Monday, December 04, 2006

Super Soaker

Why soak stuff before cooking?

My aunt used to always tell me to soak rice for at least 24 hours, even better if little green things appear--sprouting rice?--as it was much healthier that way.

Anyway, health foodists know by and large that sprouting food makes it even more nutritious. From The Good Sprout News:
Medicinally and nutritionally, sprouts have a long history. It has been written that the Ancient Chinese physicians recognized and prescribed sprouts for curing many disorders over 5,000 years ago. Sprouts have continued to be a main staple in the diets of Americans of Oriental descent. Although accounts of sprouting appear in the Bible in the Book of Daniel, it took centuries for the West to fully realize its nutrition merits....

...During World War II considerable interest in sprouts was sparked in the United States by an article written by Dr. Clive M. McKay, Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University...

...He and a team of nutritionists had spent years researching the amazing properties of sprouted soybeans. They and other researchers at the universities of Pennsylvania and Minnesota, Yale and McGill have found that sprouts retain the B-complex vitamins present in the original seed, and show a big jump in Vitamin A and an almost unbelievable amount of Vitamin C over that present in unsprouted seeds. While some nutritionists point out that this high vitamin content is gained at the expense of some protein loss, the figures are impressive: an average 300 percent increase in Vitamin A and a 500 to 600 percent increase in Vitamin C. In addition, in the sprouting process starches are converted to simple sugars, thus making sprouts easily digested.

24-hour soaking of brown rice, beans, flax, nuts etc. produces many of the same benefits without turning the stuff into sprouts. It takes some advance planning, but why not pack some more power into your meals? Nuts can be soaked (pecans taste even sweeter) and then eaten, or fling them into the dehydrator to get them crispy (but more nutritious) again. Try soaking brown rice--the texture and stickiness will almost resemble white rice--yum!

Extra: here are results of a European soaking experiment on lentil flour that resulted in lower galactosides (flatulence producing substance) and higher levels of available B vitamins. Guess the Bible has some healthy cooking tips...

3 comments:

Miranda said...

So, once soaked, is it ready to eat, or heat, or does one then "cook" it after soaking?

My attempts to soak beans overnight to shorten cooking time failed but maybe I needed to wait for the earth to make one full turn around the sun....

Green Fertility Marie said...

I amended the post-- heat -n- eat and rice will be much squishier.

Soak beans AT LEAST 12 hours, GET RID OF WATER (it contains the flatulence stuff) and then cook on low (I leave it on the stove all day) or on med high for 4 hours for most beans...

Anonymous said...

This is an old post, I know, but I just have to add that I am reading Sally Fallon's book now, and she is all about soaking and sprouting. To think I used to throw out my beans of grains if they accidentally sprouted when soaking!

Ali