Soak Your Nuts
Seeds and nuts can be a tasty and nutritious addition to your healthy diet, and proper preparation will ensure you get the best nutrition they have to offer. Of course it goes without saying (but I’m saying it anyway) always choose raw and organic.
So Why Should You Soak Your Nuts?
Like grains, nuts and seeds contain phytic acid which is part of their defense mechanism to avoid predators.
However, the real issue here is they also have high amounts of enzyme inhibitors. These enzyme inhibitors are useful to seeds and nuts because it prevents them from sprouting prematurely.
While phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are beneficial for nuts and seeds, they can cause digestive stress for us (which is why you might find bits of nuts in your stool).
Soaking your nuts/seeds in warm water and salt will rid the phytic acid and neutralize these enzyme inhibitors enabling easy digestion, while also helping encourage the production of beneficial enzymes. These enzymes, in turn, increase many vitamins, especially B vitamins and also aid in better over-all nutrient absorption.
The basic method is as follows:
- Dissolve salt in water. Generally 1 Tbs of salt per 4 cups of nuts is sufficient.
- Pour salt water over nuts or seeds, using enough water to cover
- Leave in a warm place for specified time (see below)
- Drain in a colander and spread on a stainless steel pan
- Place in a warm oven (no warmer than 150 degrees) turning occasionally, until thoroughly dry and crisp. This can take anywhere from 12-24 hrs. A dehydrator also works great here, but I typically use my convection oven.
- IMPORTANT: Really make sure they are all the way dry! If not, they could mold and won’t have that crispy wonderful texture. Typically the longer you soak a seed or nut, the longer it takes to dehydrate them.
Soaking time for nuts:
- Macadamia: 4 hrs
- Flax seeds: 6 hrs
- Cashew nuts: 6 hrs
- Pumpkin seeds: 7 hrs
- Walnuts: 8 hrs
- Pine nuts: 8 hrs
- Broccoli seeds 8 hrs.
- Pecans: 8 hrs
- Hazelnuts: 8 hrs
- Almonds: 12 hrs
- Alfalfa seeds: 12 hrs
- Garbanzo beans: 12-48 hrs
- Salt also removes tannins and dust residue.
- Make sure you don’t reuse the water residue as it might contain dangerous substances.
- When nuts are soaked, their peels can be easily removed.
- If the nuts require soaking more than 8 hours, it would be best to re-wash them and change the salt water every 8 hours.