A step-by-step tutorial on how to soak and dehydrate nuts. It's so important to know where our food comes from and how we should go about processing it for maximum health benefits. Let me show you how to do exactly that.
Do you know what phytic acid is and what it does?
Phytic acid is present in the bran of all grains and the hulls of nuts and seeds. Phytic acid inhibits the absorption of minerals - especially calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc - in the body.
Proper preparation of soaking nuts and grains neutralizes the phytic acid, making them more easily digested plus increases the nutritional value!
The following tutorial for soaking nuts is based on the Crispy Nuts recipe found in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook written by Sally Fallon. I think this cookbook is a must for every REAL food kitchen. If you don't have it yet, you are in for a treat!
Learning about soaking nuts and dehydrating nuts is an easy way to properly prepare them so as to neutralize phytic acid and make them more digestible. Crispy Nuts is a great start to delicious homemade trail mix - my children love it!
After all, we have to keep in mind that this process is not new. Far from it, in fact.
In the hustle and bustle of modern life, we've lost the value of real food preparation. And we've lost so many of the health benefits that come from eating "old" food.
In the attempt to have foods that could last long journeys and feed ever-greater numbers of people, we accidentally created food that isn't really food. They're food products. We've largely forgotten what it's like to make real food.
In my post all about grain preparation, I go into the importance of soaking and sprouting with a bit more detail. I recommend you go over and read the whole thing!
It's so important to know where our food comes from and how we should go about processing it for maximum health benefits.
And now, let me show you how I soak and dehydrate nuts!
- Mix the nuts, salt, and water and leave overnight to soak.
- In the morning, drain the water from the nuts. I don't rinse them - they are good with a hint of saltiness.
- Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet.
- Place in a warm oven - 170F for 12 - 24 hours - My oven only goes down to 170F but if I am using the dehydrator, I set it to 150F. Stir occasionally until the nuts are completely dry and crisp. Make sure to dry the nuts completely or they may mold if kept over 2 weeks.
- Store in an airtight container.
Cashews take a bit more care because even if they are "raw", they have already been heated twice during processing. Do not soak cashews too long or dry them out too slowly - they develop a bad taste. For cashews, soak in saltwater for 12 hours and dry in an oven set to 200F.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to soak and dehydrate nuts?
Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors, such as phytic acid, that impact your ability to absorb other nutrients. This is why they are called anti-nutrients. The enzyme inhibitors also make the nuts more difficult for your body to digest.
Soaking the nuts mimics the process of germination, telling the seed it is ready to grow, and making the enzyme inhibitors go away.
Do I have to dehydrate the nuts after soaking them?
It is not necessary to dehydrate the nuts, but it is recommended. Dehydrating the nuts after soaking returns them to their crispy state. If you choose not to dehydrate the nuts, store them in the refrigerator, but they will only last a few days.
What is phytic acid?
Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient. It prevents your body from absorbing minerals and binds with them to make them unavailable to the body for use.
Why do I need to add salt?
The salt activates enzymes that neutralize the phytic acid which is an enzyme inhibitor.
How long can I store dehydrated nuts?
Store soaked and dehydrated nuts in an airtight container, or a mason jar works great. As long as the nuts are thoroughly dried they will keep in the pantry for a couple of weeks. To extend their shelf life, they can be stored in the refrigerator.
Soaking and dehydrating nuts is much easier than you'd think and so important in order to maximize the health benefits.
- Cashews require a shorter soaking time to keep them from developing a poor taste. They should not be soaked for longer than 12 hours.
- Use filtered water when soaking your nuts to ensure the best end result. Regular tap water contains chemicals that we don't want to be absorbed into the nuts.
- Avoid using table salt as it has no nutritional value.
- If you are not sure how long to dehydrate the nuts, taste them after 6 hours and every hour after that until they are dry and crispy.
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How to Soak and Dehydrate Nuts
- 4 cups raw nuts - almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
Mix the nuts, salt and water and leave overnight to soak.
In the morning, drain the water from the nuts. I don't rinse them - they are good with a hint of saltiness.
Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet.
Place in a warm oven - 170F for 12 - 24 hours - My oven only goes down to 170F but if I am using the dehydrator, I set it to 150F.
Stir occasionally (if you think about it) until the nuts are completely dry and crisp. Make sure to dry the nuts completely or they may mold if kept over 2 weeks.
Store in an airtight container.
- Cashews take a bit more care because even if they are "raw", they have already been heated twice during processing. Do not soak cashews too long or dry them out too slowly - they develop a bad taste. For cashews, soak in salt water for 12 hours and dry in an oven set to 200F.