Soaking Whole Grains and Legumes

Imagine a world where gas and bloating were never an issue after eating bean dip! Or where rice and bread didn’t sit so heavy in your stomach. Where these foods supposed to cause such adverse reactions we have all grown accustomed to? Or could the answer to pain-free eating be found in something as simple as fermenting?

Throughout all of human history, fermented foods and fermenting practices have been the staples of people groups and cultures. There isn’t a single people group that can be thought up that does not share this similarity.

One of the most commonly shared traditions includes fermenting grains and legumes before consuming. This practice encompasses soaking, sprouting, or sour leavening in an acidic environment to “liven up” the dormant food.

Today we are going to talk about the soaking process.

This practice has many benefits that may have been unknown to our ancestors, but thanks to modern studies, we can witness the very power of fermentation! It’s also EXTREMELY EASY TO DO!

Benefits of Fermenting Grains and Legumes:

(1) Breaks down phytates which is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is found in the outer later or the bran of a grain, as well as in legumes, nuts and seeds. Phytates combine themselves with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in our intentional track and actually block our body’s absorption of these crucial minerals.

(2) Increases the amounts of many vitamins in the grains and legumes, especially vitamin B.

(3) Works as a “pre-stomach”, if you will, that partially digests the gluten, sugars, and anti-nutrients in our food making them much easier for our bodies to digest.

How It’s Done

All it takes is a little bit of planning ahead and a good routine to establish a system to fermenting all your grains and legumes before you consume them. Wether you’re into rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, black beans, pinto beans or chickpeas, the process is pretty much the same and really, very simple.

8-12 hours before you’re going to cook up a fabulous meal simply rinse your grains or legumes and place them in a mason jar with 1-2 Tablespoons of an acid. An example would be lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, whey, kiefer or kombucha.

If I am using a quart sized jar I use 1 TBSP, but I typically ferment my grains and legumes in half-gallon mason jars adding 2 TBPS to each jar. This creates a nice acidic environment to assist in the break down of the phytates.

Cover your grains or legumes with non-chlorinated water, then top that jar with your handy Fermentools airlock system and let nature take it’s course!

When your 8-12 (or sometimes 20 hours if you didn’t get around to them) hours are up and you are ready to cook, rinse the grains and legumes well discarding the water they have been sitting in. Add some gelatin-rich bone stock and some filtered water for cooking.

You can also choose to move to the sprouting stage at this point, which we will discuss in another post.

Tips to Keep In Mind

  • Don’t over pack your jars. Your grains and legumes will likely grow to just about double their size in the soaking process.
  • Mix your legumes around in the jar evenly distributing the water throughout so they don’t get all stuck together on the bottom of the jar
  • It’s best to cook grains and legumes in bone broth and add plenty of healthy fats such as butter, ghee, or coconut oil before consuming. This not only aids the digestive process, but the fat soluble vitamins will help you absorb more of the now readily available minerals that have been woken up by the soaking process!
  • Cooking time can be shaved down a bit since you soaked your grains and legumes already softening them up! BONUS!

Efficiency Tips From a Mom of 7

Make it a nightly routine to soak some oats for the morning pot of oatmeal, rice for the evening stir fry, as well as the twice-weekly batch of pinto beans for tacos or kidney beans for chili.

Always keep a batch of fresh, gelatin-rich stock on hand to cook your grains and legumes in. This way if you are ever in a pinch, you at least added some nutrient dense broth to assist in the digestion process.

Having a weekend day for soaking, sprouting, fermenting and then refrigerating makes the week a breeze!

So go ahead!
Enjoy that bean dip, gas-free!
Eat that slice of bread and know that your body will rejoice and not grieve over the digestive process!

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