I’m Laura-Jane from therawtarian.com and today, I’m addressing another one of my most frequently asked questions. I’ll get a ton of email and I have a tiny Word document that has a few things that I cut and paste like oh, you want to know about this? Blank. And then I cut and paste it and that I have a few things, and this is one of them.
It’s like do I need to soak my nuts and seeds is a most frequently asked question. And the question is, the answer rather, is it depends.
In my raw food recipes, if I explicitly state in the simple instructions, if I say you must soak your seeds for 2 hours—and I’m banging on my fist like this when I do it—it means yes. You do need to soak. If I do not mention it, then you do not need to soak. Occasionally, it would be optional. Here’s an example.
I have a raw cheesecake recipe available on therawtarian.com. It’s one of my most popular recipes. And in that recipe, I specifically state for the cheesecake filing, I will say if your blender Is very crappy like a $25 blender from Target and it doesn’t blend things very well, you may want to soak your nuts for half an hour to soften them. So that would be an occasional thing I might state as well.
But let’s take a step back and talk about the big picture of soaking your nuts. Some raw food gurus will say that you must always soak your nuts. And what you should do is come home, soak your nuts a few times, rinse them off, dehydrate all of your nuts, and then store them. And let’s just say I don’t agree with that.
A)I think it’s overly complicated.
B)I’m a bit confused why you’re soaking them to get rid of the enzyme inhibitors, and I’ll talk about that in a second. But if you’re going to soak them to make them more digestible and moist, then why are we dehydrating them to take all the water out as well?
So it’s a lot of steps for very little payoff. But one good reason that I do agree with about soaking your nuts in advance, and I’ll talk about it with these beautiful walnuts that I have here today.
I have 1 cup that’s been soaking probably for just half an hour, and let’s pretend I was gonna make my raw walnut pate which is a very tasty one kind of like a savory spread to paste on cucumber rounds. Things like that. So I might tell you to soak your nuts in that recipe.
And one of the reasons that we soak them is because nuts and seeds are made to grow. They are amazing. They have a protective coating called an enzyme inhibitor that basically means that when they’re sitting just like this, that they aren’t trying to grow. They actually need water to start to sprout. And even if you’ve ever sprouted alfalfa seeds, you will know that in order to get them to sprout, you need to soak them and let them dry out a little bit and soak them and let them dry out. And that is because there’s a coating on the nuts or seeds called the enzyme inhibitor that means until that coating is washed away, they’re not going to grow.
I know I’m rambling, but I will get to a point. So what I’ve done here is soak these seeds, nuts rather, for about half an hour, and that’s probably about long enough to remove that protective coating. So what I would normally do if I was making that walnut pate for example and I don’t know why I filled this bowl so full, I’m just going to dump the water out. And you could use a strainer if you need to, but I don’t know. I’m just going to dump them out. And I should have shown you the water, but the water was a little bit murky. It was a little bit tan in color because it’s removing that enzyme inhibitor and it actually comes out in the water.
But then what you want to do again is just get them wet again and rinse again. And you know I might do it. It’s easy quickly. Just a couple of times. And then we could say that these nuts have been soaked and probably the majority of that enzyme inhibitor coating has been removed, which is great because we don’t—it’s better for you if the enzyme inhibitor has been removed.
But what it’s also done which is nice about soaking your nuts is that it does make them easier to digest. So if you have a sensitive stomach and you do find nuts give you a bit of an upset stomach, then soaking can be a good idea.
So that’s how you soak. But again, how do you when to soak and when not to soak?
Generally, I don’t soak. So these are dry walnuts. And an example here, I’ve just got a salad and I just threw some walnuts on it and I didn’t bother soaking them. I certainly could have because you could use these in the salad as well, but it depends on your level of commitment. Your practicality.
For example, I could tell you, you must only eat organic produce. 100%. That’s all you should eat. Okay, that would be nice. That would be better. Sure, we should all eat 100% organic produce, but is that practical? Can you find organic produce in your area? Can you afford it for all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that you eat? I can’t. So I think it’s important to pick and choose your battles.
So when it comes to my recipes at therawtarian.com, I know that was a long answer. Really, just if I don’t state that you need to do it, don’t worry about it and don’t soak. If I tell you that you must soak, I’m always very clear about it and I’ll explain why.
Sometimes, you need to soak so that it’s going to be easier to blend or process up. So yeah, that was kind of a long winded answer from me about whether or not to soak, and I hope that’s been helpful for you.
And again, really just choose something that’s going to work for you and for me in my life to make sure I could stay raw for probably almost 5 years, 4 years, 4 ½ years was that I didn’t put so much pressure on myself to be perfect. I decided well, you know, I’m not going to soak all my seeds and then dehydrate them for 12 hours before eating because I don’t have time for that. So pick your battles. And thank you so much for joining me.
I’m The Rawtarian from therawtarian.com, where I share simple, satisfying raw food recipes, and I thank you for being here and I hope to hear from you soon.
This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with like-minded, qualified health care professional(s). I wish you success on your raw journey!