I sometimes joke ourselves to be “The nuts family”. Nuts are our go-to snack, we eat like a cup full of nuts as an evening snack. We have nut bags in our cars, my husband’s lunch bag has nuts all the time, so does my diaper bag (read: handbag). Soaking not only increases the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals, it also eliminates the non-efficient nutrients and enzyme inhibitors in the nuts, thus making them way easier to digest.
I realize the idea of eating wet nuts, is kinda freaky. Don’t walk off yet, you don’t have to eat wet, soaked nuts. The nuts are actually dehydrated back at a very low temperature.
Soaked and dehydrated nuts are a lot more flavorful and crispier compared to raw.
What’s the Benefit of Soaking nuts?
Phytic Acid gets degenerated.
Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid, for plants, phytic acid inhibits germination which increases the life of dry nuts and seeds, so it’s good for them. But, phytic acid inhibits the absorption of vital minerals in our body, not only from the nuts but our entire meal. Thus, too much phytic acid can lead to mineral deficiency.
Soaking nuts degenerates the phytic acid in them. Nuts store phosphorus in the form of phytic acid, on degeneration this phosphorus is released in nuts which is a very vital mineral in our body, especially for bone health. Phosphorus also aids in digestion, since nuts are difficult to digest by themselves release of phosphorus aids in digestion.
Enzyme Inhibitors are neutralized.
The other major benefits of Soaking nuts is it neutralizes enzyme inhibitors when soaked with salt. In-turn beneficial enzymes are released which increases the bioavailability of vitamins in the nuts.
The enzyme inhibitors also stop the enzymes that aid in gluten breakdown. Upon neutralization, gluten degenerating enzymes are released, which starts the process of gluten digestion even before it reaches our gut, thus making the gluten a lot more easy to be digested than if you eat dry nuts.
Tannin is neutralized.
I know this is starting to sound like biology class but stick with me here. Tannin is component which gives nuts a yellowish tinge, it is also associated with bitter taste. Fortunately, this tannin is also water soluble, so when the nuts are soaked the tannin also degenerates, thus reducing the bitter taste of the nuts, and making them taste more “sweeter”.
How long do you have to soak the nuts?
The harder the nut, the longer they need to soak.
Almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts should be soaked overnight or 10-12 hrs.
Nuts which are higher in oil content like walnut, pecans, cashews, macadamia, pistachios don’t need as long as a soaking, 6-8 hrs is good. (Walnuts particularly become a lot crispier compared to raw almonds)
A quick google search will find you the specific time for all the nuts and seeds. But a ballpark time is good, you don’t need to be super specific.
How to soak them.
- The soaking ratio for nuts: water is 1:2, and a tablespoon of salt.
- Soak them between 6-12 hrs, depending on the nuts used. I usually soak in 2 different bowls, all harder nuts in one, and softer in the other.
- Rinse the nuts twice, to be sure to remove all the water and wash them properly, since all the anti-nutrients are released in this water.
Note: The water is going to be somewhat oily, especially if you are using a lot of the softer nuts, which are more commonly liked anyways, a double rinse really helps!
Dehydrating Nuts after Soak
- Preheat your oven to the lowest setting, it’s 120°F for me.
- Bake them for 10-12 hrs, stirring every now and then.
- Store them in an airtight container, I usually salt them slightly and add cranberries before storing them.
If you have a dehydrator, hurray for you. Please go ahead and use it. They will turn out perfect.
Soaking nuts is even more beneficial for people who eat a lot of nuts since the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors can cause issues with digestion in general.
It does seem like a long process, but if you do this about every couple of weeks it’s doable and you end up with the healthier version of the already healthy food. Believe me it so much worth it, even if you only consider the difference in taste!
Do you soak nuts or perhaps other seeds or grains? Share your experience in the comment section below, let’s connect.