Sprouting Grains Increases Nutrition of Food

One of the hottest topics in culinary is using a technique called “sprouting”.

Sprouting is practiced in many parts of the world to improve the nutritional value of seeds, grains, nuts and legumes. Sprouting is when these food items are soaked between 24 hours and 3 days.

When I was young we learned to germinate or sprout seeds that were going into the garden using this technique.

To sprout seeds, grains, nuts or legumes, place the amount you want to use in a bowl and cover with water. Each day drain, rinse and replace the water with fresh. Usually, 3-5 days is all you need. This process also aids in digestion.

The process of sprouting has been said to increase nutrient content while decreasing anti-nutrients. This should provide many other health benefits. Antinutrients are plant compounds that reduce the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients.

Antinutrients include calcium oxalate, lectins, tannins, which are a class of antioxidant polyphenols; protease inhibitors and phytate a.k.a. phytic acid.

Soaking and germinating are great methods for reducing these antinutrients. Below are some studies that show soaking will reduce these antinutrients by 9-30% They found this to be true with leafy greens as well, such as spinach.

Boiling, by far was the best technique to lower the antinutrients by more than 60%

Even better, use a combination of techniques like sprouting then boiling which can remove antinutrients by up to 95%.

Fermentation of food products such as yogurt, cheese, coffee, cocoa and soy sauce helps reduce antinutrients. How about making a batch of sourdough bread. Making this effectively degrades antinutrients in the grains, leading to an increased availability of nutrients.

Look at all of these studies showing that sprouting, soaking, fermentation and cooking grains reduce the bad stuff while increasing the availability of good things for our bodies. Plus, these naturally processed foods taste great and can be made with lots of variety.

Explore these food preparations and cooking techniques on grains, nuts, seeds and legumes and give us a response. Your body will thank you for it, especially your taste buds.

Sprouting instructions

NIH article about how our bodies digest quinoa

Soaking, boiling, and antinutritional factors in peas

Phytate in food and significance for humans

Making bread with sourdough

Germination and fermentation of cereals

Effects of germination on soy-beans

National Cheese Pizza Day


In honor of National Cheese Pizza Day we wanted to show different types of pizza and cheeses that are typically used.

  1. A pizza type you may have heard of is the deep dish pizza. This kind of pizza is widely known for coming from Chicago, you can’t think of deep dish without Chicago! It has been around since 1943 according to the Chicago Tribune (1. Chicago Tribune). The pizza is made typically with an iron skillet or a deep dish pizza pan instead of the usual style with flat pizza pans.

2. Margherita Pizza is made with a few simple ingredients that include fresh basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes. This pizza style can be found as far back as 1886 in the cookbook of Francesco DeBouchard called “Customs and Traditions of Naples, pg 124” according to (2. Italy Magazine). The version Chef Raffaele Eposito made in honor of Queen Margherita, and to represent the flag of Italy became the one that is made even nowadays.

  1. Calzones are another type of pizza. It roughly translates to trousers or pant legs in Italian since we can bring the calzone with us and walk around with it. Calzones are made by taking a whole pizza to fold in half giving us the half-moon shape that we know. You can fill the calzone before baking with fillings such as meat or even making a fruity version with something like apples as well. Brushing the top of the calzone with garlic, and olive oil along with marina sauce on the side is how they are typically enjoyed.

  1. Stromboli can be mistaken for calzone but they are two different things. Stromboli is made by rolling the dough and sealing it compared to a calzone being made by folding in half. Interestingly enough the Stromboli was thought to be created in Philadelphia, and could be possibly named after Mt. Stromboli in Italy (3. Stromboli Information).

  1. Neapolitan pizza is the base for the pizza that we are familiar with today. When it was first made, it did not include cheese. It can also be considered a marinara pizza since there is more sauce than cheese. Due to more sauce being used, it is typically made smaller and cooked with less time than a regular sized pizza.
  1. Marinara pizza is a very simple pizza as well. It is made with very few ingredients with tomato, oregano, garlic, and olive oil. Raffaele Eposito built upon this pizza type to make the margherita pizza.

  1. Lahm bi ajeen which translates to ‘meat with dough’. The dish comes from the middle east (4. Lahm bi ajeen origin) and can be dated back to the 13th It is a flat bread with meat on top beef, lamb or both are used as well. Tomato sauce is cooked with the meat instead of being layered like a typical pizza. This is a lighter take on a pizza and would be a dish that is unique. (Link for the recipe and credit to this paragraph can be found here: Recipe and History of Lahm bi ajeen)

Cheese –

[Picture credit: //www.savoryexperiments.com/homemade-mozzarella-cheese/]

Fresh mozzarella is made with either cow or water buffalo milk. Fresh made also has more nutritional value than you think. Every ounce of cheese is already eighteen percent of the calcium that is recommended for the day. Using fresh cheese ends up being a great choice because of how much you get from one slice, you get more “bang for your buck”. Packaged mozzarella is popular in pizza making since it tends to melt faster due to the amount of oil with the cheese. Aging of cheese is also important to the quality of the cheese as well. If the cheese has not been aged enough the texture is not going to be as soft, and will not be as flavorful. If the cheese has been over aged, it will end up being too soft, and not having the right texture for making pizza or eating (5. Delco Foods) .



Sweet Potato Fries

Because sweet potatoes are low in starch—and a portion of what starches they do possess converts into sugars when heated—most sweet potato fries end up limp or burnt. Giving our sweet potato fries a starchy coating ensures a crust with a crispy texture.

Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (peeled & cut into ¾ inch wedges, sliced crosswise)
  • Oil spray
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425⁰F.
  2. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Whisk cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water together in large bowl.
  4. Bring 2 quarts water, 1/4 cup salt, and baking soda to boil in pot. Add potatoes and return to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until exteriors turn slightly mushy (centers will remain firm), about 3 minutes.
  5. Whisk cornstarch slurry to recombine. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to bowl with slurry.
  6. Using rubber spatula, fold potatoes with slurry until slurry turns light orange, thickens to paste, and clings to potatoes.
  7. Place on the wire rack which is in the baking sheet, then spray with a touch of oil and place in the oven for 14 – 22 minutes. Using tongs, turn if needed.
  8. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Appetizer, Side