Use raw unhulled brown sesame seeds, which are very high in calcium. Women who are avoiding dairy either by choice or because of dairy intolerance need calcium for pregnancy and to prevent osteoporosis. Men need it too, but not as much. The calcium in sprouted brown sesame seeds is digestible, well absorbed by the body. It is naturally chelated–a live food! If you use black sesame seeds, they have a higher iron content, and the calcium content is lower and less available to you.
Sprouting Considerations–you will not find this in your average book with seed sprouting times
Use a sprouting jar with small holes. Needs ambient temperature of 70° F or higher, or the sprouts will not emerge. In the winter, my Portland home is not heated that much, and I wait until I am making flax crackers or cookies in the dehydrator. I put the jar of soaked and rinsed sesame seeds on top of the dehydrator (set to 113°), wrapped in a kitchen towel, and they sprout quickly. Sprouting times after the soaking and initial rinsing can vary widely–2 days at 70°, 8-24 hours on a warm summer day or on top of the dehydrator, 1- 2 hours at room temperature as reported by my friend in hot India.
Ingredients (makes 2 quarts)
- 1 cup brown unhulled sesame seeds
- 3 cups water
- 4-8 dates
- more water for rinsing and blending
- vanilla for flavor if you choose
Throughout the sprouting process, keep the sesame seeds covered by a towel or in a dark cabinet, away from light, or my experience is that they get bitter too quickly. Soak the sesame seeds in 3x their volume of water for 8-12 hours, depending on room temperatures. Drain and rinse two to three times. Cover and sprout in a darkened place, rinsing 2-3x/day, until the tiny brown dots at the tips of the seeds show the tiniest white tips. Stop the sprouting before they get 1/16 inch long or they can get bitter and inedible. Over 1/4 inch, the spouts start becoming unbearably bitter, and make good compost.
Put sprouted sesame seeds, about 2 cups, in the vitamix, add 5-6 cups of water and 4-8 dates (and vanilla, if you want). Whiz on high until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. If you choose, (I only do this anymore to introduce newcomers to milk alternatives) strain through a jelly strainer bag or nut mylk bag, and save the pulp for dehydrated jam dot cookies. You can add more dates and some cardamon or other spices to dress it up as an egg nog substitute for the holidays.
Makes about 2 quarts.
Quinoa-Sesame Milk Variation:
Sprout 1/2 cup of brown sesame seeds and, separately, 1/2 cup of quinoa. The quinoa needs to be soaked only 4 hours and rinsed every few hours or it will sour. It is not as sensitive to light. It does not need very warm conditions to sprout! And the sprouting tails can get longer and may get very sweet in optimum conditions. Depending on room temperature and which sprout reaches the optimum condition first, one may need to be refrigerated until the other catches up. Place both sprouts in the VitaMix and make the same as Sprouted Sesame Milk, above. If the quinoa sprouts are very sweet, you may reduce or even eliminate the dates.
Questions for you scientists out there: What is the Calcium and other Nutrient Composition of Sprouted Sesame Seeds? What Happens with the Thermodynamics of Sesame Sprouts?
If you know anything about measured nutrient changes in sprouting sesame seeds, or how to submit this recipe for a nutritional analysis, I would really appreciate it if you would contact me.
Question 1: How much, if any of the calcium is lost by the soaking and rinsing process?
Question 2: If we strain the sesame milk from the above recipe, how much, if any, of the calcium is removed?
Question 3: Does the calcium form of the original sesame seed convert into differently soluble calcium compounds during sprouting?
Partial Answers: The calcium in sesame seeds is bound, like in most grains and seeds by phytic acid–not by oxalates as some sites say. Soaking and sprouting releases phytate-bound minerals. Thank you, Dr. Weaver.² Thank you also to Victor Kirk, (comment is below) for reminding me of how all minerals become more bio-available during the germination process. I edited the post after their inputs.
Question 4: Is there a change in protein content of sprouted sesame seeds?
Sesame milk made just from soaking the seeds, without an additional period of sprouting, will show a fraction of sesame oil that floats towards the top. However sprouted sesame milk, as in this recipe, has no oily separation. Has the oil been emulsified or converted to proteins?
Question 5: What Happens with the Thermodynamics of Sesame Sprouts? If the sprouts go too long in a warm environment, they become bitter and generate vastly more heat than their immediate environment. Is this thermodynamic of sprouting sesame seeds common to other aerobic sprouting processes?
¹ ² Information from correspondence with Prof. Connie Weaver, Department of Nutritional Science, Purdue University. Her research includes mineral bioavailability, calcium metabolism and bone health. http://www.cfs.purdue.edu/fn/about/head.html