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Did you know there’s a healthier way to eat raw nuts?
Soaking and dehydrating nuts improves nutrient bio-availability and reduces naturally occurring anti-nutrients.
Traditional cultures have been soaking nuts in seawater for centuries. We have since discovered the nutritional benefits of replicating this practice through the use of warm water and sea salt.
The Benefits of Soaking Raw Nuts
Similar to legumes and grains, nuts contain phytic acid which exists to protect the nut until suitable conditions arise for the nut to germinate and grow. Nature has it all figured out!
When eating nuts, this phytic acid binds to certain minerals and transforms into a phytate. Unfortunately, phytates inhibit your body’s ability to absorb these nutrients.
Consequently, symptoms such as gastrointestinal irritation and digestive issues arise in some people, resulting in nutrient deficiencies. This is contrary to the effect I’m sure most of you are going for when eating an otherwise highly nutritious food. The caveat here? Nuts are only a nutrient-dense food when they’re prepared correctly — soaked and sprouted, then dehydrated.
The combination of warm water and the minerals in sea salt help to break down phytic acid by activating other helpful enzymes.
Why Soak & Sprout Raw Nuts?
Soaking nuts helps to break down this phytic acid, making the nuts more digestible. Sprouting goes a step further.
After several cycles of soaking and rinsing, and allowing the nuts a little bit of air, germination will occur. This further breaks down the enzyme inhibitors as the nuts are releasing their protective shield and unlocking stored nutrients to prepare for growth.
Do note: some nuts like pecans and walnuts will not sprout. The best candidate for sprouting is the humble almond.
Still, if you desire to make pecans, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and other nuts easily digestible and their nutrients fully available, you can simply soak in warm water and salt, then dehydrate.
Why Dehydrate Nuts?
It’s important to dehydrate your soaked nuts because if left out, the moisture in the nuts will result in mold growth. Dehydrating helps to prolong shelf life.
It’s a gentle, low-heat process that will preserve the nutrient goodness unlike high heat roasting — which is how most store-bought nuts are processed. Dehydrating leaves you with a crispy, crunchy nut.
The ideal temperature to dehydrate nuts is around 110°F, although 150°F is permissible. A low and steady heat is preferable to avoid damaging the heat-sensitive natural enzymes and nutrients. This will also help to preserve the unsaturated fatty acids which are unstable at high heats. When nuts are dried or roasted at high temperatures, these fatty acids become rancid while enzymes and nutrients are destroyed.
Soaked and dehydrated nuts have a delicious crispy texture that one would traditionally achieve through roasting. This is all without the added vegetable oils commonly used in roasting and the high heat processing that damages the nutrients. Win!
This recipe is the base for one cup of nuts. Each dehydrator has a different capacity so multiple this recipe as needed.