How to always have nutritious pulses handy
When preparing beans I usually soak and sprout twice the amount needed for my recipe. Leftover pulses are stored in the freezer for immediate use in another recipe.
What does “sprouting” mean?
First, I wash the pulses well. Then, I soak them in plenty of water, preferably with a little yogurt or kefir serum for 12-24 hours, depending on their type.
The next day, I spread them out in a colander, where I rinse them thoroughly and let them drain. To keep the sink area clear, I rest the colander on a shallow baking tray of the same size. The pan should be shallow enough for the air to circulate freely.
I leave them to sprout for 1-3 days, just covered with a muslin. I make sure to “water” them by rinsing them every 6 hours. I also mix them well, to redistribute them in the colander, as there is more moisture towards the bottom compared to the top.
Once they’ve sprouted, I rinse them well before cooking or storing them in the freezer. On really hot days, I soak & sprout in the fridge.
Why do I put myself (and my beans) through this process?
Mainly because legumes contain nutritional inhibitors that hinder the absorption of nutrients. By soaking, sprouting and cooking or serving with small amounts of meat or fish, you can enrich the meals of young children. They usually eat very small amounts, so every spoonful should be packed with nutrients.
According to the Ministry of Development:
You can find more information in this brochure of the World Food and Agriculture Organization:
Let’s rewarded ourselves for our patience with “Fasolatha” a traditional white bean soup with “apaki” Cretan cured pork.
- 0,5 kg white small beans
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 leeks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper in 3-4 large pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- 1.5 liters broth
- 200 gr. Apaki or pancetta sliced
- Juice from half a lemon
Soak the beans in plenty of water for 24 hours. Rinse and sprout as described above. It will take 24-48 hours to see the first sprouts.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry all the vegetables for 5 ‘ to soften along with the bay leaf. Add the cold broth and beans, then bring to the boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 30 ‘ to 40 ‘. Check often because with soaking beans cook and soften much faster.
When the beans are done, take out the pepper and some of the bean soup with a ladle. Pour it into the blender and liquidize. Strain back into the bean soup, stir well and bring back to the boil for 5′. Meanwhile, quickly fry the Apaki in a frying pan for 5′ and add the lemon juice at the end. Serve the “fasolatha” soup with a little apaki on every plate.