I was only instructed to soak nuts when using them for a raw food preparation. I thought it had to do with the consistency of the nut (this is why it doesn’t pay to assume), but in using an almond recipe recently I’ve learned of the benefits.
As a result, taking the time to soak nuts is no longer something I will do for a recipe’s sake, but something I will do each and every time we purchase.
I already soak my legumes… honestly, because my mother did and that was reason enough for me. Later, I learned that soaking all our beans helps with our ability to digest them ( Can anyone sing, “Beans, beans, good for the heart…?”). I learned we should soak nuts for the same reasons.
The Benefit of Soaking Nuts
Phytic acid, along with some other substances such as tannins and enzyme inhibitors, are found in nuts, grains, legumes, and seeds. These can bind to nutrients, preventing them from being properly absorbed. Also, if they aren’t soaked, the nuts are poorly digested, causing varying levels of gastric distress.
Also, many people note the difference in taste between soaked and unsoaked nuts. The flavor seems to improve by nuts that are soaked and dried, especially in walnuts and almonds. Nuts are also easier to blend after soaking.
How to Soak Nuts
The process of soaking is really easy, so there isn’t much you can do to mess it up 😉 .
Place your nuts in a non-plastic container, and fill it with enough water to cover. You can add 1 Tbls of salt to your water beforehand if preferred – some say the salt helps better neutralize the enzymes. I then cover the container with cheese cloth, or just one that lets air through.
I have seen the amount of time to soak nuts vary from 20 minutes to 7 hours! Honestly, the longer the better. I generally let them soak for about 8 hours, and I change the water at least once in that time.
After that, I strain the water from the nuts, and I lay them out on parchment paper. I use my dehydrator to dry the nuts for at least 24 hours at approximately 150 degrees. You can also use the lowest setting on your oven – if that setting is not low enough, you can leave the door of your oven open slightly while on that lowest setting.
You want to keep the temperature below 200 degrees so that the good enzymes in the nuts are not destroyed.
Have you soaked nuts? Have you noticed a benefit to your digestion when the nuts are soaked before eating? Any tips on how to soak nuts?
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