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Simplifying Grains, Nuts and Beans: Fuss Free Kitchen Series

on August 2 | in Real Food | by | with 11 Comments

So THAT’S What You Meant

All you mom’s who have asked me “How do you have time for all those complicated recipes?” will be glad to know that I have finally seen the light. Cooking with one extremely helpful toddler is a breeze. Cooking with said toddler while eight months pregnant? Not so much.

With the thrilling but inevitably exhausting arrival of our newborn just ahead, I’ve been tweaking my kitchen techniques to save time/hassles AND testing new, no-fuss recipes that deliver nutritionally. I’ll be sharing new recipes soon, but let’s talk techniques today.

First Up: Grains, Nuts/Seeds and Legumes (Beans)

Anyone that has ever attempted a Nourishing Traditions lifestyle will probably tell you that soaking grains is inconvenient. It’s Saturday morning and you’re hit with the urge to make a huge pancake breakfast for your family? Too bad. Whims and cravings must provide 12 hours advance notice so that proper milling and grain soaking can be done.

Is it really worth the effort? When Katie at Kitchen Stewardship began hosting debates on the value of soaking grains it got me wondering. Sure, our family has noticed a dramatic improvement in the digestibility of our grains, nuts and beans since we began soaking them, but it appears there are even more benefits to sprouting them.

According to this article from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship :

One study out of the University of Minnesota found that the nutrient density of sprouted wheat was in some instances hundreds of times higher than in whole wheat, specifically in vitamin C, folic acid, niacin and riboflavin (vitamin B2).  (source) These studies have also demonstrated a significant increase in various enzymes, including amylase, protease and lipase. (source)

Impressive, huh? About a month ago I decided to give it a shot and the results surprised me.

Keeping It Simple

One of the awesome but unintended consequences of making the switch is that life got MUCH EASIER. Here’s why: I used to soak my grains, nuts/seeds and beans in small batches, using one recipe for pancakes, another for tortillas, etc. Almost every single night before going to bed I had to think of what I would make the next day and get it ready.

Now, I sprout a huge batch of whatever I’ve got and then dehydrate it for later use. When I wake up on a Saturday morning craving pancakes I can easily mill the spelt/wheat/whatever into a ready-to-use, nutrient dense flour. No planning required!

Plus, (this is probably my favorite part), with my new Excalibur Dehydrator I can sprout 2-4 weeks worth of grains, nuts/seeds and beans in less time that it used to take to soak just a few recipes.

If you’re interested in learning more about sprouting check out this Dietary Seed Sprouting Guide. Or skip it and use this process to soak and dehydrate larger amounts of what you’re already using to build your well-stocked pantry.

Was that boring? I kind of think it was, but give it a try and I promise you’ll love me ; – ) Don’t forget to check back soon for some quick, yummy recipes!

Want to get the most out of this series??? Help each other out!! Share YOUR time-saving tip or quick recipe in the comments below. I’ll compile them all for a future post.

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11 Responses to Simplifying Grains, Nuts and Beans: Fuss Free Kitchen Series

  1. I love using sprouted grain flour. Its much more convenient for busy moms =-). I’m looking to buy a new grain mill. Do you have any recommendations? I would like to stay under $300, if possible.

    Thanks!

    ~Tiffany

  2. Heather says:

    Tiffany – Fresh ground sprouted flour is the best! I can’t believe it took me so long to discover it. We have Nutrimill that I like but Gigi bought it so I didn’t do any research prior to purchase. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I have been following Katie’s serious on soaked grains as well. Very interesting. I agree that sprouted grains seem to make more sense in a lot of ways. However, I just found out that my dehydrator gets too hot and kills the enzymes I am hoping to preserve. My mom and I are supposed to switch dehydrators since they mostly use theirs for beef jerky. I am hoping to be able to start sprouting my grains since I received a grain mill and bosch mixer/blender combo for mother’s day/birthday.

    By the way, we have the Nutrimill as well. One of the biggest reasons I prefer it is that it doesn’t damage the mill to stop it mid-milling (though it still is not a good idea). Most other mills are ruined this way. I’ve been pleased with it for sure.

  4. Thanks Heather & Stephanie! That’s the one I was looking to buy. So far, everyone has recommended it =)

  5. Tiffany says:

    This looks great! For Post Cleanse I am pondering how (if) to integrate grains back into my diet. This process seems doable. The only hesitation I would have is the cost I would need to invest in the dehydrator and mill before knowing if I actually tolerating the grain well. Hmm….

    • Heather says:

      Tiffany – One option would be to buy pre-made sprouted flour. Of course, it won’t be as nutritious as freshly ground flour, but should give you a pretty good sense of how your body will handle it. If your local health food store doesn’t carry sprouted flour there are a few places online that do.

      Personally, my husband doesn’t feel good after eating wheat, so we have transitioned from wheat to spelt as our main staple flour, but we also use coconut and rye on occasion.

  6. [...] way to help, but an even simpler way is to have them ready to throw into the crockpot using this time-saving trick. Not sure what to do once they’re prepped? The bean recipe in this post is my family’s [...]

  7. Anna says:

    Heather – Thanks for sharing your tips! I am excited to look at more of your post as we are trying trying trying to switch to real foods and “Nurishing Traditions”. (Tiffany – I also love your blog too!!! :)

    I was wondering if anyone has thought about or tried freezing sprouted or soaked grains. But I wonder if it would not be possible since, with some other veggies you have to blanche and I don’t know if it would kill all the nutrients, etc.

    Thanks!
    Anna

    • Heather says:

      Hi Anna, if you dehydrate them whole after soaking/sprouting you can freeze them to extend their freshness. You can also freeze ground flour but it is my understanding that it loses nutrient value more quickly.

  8. Naomi says:

    Heather, I searched a couple of your posts on soaking nuts but can’t seem to figure out if you have to buy raw nuts or if you can use the “not raw” ones you get at most stores and still soak them. Sorry if you answered this somewhere and I missed it. Also, where do you buy your nuts and grain to soak or sprout?
    Thanks!!

    • Heather says:

      Raw is recommended because they have enzymes that prevent spoilage. However, non-raw nuts can often be soaked at least somewhat – just follow the instructions for cashews.

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