Seeds of cereals and beans can be stored for a long time and still preserve all useful properties due to inhibitors of enzymes that are contained in dry seeds, grains, nuts, and beans. Also, the outer coat of grains and beans contains phytic acid. These substances, inhibitors and phytic acid, are not digested in our body. Moreover, the acid also blocks the assimilation of some minerals (including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc). Only when the seed falls into water, the inhibitors are destroyed, the process of creating of useful enzymes starts, in which the transformation of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into substances that are easy to digest, and the amount of vitamins increases several times. Phytic acid is also neutralized in the process of soaking. In addition, the soaking and sprouting starts the process of splitting gluten and other proteins difficult to digest into lighter components.
In essence, when soaking grains, seeds, beans, we simulate getting them into the moist soil: the seed awakens, and its nutrients become more active.
Soaking and sprouting times depend a lot on the culture you use the seeds of, and also on the desired length of sprouts (the more time passes, the longer become the sprouts). Besides, the other important factors are the seed’s freshness and the temperature in the place of sprouting. The warmer it is, the faster sprouts appear (however, the upper temperature limit is 29 degrees C; if the temperature is above this limit, there is high probability of souring and fermentation of seeds).
Below are approximate soaking and sprouting times.
Wheat, spelt, Kamuthi – soaking 6-8 hours, sprouting 1-2 days
Rye – soaking 6-8 hours, sprouting 1-2 days
Barley – soaking 6-8 hours, sprouting 1-2 days
Oat – soaking 6-8 hours, sprouting 2-3 days
Green buckwheat – soaking 2-4 hours, sprouting 12-24 days
Quinoa – soaking 2 hours, sprouting 1-2 days
Millet – soaking 8 hours, sprouting 2-3 days
Unpolished rice – soaking 12 hours, sprouting 3-5 days
Maize – soaking 12 hours, sprouting 2-3 days
Peeled and unpeeled sunflower seeds – soaking 2-8 hours, sprouting 24 days
Peeled and unpeeled pumpkin seeds – soaking 6-8 hours, sprouting 2-3 days
Amaranth – soaking 4-6 hours, sprouting 2-3 days
Flax – soaking 5-7 hours, sprouting 3-4 days
Chia – soaking 4-6 hours, sprouting 2-3 days
Sesame – soaking 8 hours, sprouting 1-2 days
Broccoli – soaking 6-12 hours, sprouting 4-6 days
Radish – soaking 6-12 hours, sprouting 4-6 days
Cress – soaking 4-6 hours, sprouting 3-5 days
Marrow squash – soaking 4-6 hours, sprouting 4-5 days
Spinach – soaking 4-8 hours, sprouting 3-6 days
Fenugreek – soaking 8 hours, sprouting 3-5 days
Alfalfa – soaking 6-8 hours, sprouting 3-6 days
Mustard – soaking 8-12 hours, sprouting 4-6 days
* Microgreens are sprouts of alfalfa, sunflower, peas, onions, radishes and other plants germinated to the first leaves.
Adzuki beans – soaking 8 hours, sprouting 3-5 days
Peas – soaking 8 hours, sprouting 2-5 days
Chickpeas – soaking 12 hours, sprouting 12 days
Soybeans – soaking 10-12 hours, sprouting 3-4 days
Lentils – soaking 8 hours, sprouting 1-2 days
Mung beans – soaking 8 hours, sprouting 1-2 days
Peanuts – soaking 8 hours, sprouting 1-2 days
Almond (before sprouting, make sure that almonds were not steamed or treated thermally) – soaking 8-12 hours, sprouting 1-2 days
* Don’t try to sprout: cashews, Brazil nuts, pecan, macadamia, pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts.
Note that almost all grains, seeds, beans, nuts require soaking and sprouting for at least 24 hours to fully neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.