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Soaking Whole Grains: A Traditional Recipe

Soaking Whole Grains: A Traditional Recipe

Written by Tara Carpenter, NC.

Serving customized cooking, consultations, and meal plans.


Whole grains have been a principal food for thousands of years and are close to being a nutritionally complete food as they are rich in amino acids, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and fat.

This ancient food strengthens the body with a warm, slow burning kind of energy and grain tastes pretty good too! We top ours with cultured butter, pesto, and sprinkling of hemp seeds. 

Unfortunately, grains also contain enzyme inhibitors and toxins – such as phytates, tannins, and goitrogens – that can harm the body, especially the lining of the digestive tract; extending from mouth to the anus.

You can read more in-depth here about the problem with un-soaked grain. In a nutshell, the modern preparation of grain tends to overlook a crucial step that traditional civilizations did to minimize and eliminate harmful enzyme inhibitors and toxins. That overlooked step is soaking grain in acidulated water (make acid) prior to cooking, sprouting, or eating. 

Traditional method for soaking grains

1)  Sort and discard broken, moldy or discolored grain; esp. black, dark brown, green pieces which contain toxins.

2)  Rinse grain by placing in a heavy cooking pot  and covering with water.

3)  Swirl hand around the edge of pot, drain water, and repeat until water is less cloudy (bit cloudy is normal due to the presence of natural starch).

4)  Put washed grain in a 1/2-gallon size mason jar.

5)  Soak grain with twice the amount of warm water to grain (1 cup grain/2 cups water).

6)  Add 2 tbsp acid (i.e., kefir, whey, lemon juice) per cup of grain.

7)  Cover with a towel or loose mason jar lid.

8)  Place in warm spot (ideally 80-85F) for 8-24 hrs, depending on size/hardness of grain kernel.

9)  Strain through fine-mesh strainer; rinse well to remove enzyme inhibitors.

10)  Cook or sprout the grain accordingly.

Soaking Nuts & Seeds

Oven Incubator Kit for Probiotic Food

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Fallon, S. (1999). Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. New Trends Publishing, Inc. Washington DC.

Bohager, T. (2009). Everything You Need To Know About Enzymes. Greenleaf Book Group Press.


May all bellies be happy!

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