Soak your Nuts


Adding nuts to your diet is a very good idea. Nuts and seeds of all varieties contain essential fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are wonderful on salads, super as a spread on sandwiches, and great as a quick snack on the run. Most of the nuts you’ll find in the grocery store are roasted, salted, or flavoured in some way, but we all know, just like fruits and vegetables, the best way to eat them is raw!

But, we can do even better than that.
Wonder why those seeds, (including almonds, sunflower, spelt, oats, pecans, sesame, wheat etc.) in your cupboard don’t turn into plants, or get moldy? Well, nature is amazing, and has given nuts and seeds a special enzyme that inhibits their growth until it has all the things it needs to grow (sunlight, water, soil etc.).

When we eat raw nuts, we also eat the enzyme inhibitors that prevent the seed from sprouting. This takes a real toll on our digestion, since they will prevent our own enzymes from breaking down the food in our digestive tracts, inhibiting absorption of precious vitamins and minerals. Simply by soaking nuts in a little water, the nuts release these harmful enzymes, and at the same time, their nutritional value skyrockets. Think back to my sprouting article: when we soak, we stimulate the process of germination, liberating the incredible life force inside! We are literally eating the beginnings of a plant, so consider of all the vital nutrients that must be unlocked, and all for us to consume. How bad could you possibly feel eating that?!

Traditional people always soaked or partially sprouted their seed and nuts before they were eaten. Aztec people still practice soaking pumpkin and squash seeds and drying them in the sun before eating whole or grinding them into a meal.

I usually put a handful of almonds in a bowl or jar and fill it with filtered water before going to bed at night. Then the next morning I can have them on my oats, or even better, blend them with some water to make almond milk! Delicious. I like to peel my almonds before eating them (see picture above). I just scrape one edge of the nut with the tip of my fingernail and the bran slides off. The almonds are soft, full of flavour and three times the nutrients! What a great way to start the day.

Softer nuts and seeds, like cashews, pumpkin seeds and walnuts can be soaked for even less time, about 4 hours. Just make sure to rinse all nuts very well after they’ve been soaking, since the water they were bathing in is filled with the enzyme inhibitors that you wanted to get rid of in the first place.

If you want large batches, simply spread all of your soaked nuts on a baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12-24 hours, until dry and crisp (or use a dehydrator – this is a better option, as the temperature stays around 115 and prevents enzyme destruction). Store for up to a few months in an airtight container (walnuts need to be stored in the fridge).

That’s it! Another simple step towards greater health…and I just couldn’t resist that title.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

33 comments

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  2. Lindsey Jayne

    Sarah – are there benefits to peeling the almonds or is it just a personal preference?
    Mariaelsa – I believe if you are soaking raw nuts you should use cold water to preserve the “raw-ness” of them.

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  4. Eliza

    Terrific article, Sarah. Will soaking almonds help to alleviate the possibility of developing a cold sore on the lip because of eating too many almonds, which contain arginine?
    Best regards,
    Eliza

  5. mariaelsa

    should I soak nuts in hot water or cold, please, I eat a lot of these but never soak them, only when baking. and by the way hot chocolate is my brekfast and a bit of corn starch for consistancy. I am a gluten free creature so is my grandaughter (genetic)
    I have never heard about maca, it does not surprise me because I am using mandioca flour which is also a root that is process in Brasil. Great for cooking and bakin. I am glad you are giving me another root. Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Danielle

    As a looked to source of information on nutrition, I thought you should be aware of recent research which concludes that phytates present in nuts and legumes is actually linked to better bone health and lower risk of bone fracture. Low phytate consumption is now considered an osteoporosis risk factor. Phyates help block the activity of bone eating cells similar to the bisphosphonate drugs without the side effects of course. Looks like we should incorporate non-soaked nuts, lentils and peas back into our diets! Still going to soak my dry beans to make the cooking time less:)

    http://nutritionfacts.org/video/phytates-for-the-prevention-of-osteoporosis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=phytates-for-the-prevention-of-osteoporosis&utm_source=NutritionFacts.org&utm_campaign=02265f51da-RSS_VIDEO_DAILY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_40f9e497d1-02265f51da-23312197

  7. Lindsay Frélot

    Fantastic explanation, thank you. I usually just briefly rinse my nuts after soaking so now I know better. Question: Sometimes I like to roast almonds to enhance their flavour but now that I have braces I still soak them afterwards to make them easier to eat. Is this totally redundant?
    Thanks Sarah!
    Lindsay (Calgary)

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  10. Grace

    Hi Sarah, I am so excited to have chanced upon your blog a few days ago. I especially felt so inspired and empowered to change mine and my family’s eating choices after watching your presentation on TED. Just want to know if nuts that have been soaked and dried can be used in making granola and granola bars? Would the nuts be burnt or ‘over-roasted’?

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  14. Anna

    Hi Sarah, thanks for the very valuable information. I read somewhere there 3 nuts that are toxic if they are not toasted as well: peanut, cashew, and can’t remember the 3rd. Is that so? many thanks

  15. Anna

    Hi Sarah. I am about to make hemp milk and I wasn’t sure if I need to to soak the hemp seeds or not. I tried to do some research online, but there are some mixed opinions. I knew you would know the right answer! So, if you do soak the hemp seeds, for how long?

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  18. pee_bee

    Hi Sarah,
    You mention drying the soaked nuts in an oven at 150 (or 115) degrees. I guess this is Fahrenheit, or?
    Thanks! KR, Paul

  19. Anonymous

    Hello,

    I am started to suck my nuts and it is so dellicious to eat them as if they were frech from the tree…
    I have a question about how long could we conserve the nuts soaked? keeping the best benefits
    Thank you very much for answering!
    and for this wonderful blog!

  20. Anonymous

    And what about cereals? I mean oatflakes for example. Aren’t they healthy to eat them raw? I do not cook my morning porridge, only pour some boiling water on it, but of course never soak it.

  21. Anonymous

    I’m curious. I don’t like the soft texture of nuts after they’ve been soaked. Can I then roast the soaked nuts to bring some of the crunchiness back? I’ve heard soaking walnuts is especially good for you…

  22. Ama

    Loved this post and the one on nut butters! I would add to the poster above that peanuts are legumes, not nuts, which would explain why she’s not allergic to them. A friend of a friend has this same diet issue and explained it to me.

    Thanks for the delicious tips, Sarah, going to get soaking!

  23. Sarah B

    Hey Lydia – to bad about your nut allergy, and I have no idea why you can eat peanuts, the most allergenic of the nut family. Strange!

    Never three much – yes, soaked nuts are healthier than roasted nuts. Perhaps you should read the article again :)

    Love to all,
    Sarah B

  24. Marion

    MMM soaked in green tea – yum.

    I can’t help but feel this fact has something to do with my bean and nut allergy.
    I can eat fresh green beans, snow peas, bean spouts etc without a problem, but as soon as you dry them I’m very allergic – anaphylactic!

    I’d love to hear what you think of this Sarah…

  25. Arwa

    …remember that valentine design bake sale we had? I brought soaked almonds in green tea…remember?

    yea…theyre yummy and light.

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