Per my last post, nuts and seeds should be soaked for the same reasons as grains and legumes. Nuts and seeds also contain compounds that impair digestion, reduce mineral absorption and nutrient levels. However, by soaking nuts and seeds in water, those anti-nutrients are neutralized, thereby resulting in a much more nutritious food.
Nuts can be soaked in plain filtered water or water with a pinch of sea salt for a few hours or up to 12 hours. Once they have been soaked, drain and rinse the nuts before proceeding. Soaked nuts can then be blended with fresh water and strained to make an easy nut milk. Soaked, blended cashews become very thick, creamy and neutral in taste and can be used in many ways as a , including sour cream, heavy cream, and milk.
You can certainly eat soaked nuts without any further ado. In fact, I rather like soaked walnuts, which taste a little juicier and less bitter than fresh. But soaked nuts are a little soggy and can get moldy if not refrigerated and consumed within a couple of days.
You can dehydrate nuts in a dehydrator, which will dry out the nuts at a temperature of 115 degrees Farenheit or less in order to preserve any live enzymes, if the nuts were truly raw to start out with. Keep in mind, most nuts in the US that are labeled “raw” have actually been pasteurized and heated to a point that destroys the live active enzymes and makes them “unsproutable.” (Sprouting can occur only with a live food and takes longer, e.g., a few days, than just soaking.) Truly raw domestic nuts, such as almonds, can be purchased directly from the grower, either online or at your local farmers market. Otherwise, it is possible to buy imported, raw nuts from the supermarket.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can still dry out soaked nuts in an oven at a low temperature, such as 250 degrees to get them a little crispy. It is still advisable to store dehydrated or baked soaked nuts in the refrigerator to ensure they stay fresh for longer.
Consumers, as well as food manufacturers, have responded to the demand for soaked nuts and seeds. If you don’t want to do it yourself, there are now soaked, sprouted and dehydrated nuts available at many natural food stores, online, and at farmers markets.
Thank you so much Pamela for the time you took to answer all these questions. I have learned so much from reading the questions and responses when I was growing up my parents used to soak the grains before cooking, but I did no know why. Now it does make sense to me. I greatly appreciate your knowledge that I am benefiting from . Thank you again. Madeleine
My pleasure, Madeleine! How fortunate you were that your parents were so knowledgeable and you were able to benefit from their healthful practices!
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Pamela, Do you have a good online source to buy nuts? I usually buy mine at whole foods, but now I’m not sure what to look for?!
I buy my nuts from livingnutz.com, but our Whole Foods has great imported raw Italian almonds if you’re not sure which to get. 🙂
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I soaked my almonds overnight, let them dry out then put them in 300 oven for 15 before making almond butter like usual. This time it won’t cream! My food processor is smoking so I’ve turned it off to let it rest several times but still having no luck. It’s still crumbly. Not giving up…
Hi Kelly, when you say you “let them dry out,” how do you know they were dry? Did you use a dehydrator? I fear the nuts were not completely dry when you made your almond butter. If you are still working on it, perhaps you should dry out the ground meal in the oven and then try to grind into almond butter again.
After soaking, I spread them out on a cookie sheet to dry before putting them in the oven. In the absence of a dehydrator, is it safe to assume they should be kept in the oven longer than the usual 15 mins it takes when they’re not soaked?
I’m sorry I didn’t give specific directions related to soaking nuts for the purposes of making almond butter. Yes, you need to dehydrate them until they are very dry, about 12-24 hours in a dehydrator or a 150-200 degree oven.
I’m sorry to belabor the point, but just to clarify… oven for 12 hours (I don’t own a dehydrator)? If that’s the case, I might have to go back to not soaking for almond butter use.
Not at all! Ask as many questions as you have! Yes, the nuts need to be fully dried in either an oven or a dehydrator before you can blend them into almond butter. It will take forever if they’re not fully dry, and it also will cause the almond butter to spoil very quickly. I would take the meal that you have, if you have it, and incorporate it into something else like a smoothie or hot porridge. Or if you still want to try making the nut butter, dry it out in the oven until it is almost crispy. I will make a note on the post with more specific instructions on how to dry out the nuts.
Thanks again for putting up with all my questions!!! I greatly appreciate it. 🙂
You read my mind! So glad you wrote this as I have been meaning to research this very topic. Interesting about previous comment from Marco about the pancreas. Never heard of that. Love all your information here, Pamela, and of course, the recipes!
Thank you, Lori. I keep meaning to comment on your blog, but I’m always in a rush! Love all your great info, too!
Brilliant advice Pamella. One can do some serious harm to the pancreas when consuming too many raw nuts which I have been guilty of.
Thank you, Marco. I’ve just noticed more and more of my students following a grain-free or Paleo diet, and increasing their consumption of nuts. So I figured it was high time to relay this info. All the best~
Pamela, Your advice is timely to help those that prescribe to the paleo diet. Illustrating that there are all sorts of issues that can come from seemingly innocent foods such as 1 pound of raw almonds a day in ones diet could be a really bad idea. I’m not a fan of paleo so I fall into a rather odd segment and definitely need help navigating the path. Your knowledge base is impressive so keep it coming.
Thank you, Marco! Agreed about downing a pound of (unsoaked or soaked) almonds in one day.