhere between 7/10 hours). Have a google if you want to be precise!
After soaking, I leave them in a sieve or a colander for 24/72 hours, at room temperature out of direct sunlight, covered with a tea towel. I rinse them every 12 hours until I see the little sprout tails begin to form. Then I store them in a container in the fridge for up to a week. You can eat them raw, add them to salads, porridge, burger patties, stir fry and more.
With my nuts, I soak overnight. Then, it is up to you whether you want to dry them out or not. You can eat them immediately after rinsing (that's it, they're activated!) Or, you can dry them in the sun, or a dehydrator, or in your oven at the lowest temperature until they become crisp and crunchy. I seriously advise this last method; these nuts are a flavour sensation once activated and dried out. YUM!
Food is fun, and this can even be a fun experiment to do with your little ones. If you remember sprouting Mr Potato Head when you were a child, then you will remember how cool food experiments are for a young mind. Ok, I still have fun doing it, but don't judge, haha.
Have a great day guys, and please leave me a comment if this info was useful or you want to know more! Alex.