Most of us like nuts and seeds because they are tasty, a good source of protein and contain healthy fats, but did you know that soaking them in water increases their nutritional value?
Soaking nuts and seeds neutralizes enzymes inhibitors, produces beneficial enzymes, increases the amounts of vitamins, helps the absorption of proteins, and reduces phytic acid. To put it another way, nuts and seeds contain substances that prevents them from sprouting prematurely when growing, but these substances interfere with our ability to absorb their nutrients. However, soaking nuts and seeds causes these anti-nutrient substances to neutralize, for better nutrient absorption and ease in digestion. And when foods are easily digested, they are also more easily eliminated from the body, which means less buildup and toxicity in the body.
Because different nuts and seeds require different soaking times, I’ve provided a soaking chart that shows the soaking times for commonly used nuts and seeds. Now you don’t have to wonder how long to soak them! And if you want soaked nuts or seeds to again be crunchy for snacking, keep reading, because you’ll get to where it says how to dehydrate them.
How to Soak Nuts and Seeds
Know that it’s important to soak raw nuts and seeds only, because nuts and seeds that have been roasted or heated at high temperatures loose much of their enzymes and nutrients. Also, it’s best to choose organic nuts and seeds, simply because nuts and seeds that are not organic are likely to have been treated with chemicals, and you don’t want that!
To soak nuts or seeds, place them in a glass or ceramic bowl, add a little sea salt* to warm filtered water, then pour the water over the nuts or seeds, using enough water to cover. Since nuts and seeds expand when soaked, a ratio of 2:1 is your best bet, with two parts water to one part nuts or seeds. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let sit for a specified time. Rinse with filtered water then drain in a colander.
Nuts and Seeds Soaking Chart
|Nuts and Seeds
|Brazil Nuts||8 hours|
|Flax Seeds**||Don’t Soak|
|Hemp Seeds||Don’t Soak|
|Pine Nuts||Don’t Soak|
|Pistachio Nuts||4-8 hours|
|Pumpkin Seeds (Hulled)||8 hours|
|Sesame Seeds||8 hours|
|Sunflower Seeds (Hulled)||2 hours|
Soaking Chart: Copyright © 2016 Now That’s Vegan!
Soaking nuts and seeds will make them soft enough to blend in a high powered blender, for use in smoothies or in recipes that require blended nuts or seeds. If you want the soaked nuts to become crunchy again, you’ll need to dehydrate them.
How to Dehydrate Nuts and Seeds
To dehydrate nuts or seeds, spread the soaked and drained nuts or seeds on a baking sheet in a 150º F oven, turning occasionally until completely dry.
Know that older ovens may not allow a low enough temperature, but if you have a food dehydrator you can use it instead. Just follow the manufacturer’s directions for your particular dehydrator.
Expect the drying time to be anywhere between several hours to more than a day, depending on the nuts or seeds being dehydrated and whether you are using an oven or a dehydrator. Usually the longer it takes for the nuts or seeds to soak, the longer it takes for them to dry. Just check on them now and again and taste to be sure that they are completely dry, having a nice crisp texture.
Store dehydrated nuts and seeds in glass jars for easy access, for when you want a quick snack or for use in a recipe that requires dry nuts. Use within three to five days.
* Adding sea salt to the water is optional. Some believe it encourages the production of friendly enzymes and beneficial bacteria, and also speeds up the soaking time.
** Flax seeds don’t need soaking, but to best assimilate the nutrients they should be ground, otherwise they will pass through your system undigested. You can grind flax seeds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Refrigerate ground flax seeds in an airtight, opaque container for up to 60 days. When mixed with water, flax seeds can be used as an egg replacer in most baking recipes.