Soak yer nuts. No, not those nuts, silly.

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Soaked nuts? Sounds kinky.

I hate to disappoint, but this has nothing to do with your nether regions. This is about proper preparation of one of my favorite power-packed snack foods: nuts.

Soaking??

It might seem odd to soak your nuts, but here’s a little background:

All nuts have phytic acid, a potent enzyme inhibitor, in their skins. The role of this enzyme inhibitor is to prevent premature breakdown of the nut until it’s in appropriate conditions (e.g., moist, dark, soil – to grow another plant). If we don’t neutralize these enzyme inhibitors, they make it difficult for our body to break down and absorb the nut. Also, they pull other minerals out of our system, so they are considered “anti-nutrients.”

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to neutralize phytic acid: soaking. Simply put raw nuts in a bowl and fill it with filtered water to completely cover the nuts plus about an inch. Leave them in the fridge to soak overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse them, and store them in the fridge.

Some nuts (like almonds) can be eaten just like this, still moist. They keep for about a week in the fridge.

Others (like cashews, pecans, walnuts) get a little slimy and are better dehydrated or slow-roasted. Once you’ve soaked the nuts, here’s what you can do with them:

  • Dehydrate them. Put them in a food dehydrator set at 105 degrees for about 10hrs.
  • No dehydrator? Roast them with minimal damage to the delicate oils. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in your oven at its lowest setting. Leave in until slightly brown. This takes about 20 minutes depending on the size of the nut. Stay close and don’t let them overcook.
  • Add them to smoothies. Soaked nuts add some good protein and fat to smoothies, and when they’re soaked they’re easier to blend.
  • Make your own homemade nut butter. If you’ve got a high powered blender or food processor, you can make your own nut butter!
  • Make your own homemade nut milk. Throw them in that high powered blender along with some water and a couple of raw, pitted dates and you have nut milk! (I recommend straining it to remove any “bits”) If you’re making almond milk, you can pull the brown skins off the almonds easily once they’ve been soaked so that your milk is nice and white.
  • Thicken salad dressings and sauces. Soaked nuts are a great solution if you want to make a salad dressing creamy and a little thicker but aren’t doing dairy or soy (tofu in particular). Simply add them to the blender as you’re making the dressing or sauce.

Other uses for soaked nuts? Share them here! I’d love to expand my repertoire.



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13 Comments

  1. Michelle

    March 3, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Excellent Post!

  2. Jasmine Lord

    July 8, 2011 at 7:04 am

    What about Chia Seeds, are they good for you?

    • Margaret Floyd

      July 8, 2011 at 9:46 am

      Chia seeds are great for you. They – and flax seeds – don’t need to be soaked. They’re so small they actually get gelatinous when you soak them, so you can eat them as is.

  3. Heather Brandt

    September 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

    How long do the nuts last once slow roasted & how do I store?

    • Margaret Floyd

      September 27, 2011 at 7:46 am

      Great question. They’ll last for several weeks if you keep them in a glass jar in a cool cupboard, or even better store them in the fridge and you’ll extend their life up to several months.

  4. Wendy

    December 15, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I love that you are telling the world about this! It really saved me when I learned about it. I used to love nuts but could only eat a few before getting a stomach ache!

    I also wanted to add that soaked nuts are my savior when the winter hits… yes even in Tucson. When it gets colder and darker I could easily eat every cookie or piece of bread in the house – and often have! (I’ve even been known to raid the cupboard of plain Wasa bread (sp?) when I couldn’t find anything else.) Now I keep bowls of soaked, dehydrated nuts on the counter for snacking on. (cashew- kale chips too, but they disappear REALLY fast and they take much longer to make) They (almost always) satisfy those cravings and keeps me out of the cookie jar. It works for the kids too – really!

  5. Liese

    August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I soaked and drained my cashew. But didn’t have time to work with them.
    I wrapped them in cloth in a zippy and put them in the fridge. How long can they last?

    • Margaret Floyd

      August 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      They will probably last about a week, give or take. Just keep them as cold as possible and try to throw them into smoothies or even in salad dressings as a thickener as you go through your week

  6. Adam

    November 13, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Margaret. Great article, actually inspiring!! 🙂

    So I can soak hazelnut, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower etc. leave them soaked in a glass mason jar SEALED with lid on overnight in the refrigerator?

    and with or without sea salt?

    Thank you

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  8. Adam

    January 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Can anyone confirm how long soaked / dehydrated nuts will last if stored in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer?

    • Margaret Floyd

      January 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      @Adam – they typically last for several months if stored properly and fully dehydrated

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