Eating a handful of nuts is a quick, tasty snack that’s convenient and easily portable. Nuts are also a great way to boost your energy and suppress your appetite, while also providing a healthy dose of protein and fat. But what many people don't know is properly preparing nuts can drastically improve the nutrition and digestibility of nuts. Is it better to soak nuts? Absolutely!

Benefits of Soaking Nuts

Soaking nuts is valuable for several reasons.

  • It neutralizes the natural enzyme inhibitors found in nuts, which are difficult for us to digest. 
  • Soaking also breaks down phytic acid and tannins which are “anti-nutrients” that bind to minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium in our intestinal tract. Eliminating these anti-nutrients through soaking allows for greater absorption of the nut’s valuable nutrients and improves digestibility. 
  • Soaking also activates good enzymes that allow the full nutritional potential of nuts.
  • Advocates of soaking nuts will tell you an additional benefit of soaking nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, is a much more appealing flavor and texture. Did you know the almonds in JEM almond butter are soaked and sprouted? JEM’s almond butter is the most delicious stuff I’ve ever tasted so I believe soaking them increases the flavor!! 

How To Soak Nuts

1. To start, use the best quality raw nuts you can get.

2. Soak the nuts in water (not cold) or salt water. According to Sally Fallon, nut soaking guru and author of Nourishing Traditions, salt helps activate the enzymes that de-activate the enzyme inhibitors; however, the salt is optional.

3. Place about 4 cups of nuts in a glass or stainless steel bowl and cover them with warm distilled, purified or filtered water. Dissolve the recommended amount of sea salt in water. The nuts will expand as they soak, so use a ration of at least two parts water to 1 part nuts.

4. Do change the water every 3 to 4 hours. Soak for the recommended time at room temperature, which will ensure the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and the anti-nutrients are broken down. Generally, harder nuts will take longer to soften. Thoroughly rinse when soaking is complete.

5. If you are planning to use your nuts within a few days, store the bowl/jar of nuts in your refrigerator. To preserve your nuts for a longer period of time, dry the nuts in a dehydrator. Dehydrating returns their crispiness.

6. If dehydrating, be sure to fully dry your nuts or they could become moldy and won’t have that crispy, wonderful texture. When dehydrating the nuts, do not use temperatures above 150°F because the hotter temperature destroys the good enzymes. Excalibur dehydrators have an adjustable thermostat from 95°F to 155°F.

7. Allow nuts to cool before storing.

The basic soaking method for nuts is the same, but there’s some slight variations so here’s soaking information for different types of nuts:

Almonds and Hazelnuts

4 cups of raw almonds.

1 Tablespoon salt (or try Himalayan Pink Salt)

Soak 8-12 hours

Dehydrate for 12-24 hours, until completely dry and crisp

Pecans, Walnuts, and Brazil Nuts

4 cups of raw nuts

2 teaspoons salt (or try Himalayan Pink Salt)

Soak 4-6 hours

Dehydrate for 12-24 hours, until completely dry and crisp

Macadamia Nuts and Pine Nuts

4 cups of raw macadamia nuts

1 Tablespoon salt (or try Himalayan Pink Salt)

Soak 2-4 hours

Dehydrate for 12-24 hours, until completely dry and crisp                                                         

Cashews        

4 cups of cashews

1 Tablespoon salt (or try Himalayan Pink Salt)

Soak 2-6 hours

Dehydrate for 12-24 hours, until completely dry and crisp

*According to Sally Fallon, cashews take a bit more care possibly because they aren’t truly “raw” and have already been heated twice during processing. They will become slimy and develop a disagreeable taste if allowed to soak too long or dry out too slowly.

Live Superfoods, Raw and Organic Nuts

If you're running low on nuts, Live Superfoods offers a wide variety to choose from, and they're all Raw and Organic!

I hope you have a great experiencing soaking nuts in the kitchen. I would love to hear about your experience soaking nuts.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods 

 

References:

Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions, 2nd ed., pgs. 452-453, 512, 513-517.

The Nourishing Gourmet

 

 

 

 

 

 

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