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Soaking nuts and seeds

A question was brought up in the onion bread comments about soaking nuts and seeds. I have to admit that I often forget to soak nuts unless a recipe specifically states to do so. When in doubt, though, I use the chart in Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine, which talks about soaking almonds, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin but not macadamias and pine nuts.

Are there some that should always be soaked, some that shouldn’t ever? What’s your take on soaking? Would you not make a recipe if you forgot to soak beforehand? And, does anyone know why we soak?

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Comments

  • There’s an interesting and concise explanation of why to soak your nuts online. Basically, the author writes:

    Why is it important to soak nuts and seeds before eating them?

    Nuts and seeds naturally contain enzyme inhibitors. And by soaking them, you not only release the toxic enzyme inhibitors, but also increase the life and vitality contained within them! The purpose of these enzyme inhibitors is to protect the nut and/or seed until it has what it needs for growing (ex. sunlight, water, soil, etc.). Since the soak water will contain the enzyme inhibitors, and is very acidic to the body, please be sure to rinse your nuts and seeds well after soaking.

  • Soaking is very important and you’ll probably notice the difference if you eat a meal that is nut or seed heavy, which you haven’t soaked vs one where there was soaking. Raymond’s explanation was perfect as to why you soak.

    One of the best things to do for time saving is to soak plenty of nuts and/or seeds and then dehydrate them at 105 degrees for about 18-24 hours (until dry). Then, they’re typically ready to use right away, when a recipe calls for nuts or seeds. This is especially great for crusts, cookies, pates, etc.

    Some exceptions to this are recipes that make cheese or creamy desserts and sauces. The soaking here helps make the creamy consistency. That being written, those recipes typically call for cashews, pine nuts, or macadamia nuts, so the soaking is relatively short and you “can” get away without soaking if you’re really short on time.

  • Thanks for the tip, Kristen. I didn’t realize I could soak ahead of time and dehydrate so I’m often caught off-guard when I want to make a recipe and realize I need soaked nuts. In Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine, there is a chart that gives time for soaking (see below for some of them). I’m wondering if these exact times matter or if over night might suffice.

    • Almonds: 12 hours
    • Flax: 8 hours do not soak if grinding
    • Hulled Pumpkin, Hulled Sunflower: 4 hours
    • Walnut, Pecans: 1-2 hours
    • Macadamia, Pine, Pistachio, Hemp Seeds: do not soak
  • Yes, just keep in mind that is the recipe calls for soaked nuts, it’s usually because you need them soft. In this case you would need to soak prior to using. However, there are a number of recipes calling for soaked and dehydrated, and by doing this in advance, you’ll save time because they’re ready to go.

    I’d add sunflower seeds (soak 4-6 hours) For pumpkin, I usually soak 4-6 hours Almonds can be 12-18 hours. Flax varies. You’ll see that after soaking for 30 minutes it can be ready to use for crackers. However, you can just play with it. But, to get optimal soaking, I’d soak for 6-8 hours.

    Pecans I usually soak 4-6 hours.

  • It depends on the recipe. If it calls for soaked, then it’s probably because they want a soft and plump nut or seed. If this is the case and you don’t have any plain, unsoaked nuts/seeds and you only DO HAVE ones that you’ve already soaked and dehydrated, then, YES, soak them again to soften them up. However, you wouldn’t need to soak them for as long as normal because they’d already have the enzyme inhibitors removed and are ready to eat. You’d just be softening them for that particular recipe. Hope that helps!

  • What about cashews? Soakers or non-soakers? :)

  • From all I’ve read, cashews are to be soaked at least one hour. I usually soak them for 1-3 hours (similar to walnuts and pecans), and I do notice the difference after one hour. They’re softer, and if you’re using for a creamy recipe (like cucumber raita, yum!), they blend with the other stuff much more easily.

  • I have a recipe that calls for a couple kinds of nuts, both to soak 1 to 2 hours. Would these be OK to soak in the same bowl, or should all soaking be separate?

  • Never soak almonds with other nuts. Thats all you have to remember.

  • Great, thanks. I was soaking pecans and sunflowers for the sunburgers. I just threw the pecans in with the sunflowers part of the way through. One less dish to wash!

  • Can you put nuts in the freezer? I often buy in bulk and my grandmother said to put nuts in the freezer to keep them fresh longer. Of course she puts a lot of things in the frig/freezer (even film, like from a camera). I question this advice in the raw food realm because I’m thinking perhaps the deep freeze will “kill” the nuts. Any thoughts?

  • i would avoid the extreme tempeture of freezing them

  • [Never soak cashews or peanuts.

    Nuts can be soaked up to 48 hours. Seeds and grains can be soaked up to 24 hours. (I learned you get the most nutrients when you soak up to these times.) You change the water 3-4 times a day. (I change it twice a day because of time; not the best though.) The warmer the water (not too warm) and the more water you add initially, the faster they germinate. When changing water, I rinse them well. If it smells funny, that’s probably bacteria growing. Throw it out. Although if you keep rinsing and the smell goes away, it could be okay… but I am not too sure and probably would not trust it. I’d throw it out!

