Well, a lot is being written in other blogs about this topic, and I'm still retraining myself to think ahead and be sure to soak my grains and nuts before using or cooking with them. And I have noticed a huge, very huge difference in how they cook and taste.
Two of the first blogs (that I follow) that started me onto this path, were Nourished Kitchen and Cheeseslave. They both write about why we should get back to this practice from a nutritional and studied viewpoint.
I have always used dried legumes. And when I make them, I always have soaked them at least 12+ hours, changing the water at least twice, before cooking. Most times I soak them for 24 hours. All I knew for years was that was how you prepped them to cook them properly. I had no idea what soaking actually did for them nutritionally.
I recently learned, that grains and plant seeds, like legumes, contain anti-nutrients, Phytic acids. But you can bet that after reading up on all this, the science makes sense. These phytates are the protection that the plant gives it's seeds to ensure survival of the plant and allow re-population of the plant. This allows the seed to survive consumption from animals so that when the seeds are spread around after consumption, they can repopulate. Soaking lets the seeds, grains and nuts release these phytates. Releasing these anti-nutrients allows our bodies to actually use and absorb the full nutrients from them into our bodies. Not soaking or allowing the seeds, grains, nuts to release the phytic acids actually will rob your body of nutrients or block absorption of vital nutrients from other foods.
So as I said, I'm learning about all this, and I am absolutely LOVING the results! One of the first things I've noticed from doing this is that I don't have any more bloating or being bound up. The other is the taste! Just even rice soaked overnight or more than 6 hrs then cooked tastes so amazing and cooks perfect every time! It tastes cleaner, no bitterness, and that perfect texture of creaminess (have no other idea how to describe the texture, creamy was the closest I could come to!) is so yummy.
This morning I made my oatmeal for breakfasts for the week. I personally prefer gluten free steel cut oats. In the past, I used to toast them in coconut oil (previous post on this with the oatmeal muffins) and then cook them in coconut milk and water. However, I decided last night to put them to soak before bed. I soaked them in water and a bit of whey, (I used about 1/4 cup) I have from yogurt making, for 8 hours. Then I drained them this morning, rinsed a little, and put them in the pot with a tablespoon of coconut oil, 1/8 cup flax meal, 2 smashed apple bananas, 2 cups of coconut milk and 2 cups of water. Cooked them for 15 minutes instead of the 20 minutes prior to soaking. I will be the first to admit, they are so much creamier and tastier than they ever were! Using a bit of whey, yogurt, or buttermilk, or other acidic solution with water, makes a difference. Now I have more uses for my whey from making yogurt! Yay!
If you haven't started already, I highly recommend you soak your grains, seeds, legumes, and nuts before cooking them. Here's a pretty good useful chart to use as a guideline. And if you don't have whey, use a little yogurt, buttermilk, even lemon juice is ok.
And here is another chart for reference, and includes nuts from Veggiewave.
Try soaking, let me know the differences you notice! :) Bon apetit!