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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