    Once nuts, grains, seeds are germinated, you can store them in water in the refrigerator, BUT you have to change the water daily. If they are dehydrated, then you can just store them as they are. If they are sprouted, I think you can store them dry in the refrigerator (need to check that out).

    Also, you germinate nuts up to 48 hours because that is about when the nut has the most nutrients. Same for the seeds & grains for 24 hours. Of course, this is a lot of work… so I’m just now getting used to the idea of germinated for 12 hours or 24 hours. I germinate 24 hours now.

    Germinating removes the enzyme inhibitors which makes it easier to digest.

    Just remember oat groats don’t sprout.

  • Correction: You can soak cashews or peanuts…

  • I buy my nuts in bulk and then toss then directly into the freezer. Can they be sprouted from this state afterwards? I haven’t tried yet…

  • Ahhh, good question. Well, think of the enzyme inhibitor as a way for the nut or seed to survive the winter. Then when spring comes, and it is warm and rains, it begins to germinate and grow. So, I think your raw un-germinated nuts in the freezer will be fine (although, there may be a really freezing cold temperature that is not good for them).

    However, after you germinate the nuts/seeds and put them in the freezer… that’s like putting raw food in the freezer. Enzymes could quickly become denatured.

  • This is really interesting. I’m trying to find a system for soaking and storing nuts and seeds. Kind of similar to how I shop for produce and immediately wash and store everything appropriately right away. I’m trying to find a way to have nuts on hand. Usually I forget about soaking them, and then when I want them, I just eat a handful. But I’d prefer them to be soaked and then dehydrated.

    So, let’s see if I got this right. 1. Don’t soak almonds with any other nut or seed. But other mixtures (of the same soaking time) are ok.

    2. Does germinate mean that you want them to sprout? Or is this soaking before the sprouting begins?

    3. And after soaking, dehydrate the nuts or seeds till dry.

    I think I got it! Thanks, everyone.

  • Does germinate mean that you want them to sprout? Or is this soaking before the sprouting begins?

    Germinate is soaking/sprouting. But, I am referring to just soaking nuts.

    ...after soaking…

    You can also store soaked nuts/seeds/grains that are not sprouted in water in the refrigerator. Just make sure you change the water once a day. I usually store them up to a week… but haven’t tried anything after a week.

    My husband and I would like a way to automatically soak nuts and change water. That would be awesome! Maybe I’ll put a post out there.

  • Thanks.

    Yeah, I’m a really organized person. I love having a system/routine to make things easier. It must be the virgo in me.

    Thanks. Debbie

  • ok…I am really confused now..

  • My Mom and I want to know what is the longest you can keep soaked nuts in the fridge? We found some almonds and pecans we had soaked that were about 2 weeks old. (We got involved in trying so many new raw recipes we forgot about them!) :( They were in air tight jars and weren’t moldy so we did taste them and they tasted okay but are wondering if the nutrients are gone by now or if there is something else that could be wrong with them. Thanks in advance!!

  • When all else fails, ask Wikpedia…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprouting

  • ZoeZoe

    I got a lazy method for sprouting wheatgrain and buckwheat…I just soak it and then spread it out on dinner plates. Scoop it up twice a day, rinse and put them back on the dinner plates. A handy tip I got off a YouTube video of Juliano was to only sprout wheat grain and buckwheat until the tails were just 1mm long, about 24 hours. That was the tip that revolutionised my bread! It used to smell of wet dog before I started doing that!! Now it is absoluntely gorgeous, buttery and wonderful :)

  • Zoe, if you haven’t already ( I didn’t find it at last check), could you please post your bread recipe as well as your pumpkin butter recipe.

    Thanks! -Sunny

  • ZoeZoe

    I’ll post the bread one tomorrow, I’ll post it under the name ‘zoe’s bread’. The pumpkin butter was a jar that a raw food company sent to me for free. (www.detoxyourworld.com) It was just past it’s sell by date, I guess that’s why they sent it to me,free with my order. It was just pumpkin seeds, soaked and run through a Champion juicer or something similar, I haven’t tried to make it myself though. It was gorgeous. We ate it by the spoonful on its own!.

  • Thanks! I will check out the site for the pumpkin butter.

  • I am using a dehydrator for the first time tonight. (woo hoo!) Does anyone have a good suggestion for spicing up nuts after soaking and before dehydrating? On hand I have raw cashews, almonds, pecans, and macs. Thank you for any tips!!

  • I always have some fun inventing new recipes with the following: ground mustard, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, dill weed, ginger, cilantro, curry, cumin, nutmeg, garlic, sundried-tomatoes, sea salt. You can also do sweet and sour by mixing in some raw almond butter, raw agave, raw honey, apple juice, dried raisins. Have fun!

  • those sound like great flavors to play around with. thanks, j!

  • i want to ask the same thing as eliana, i have almonds that have been soaking in my fridge for about a week now and want to know if theyre okay, i kind of just assumed you could do that. also, i used almond meal to make a cake yesterday that was about a week old from my fridge, with the cover not completely on, and i got really sick.. where is the line with soaking and nuts? thanks

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