How to Soak and Sprout Beans
Hi Sweet Friends,
Have you ever tried to soak and sprout your beans and run into problems? Well, I’m here to help you troubleshoot!
Why the season makes a difference
The most important thing to ask when it comes to soaking and sprouting beans is: Are your dried beans are fresh? This usually means less than one-year old. If they are older than one year, you might have challenges sprouting them, but another factor might play a role as well—the season in which you are trying to sprout them.
Warmer-months sprouting technique
Let me explain. If you purchased dry beans in the summer, they should be very fresh. A soak overnight should result in a quick sprout. The beans didn’t sprout? They may not be fresh. You can take the next step of spreading them out in a colander and keeping them moist with a twice a day spray of water. After this second day, they still didn’t sprout? They are definitely not fresh! Chances are, they are never going to sprout. And worse, the longer you try to sprout them in the warm summer months, the more chance you run into mold forming or just having them spoil and smell bad!!
Cooler-months sprouting technique
Now in winter, things change up a bit. Chances are, even if they are fresh, an overnight soak during the cooler months will not result in a sprout. But not to worry. Spread them out in a colander, keep them moist with a twice a day spray of water, and within four days they should sprout. Since your kitchen is cooler in the winter months, you won’t run into a problem with mold forming on your beans or having them develop that “off” smell if they take a few days to sprout. If come four days later they haven’t sprouted? They are not fresh!!
Can I cook them anyway?
If you are hoping to sprout your beans, but they won’t budge, you can try and cook them anyway, but chances are they will never soften if they are not fresh. It’s unfortunate, but you are probably going to have to discard them. So when you shop for dried beans, make sure you buy them from a reputable source with a good turnover.
But don’t worry, it’s not hard to find fresh beans. Most grocery stores have good turnover, plus the bags the beans are sold in will usually have an expiration date. Pay attention to that. Buying beans in the bulk section of your market is a little trickier. I generally don’t risk it. But if you like to buy beans in large quantities, which is the most economical way to do it, be sure to check the big box stores. Where I live in central Texas, it’s not uncommon to find 25-pound bags of pinto beans for under $20!
And why are we doing this?
We go to the trouble to soak and sprout beans to make them easier to digest, but there is another reason too. Bean, like grains, contain anti-nutrients that can make it difficult for the human digestive systems to absorb the nutrients that the beans contain. Soaking and sprouting the beans deactivates these anti-nutrients so we can absorb the nutrients, making beans a usable source of food.
Soaking and sprouting beans have been a long-standing practice of traditional cultures. Unfortunately with the onset of canned beans, we lost these practices. You can bring these traditional techniques back to your kitchen by purchasing dry beans and taking the extra step to soak and sprout them. Once you have done this, you can cook the beans any way you like.
Watch this YouTube video as I walk you through the step-by-step process of making Soaked Oatmeal using Oat Groats.
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