Nuts are an extremely nutritious food if properly prepared…[N]uts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess. Nuts are easier to digest, and their nutrients more readily available, if they are first soaked in salt water overnight, then dried in a warm oven. (You may also use a dehydrator.) Salt in soaking water activates enzymes that neutralize enzyme inhibitors.
It was about a year into our Strange New Dietary Journey that I finally felt ready to tackle this. Before then, I knew it was important but was still feeling overwhelmed by all the other changes. We were eating a LOT of nuts, nut flours and nut butters, so I knew this was an important item on my dietary to-do list (in order to reduce our consumption of phytic acid and to increase the nutritional value of all these nuts we were eating).
Before I started soaking our nuts (tee hee), the whole process seemed kind of intimidating. But you know what? It’s really not that big of a deal anymore. While both the soaking and dehydrating process are pretty lengthy, the actual prep time is quite low. The main thing is to plan ahead.
Here’s the general idea:
- Buy raw nuts (organic are best, but I sometimes settle for non-organic).
- Combine 4 cups nuts with 1 TB unrefined sea salt.
- Cover nuts with warm water and leave to soak in a warm place for 6 hours to overnight, depending on the variety of nut.
- Drain nuts and dehydrate in a warm oven.*
- Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.
*Use the lowest possible temperature. My oven goes down to 170°, but other ovens go even lower. You could also use a dehydrator, which I do not have.
We keep a regular supply of Crispy Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts and Sunflower Seeds. I’ve also done Macadamia Nuts and many variations of Almonds: Slivered, Sliced, etc.
For all of the above, except Cashews, the nuts are soaked overnight and dried in the oven for 12-24 hours. Cashews require a bit more care, in that they should be soaked for no longer than 6 hours. You can also dry them more quickly at a higher oven temperature (200-250°).
We eat Crispy Nuts…
- as a gluten-free, high protein snack
- in our Overnight Oatmeal
- on salads as a coating for this awesome Cashew Crusted Mahi Mahi
- in Crispy Trail Mix
- in Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (from Paleo Cooking)
Sources & More Info:
Book: Nourishing Traditions, p. 512-516
Articles: Soaking Nuts(@ The Nourishing Gourmet); How To Soak And Dehydrate Nuts (Nourishing Traditions Method) (@ The Mommypotamus)