Soaking nuts makes them more digestible, provides more nutrients, takes out the anti-nutrients and the flavor is enhanced. Drying or dehydrating nuts helps to preserve nutrients.
My daughter is unfortunately allergic to nuts so I couldn’t take my own pictures. But, soaking and drying nuts and seeds is something I have done before my little sweetie was born – they taste so much better than the store bought roasted nuts. Though, I certainly didn’t realize all the benefits to buying raw, organic nuts, and soaking them, until I researched more and wrote my post “Are Nuts Really Healthy?”.
Soaking and drying nuts are very easy to do; only a few minutes of mixing things up and transferring them to a pan, the rest is really just waiting for them as they soak and dry (there were always less nuts that come out at the end then went it… yum… sometimes I just couldn’t wait)!
Different nuts may have different soaking and drying times.
-1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt
-about 4 cups Filtered Water
-3 to 4 cups Raw, Organic, shelled Nuts
-optional to use other spices (then using a bowl rather than a jar is easier)
-Glass or Stainless Steel Bowl and Colander
Mix in the Salt with a small amount of the warmed water (about ½ cup). Stir until the salt is dissolved.
Rinse and drain your nuts in the colander, then pour the drained nuts into the bowl.
Pour both the salt/water mixture and rest of the filtered water over the nuts until they are covered (may need more or less of the filtered water). Cover the bowl with a non-bleached dish towel or cheesecloth, or even a nylon, and put a rubber band around it and let them soak for hours as stated below (for long soak time, you could rinse them and replenish the water):
sweet almonds: 8-12 hours
cashews and pistachios*: about 2 hours, or less. They’ve already been heated and will get mushy or fall apart if soaked too long
macadamia: about 6-8 hours
pecans: 6-8 hours
pine nuts*: about 4 hours
walnuts: about 4 hours
*For Pine nuts and pistachios, I’ve read conflicting information as to whether it is helpful to soak them.
Brazil nut and Hazelnuts do not need to be soaked.
Once they are soaked, rinse them well in a colander.
If you would like to add some spice to them, this is the best time – pour them back into the rinsed bowl, add some spices (whatever you prefer… cayenne pepper, pico de gallo, garlic, more sea salt or even cinnamon) and mix around.
Dry completely by either dehydrating or roasting: Lay them out on sheets so they are not stacked on one another. The best way to do this is in a dehydrator (not more than 118 degrees) to keep as many of the nutrients as possible. If you don’t have a dehydrator, use a cookie sheet or glass pan and the oven will work. Put it at its lowest temperature, preferably 150 degrees or less (if the lowest temperature is more than 150, you can open the door slightly). I used the oven, but I have my eye on an Excaliber dehydrator at Cultures for Health and Amazon.com for making fruit leathers and yogurt as well.
In a couple hours, you could stir the nuts around so they move from where they are (off of wet areas), and try to flip them over. The drying process could be anywhere from 12 to 30 hours based on the size of the nut and the temperature used. This is where I started eating them along the way, just to check the out of course! Basically they should be dry all the way through.
Once they are completely dry, take them out, let them cool, put them in a glass jar and you can store them in the refrigerator (or if you have lots, put some in the freezer).
If you prefer to eat your nuts raw, stop after the soaking process, rinse them well and dry them as best you can and put them in a jar into the refrigerator. They should be eaten in 2 or 3 days… so you would want to make smaller batches.
Leave a comment below… What did you think… don’t they taste better after being soaked? If you typically have problems digesting non-soaked nuts, did this make a difference for you?
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photo credits: all photos of soaking nuts by Chiot’s Run on flickr
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