– heard about soaking nuts and seeds, but you don’t why you should do it? or
– do you know it is important but think that you just can’t fit it into your schedule? or
– have you heard about Crispy Nuts, but don’t know what they are?
Well, I am here to clear all of that up.
How and Why You Should Soak Nuts and Seeds
1. It helps with digestibility
2. It’s easier and takes less time than you think
3. They just plain taste better this way!
Nuts and seeds are a wonderful addition to your diet. They have a bounty of healthy fats, minerals, protein and vitamins. However, they can also be a bit rough on your stomach. That’s because they contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that prevent them from being digested well and that can be detrimental to your health.
The answer to this problem is simple: soak your nuts and seeds
When seeds and nuts are planted in the ground, the warmth and moisture in the soil around them breaks down their skins so that they can germinate and grow into plants. Likewise, when we soak our nuts and seeds, we break down the encasing on these great sources of energy and make the nutrients more available to us.
I know. You’re already busy and this sounds like a lot of extra work.
But it’s really not.
Most of the time spent soaking and dehydrating is hands-off time. You just put the seeds or nuts in a bowl, transfer them to the dehydrator (or oven) and then take them out when dry.
For dehydrating, I highly recommend the Excalibur Dehydrator.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, however, you can start dehydrating with your oven. During the winter months, you’ll welcome the added warmth, but in the summer, you’ll wish you had the dehydrator :-)!
So…here is how to do it:
How to Soak and Dehydrate Nuts and Seeds (or – How to Make Crispy Nuts)
1. Measure 4-cup amounts of whatever nuts or seeds that you want to soak, depending upon how much dehydrating space you have. With the 9-tray dehydrator, I can dry about 25 cups of nuts/seeds at a time.
2. Completely cover the nuts/seeds with purified water. I recommend Reverse Osmosis.
3. Add 2 tsp quality salt for each 4 cups of nuts/seeds. I recommended RealSalt . In Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon has different recommended amounts for each nut/seed. For simplicity’s sake, I use the same amount of salt for each seed/ nut, and this has worked well. The salt enhances the soaking procedure and gives your nuts great flavor.
4. Soak for 7-12 hours. Overnight is perfect.
5. Spread out in a single layer on dehydrator trays or cookie sheets (for oven drying). You can actually pile up sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds somewhat since they dry much faster than nuts.
6. Dry at a low temperature. Use the lowest temperature of your oven. In a dehydrator I opt for about 125 degrees.
7. Dry until the nuts/seeds are crispy.
You’ll find that your nuts and seeds are much tastier and lighter than before. You will never go back again!
Notes and Tips:
- Cashews have a somewhat toxic coating on them between the nut and the shell. According to most resources that I researched, this coating is removed in processing. (I did find one source saying nothing about it all being removed). Additionally, they are prone to mold and so are not the greatest choice for those sensitive to mold.So I recommend only eating them in moderation or not at all. They also get slimy when soaked longer than 6 hours so if you choose to soak to improve their digestibility, keep an eye on the clock :-).
- Temperature control is one way in which the dehydrator is a much better option than the oven. Typically the lowest temperature for an oven is high enough to destroy the enzymes in the nuts/seeds, therefore diminishing their healthful qualities. However, I still think the oven is the best place for someone new to soaking and drying to start.
- There is debate about what temperature to dehydrate at in order to preserve the enzymes in your food. For now I am comfortable with 125. I am not an ardent raw foodist, and after researching this I found that the temperature of the food in the dehydrator is significantly below the temperature of the air around it. Thus, if the setting of the dehydrator is 125, your food temperature is almost certainly in the raw food range–115 or below.
How to Use Soaked & Dried “Crispy Nuts”
1. Eat them plain – yum!
2. Make Homemade Nut or Seed Butter
3. Make Nut or Seed Milk – Here’s the Easiest Almond Milk Ever!
4. And here’s a variation – yummy Chocolate / Carob Nuts.
As I’ve said before, try not to be “all-or-nothing” in your thinking about soaking, drying, and the raw food issues. My family loves the flavor of the dehydrated nuts, but we don’t like hazelnuts (filberts) unless they are roasted. So we roast them after soaking them. They are still lighter and tastier than without soaking, but they’ve lost some of their nutrition. We also sometimes eat unsoaked nuts and seeds when we’re served them, but we sure do notice right away what a difference there is.
The point here is to make steps towards wholeness and to do what you can at the pace that you can handle.
If you’re interested in finding out more about an Excalibur Dehydrator (in my mind this is the one to buy if you are serious about dehydrating – and who wouldn’t be :-)?), I would be happy to help with a great deal and shipping right to your door! All of the details are on my Best Excalibur Deal. Your purchase will also help keep this blog up and running!
Interested in other nutrition boosting posts? How about:
Have you ever soaked your nuts and/or seeds?
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Shared at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays.