Growing up, my grandmother always told me about the importance of soaking beans overnight before cooking them. At the time, I never really gave it too much thought or asked why. It was just something she did.
Now I know it’s likely she soaked them for the sake of quicker cook times. But there are other benefits to soaking and/or sprouting your beans and grains.
Benefits of Soaking and Sprouting
- As previously stated, they cook faster. Soaking can shave down the preparation time, whether you’re using an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or stovetop.
- Easier digestion. Do you become gassy or bloated after eating beans or grains? Soaking can help break them down and remove some anti-nutrients that make them harder to digest.
- Soaking breaks down anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are substances that help plants thrive. But they block the absorption of key minerals in humans. And in some cases, it even strips your body of nutrients in the digestive process. By removing or neutralizing these substances, you can absorb more of the nutrition from your beans and grains.
Methods for Soaking Beans and Grains
There are three different approaches to soaking your beans and grains. Regardless of your chosen method, be sure to rinse them thoroughly and sort out any disfigured items or pebbles.
An overnight soak is probably the easiest if you’re planning at least a day ahead. Simply add enough water to cover and a tablespoon of lemon or ACV.
This one’s not my favorite because I’m not convinced it makes them as easily digestible. However, some soaking is better than none if you’re in a pinch. Boil enough water to cover and let the beans sit in the water for an hour.
Sprouting is a little more time-consuming, but it provides the most benefits.
- Soak your beans, grains, or nuts overnight.
- Drain and rinse them in the morning, and cover them with cheesecloth. I’ve used a regular dish towel before, and that seems to work just fine.
- Rinse beans at least twice per day. It usually takes about 2 or 3 days for them to sprout.
Rinsing them every few hours seems to make them sprout faster. Sometimes within a day or two.
You’ll notice a little “tail” when they’re ready. Don’t worry; it’s safe to eat, and you probably won’t even notice after they’re cooked.
When properly prepared and eaten in moderation, grains, legumes, and nuts are a beneficial part of a well-rounded diet.
These plant powerhouses are often good sources of protein, iron, and magnesium. All of the nutrients we need for better hormonal health. Do you have a special method for soaking beans overnight? Let me know in the comments!