Nuts and seeds need to be soaked and dehydrated to be truly health-promoting.
Lunch Hour Lesson #15
Most of us already know that nuts and seeds are power-packed with minerals and good fats. But, there’s an easy way to make them even better!
I have taught a few people how to soak and dehydrate raw nuts and seeds, and it often becomes a habit that they enjoy integrating into their daily lives. Along with homemade yogurt, it’s probably the most popular food prep strategy with my clients. (I talked about homemade yogurt back in Lunch Hour Lesson #4.)
Why are soaked and dehydrated nuts and seeds better than just eating them raw straight out of the bag?
- Plants (including nuts and seeds) don’t want to be eaten by animals or humans, but they don’t have claws, so many plants contain lots of irritating substances inside their tissues to discourage would-be consumers.
- Nuts and seeds particularly have something called phytic acid in them, which draws minerals from your body and can can contribute to deficiencies.
- In my case, I notice that eating raw nuts gives me headaches, but if I soak and dehydrate them, they don’t.
- Putting the nuts and seeds in water is like using a pre-stomach to break them down.
- Plants are powerful! Preparing them properly ensures that we can eat them and gain all their nutrition.
- Important enzymes have time to be activated.
- Many people think the nuts and seeds taste better.
- To summarize, soaking nuts and seeds minimizes their bad effects and optimizes their good effects on the body. It’s a win-win!
How do you do it?
- The first time, start with just almonds to practice the technique.
- Buy a bag of unsalted raw almonds.
- Pour them in a bowl, and add 1 tablespoon of sea salt.
- Add enough water to cover the almonds by 3 inches, and give everything a stir.
- Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let the almonds soak in the salted water for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain off the water with a colander.
- Spread the almonds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Put the baking sheet into the oven and let the nuts dry out (dehydrate) at your oven’s lowest temperature setting until desired crispiness.
What kinds of nuts and seeds are good for soaking?
- Almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds usually give the best results.
- Macadamia nuts should not be soaked, but they are a special type of nut that doesn’t really need it. I like to add unsalted macadamia nuts into the mix after I’ve soaked and dehydrated the other ones.
- Cashews can be soaked, but should not be left in the water longer than 5 hours because they become slimy.
- Because ovens vary widely, it can take anywhere from 2 – 6 hours to dry out the nuts and seeds. That’s why you’re doing a practice batch with the almonds 🙂
- Once you know the process, making a big batch makes it easy to have them on hand for a long time.
- Different kinds of nuts and seeds can be soaked together in the same salted water.
- Soaked and dehydrated nuts and seeds should always be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator as they are very “alive” and will go moldy quickly at room temperature.
Go through the course materials in a conversational fashion.
Make crispy almonds and share them with at least one other person.