I have known about sprouting and soaking for some time now. It seemed like just too much to handle. I didn't want to "go there" simply because it seemed like it would be way too much work and we were just fine where we were. However, I have learned, when the time is right - when it applies to you specifically, it happens and it somehow doesn't seem like such a big deal.
I have been reading Nourishing Traditions and was really getting into the spirit of the book. It seemed like a good idea. Then, I had my 10 year old do an Organic Acids Test to see if he had Candida (yeast issues) and bacteria ,as I suspected. He did, but what I did not suspect is that he was showing a high likelihood of celiacs disease. I was totally shocked. This kid is healthy as can be and doesn't have stomach issues but he does look a little "puffy" and has a stuffy nose a lot. So, I left that office with a new purpose. Sprouting and soaking now applied to me. It was now personal.
I am directing this little conversation specifically to sprouting grains for use in breads and cereals. Sprouting seeds, beans and grains for greens is another chapter. Not ready for that yet. Sprouting and soaking of grains changes the composition of the grains. It enacts enzymes to help in digestion. It breaks down the phytic acid which is contained in the raw grain. Phytic acid prevents absorption of many minerals in the intestines. Breaking it down will help the body to get what it needs out of the grains. Also, by soaking and sprouting, the hard to digest proteins are broken down so they are easier to digest. By doing this, many people who have trouble with gluten are able to tolerate grains again. Especially when using grains that have a lower gluten content like spelt and kamut; some of my personal favorites.
In learning about this process, I found out that in times of old, like our great grandmothers, grains were always soaked. Always. In fact, when grains were collected in the fields, they would sit in a holding area on the farm first where they would be subject to rains and dew that would in sorts, soak and sprout them. Then, they were delivered in a now broken down state. Today, we just harvest with machines and ship out. We have lost understanding over time of why food was processed the way it was and the benefits the methods contained. I was shocked that I never really heard about all this before. Kind of even ticked off that this was kept from me from the so called "nutritional guru's" of the world. I mean, come on. Why isn't this a bigger deal? I know some people know it but why did I only hear about this in the last year? Not that I was ready then but still...
It got me thinking of why every other person has celiacs or stomach diseases now. It is an epidemic. Between the methods of preparation these days, the pesticides in the soil, the genetically modified seeds and overuse of wheat, we are killing ourselves. It is time to take control before we are all in a sickly state.
Well, I decided to get on with it. I have a couple of great friends who were also "there" and had some great tips and websites for me to visit. There are different methods and I found some that worked for me without disappointment. I will address soaking in the next post but here is my method for sprouting my grains in preparation for drying and grinding. Easy as pie. In fact, easier. Pictures included. ( Thanks to the nino's who bought me a new camera for Mother's Day; you rock.)
#1 The night before, put grains of choice in a bowl covered by a couple of inches of water. Cover with a towel and leave them there for 12 hours.
#2 Dump them into a plastic colander, making sure that the holes are smaller than the grain and rinse thoroughly in good water; no tap please. We don't want chemicals.
Then, put the colander over the empty soaking bowl and spread the grains up the sides and bottom so they have a little breathing room. I keep them about 1 inch deep. Cover with a towel and rinse 2-3 times per day.
#3 Repeat the rinse process until sprouts appear, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long. It takes anywhere from 1 to 3 days, depending on the grains. These ones have just started. A few of the grains went super nuts and sprouted a little faster than the other kids.You don't want the sprouts to get too long or the flour will make a mushy product. Just barely sprout them. Check to make sure that none of the grains are rancid or rotten. I just shift through a bit and pull out any that look a little gray or mushy. If you keep them too wet, they may spoil. That is why I love the colander method. I have never had a problem at all. You also can sprout more at a time by using a colander versus a mason jar. Smaller grains will probably take the mason jar method, like millet or barley. Use cheescloth or a mesh screen attached to the band for draining.
#4 Put in the dehydrator, on mesh drying sheets or parchment paper and dry at 110 degrees until dry. Check by biting down and making sure they are crunchy. It usually takes me most of the day. If you don't have a dehydrator, put them in the oven if your oven temp can go that low or heat it up a bit then turn it off and leave the light on. You don't want to cook the grains, just dry. It is getting hot enough here that you could start drying them outside. Just cover with mesh so birds don't get to it or dust blows in.
#5 Store until you are going to grind in the fridge. You want to use it as soon as you grind it to keep in the nutrition. You can store flour in the fridge if you have left over flour.
It makes the flour lighter and works perfectly in all your recipes. I love them in my tortillas and crepes especially.
There is so much more to tell but that will have to be another story. Soaking and fermenting are just as easy , if not easier. I have my routine now and it truly is no big deal. Even on my very tight schedule. A monkey could do it and he would be much healthier if he did. Hey, there's an idea for the zoo.