bowls of sprouted nuts

HOW TO SPROUT NUTS AND SEEDS

Megan Hors d'oeuvres, Condiments & Sides, Treats, Whole Food Recipes 12 Comments

Soaking raw nuts and seeds overnight in salt water is essential for good general health, if you plan to eat nuts as a regular part of your diet.  Former cultures knew to ferment their grains.  Modern trends toward the healthfulness of raw food or even the benefits of a grain-free diet often miss this important step.

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In other words, if you are a raw foodie, or on a grain-free diet such as Paleo, it is vital that you sprout the nuts you consume. This includes almond butter. And this step even works well with peanuts.

Phytates in grains, nuts, and seeds need to be neutralized; otherwise they bind with other minerals in your body creating nutritional deficiencies.  This really isn’t an optional step.  We must start soaking all the nuts, seeds, and grains we eat.

Even tubers and beans will benefit from a significant reduction in their phytate content. This is done through proper soaking and cooking methods. (In the case of beans, gas produced in the lower intestine is a result of improper preparation methods.)

If you are grain-free and legume-free, possibly also starch-free, you can see why our bodies have an easier time healing without these foods!  They are high in phytic acid, hard to digest, and rob the body of the nutrients it needs to get healthy!

While some ingestion of phytates is unavoidable, we need to lower that amount; and for nuts, a long soaking in salt water is what does the trick.

There are a few seeds that do not require soaking.  They are chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds. (Flax seeds are still high in phytates and should be eaten in moderation.)

The technique for sprouting follows…and don’t forget, spread the word: granola and raw muesli aren’t healthy; dry cereal is deleterious to one’s health; whole grain breads that aren’t made from a traditional sourdough or from fermented grain are all likely to lead to the loss of essential nutrients and compromised health.

Likewise,  a diet too heavy with raw or roasted nuts or seeds that haven’t been sprouted will deplete the body of its much-needed minerals.  Digestive discomfort or allergic reactions after eating nuts can be the body’s way of telling us that the digestive mechanism is being overly taxed.

As you execute the following soaking technique, enjoy some connectedness you may feel with women who lived centuries and millenia ago, those who made their food from corn, acorns, rye, and wheat, cultures that soaked, pounded, strained, fermented and enjoyed a beneficial relationship with their food.

How to Sprout Nuts and Seeds

Soaked, Sprouted, Dehydrated “Crispy” Nuts

Soaking and Sprouting

For every 4 cups of raw seeds or nuts, cover with room temperature, filtered water by two inches, and 2 tsp. sea salt.  Stir well to dissolve the salt.  Leave out overnight at room temperature to soak.  Drain them in a colander; and rinse them well. If you suspect old nuts, or possible rancidity, or mold, such as with peanuts, add 1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder to the salted soaking water. This will kill any potential mold.

(As a side note, cashews have already been heated.  Their shells are toxic and a heating process is used to eliminate the chemical poison and to free the nut from its lining.  Therefore, no cashew we buy from the store is technically “raw.”  Shorter soaking times for cashews are still beneficial; whereas longer soaking times will render them slimy.  2 hours to overnight is adequate for cashews and still helps to reduce phytic acid.  Subsequent dehydrating and roasting are also beneficial, as with all nuts and seeds, although roasting can destroy beneficial enzymes.)

Dehydrating

Use any soaked nut or seed that has been duly drained and rinsed.  Toss with optional sea salt to taste and place in your dehydrator or low temperature-capable oven, 95-145 degrees.  For some nuts, such as macadamia or hazelnut, this process of completely drying out the nut can take as long as 72 hours.  For smaller seeds, 24 hours may still be necessary.  To check your nuts’ doneness, let one or all cool to room temperature.  Then eat one.  It should be very dry and crispy, no softness or chewiness to the inside.  With the exception of walnuts, (which should still be stored in the refrigerator or freezer because their oils go rancid more quickly), the nuts will have a good shelf life and may now be stored in a sealed container in your pantry.

Happily, sprouted nuts are the crispiest, most palatable way to eat nuts.

 

  • HI Meghan! Should brazil nuts be soaked as well? I’ve been advised by my naturo to increase my brazil nut intake for selenium and tried to research whether or not they should be soaked but came up short. Would love your thoughts 🙂

  • Hi Charlotte, yes, do soak brazil nuts. Because they are so large, try to soak them for the full 18 hours. Also, add a bit, 1/2 tsp., of vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid) to your soaking water if you aren’t sure of their freshness to help protect you from rancidity issues. Cheers! I think brazil nuts are under-appreciated! They are so yummy- great, unusual texture. 🙂

  • Though it’s not required, I prefer to soak chia seeds before I add them to my shakes in the morning because I do not like them in my teeth! =) Plus the gel action it takes on helps to emulsify the shake a bit which I like! Pinned. Great resource here!! =)

  • I would like a copy this article. It’s tg e first time anyone has explained sprouted. I’m sure I’ll be needing it again.
    Email would be a nice feature to have under Share. I just
    recently noticed it myself.
    Thank you.
    Vgesner

    I believe I’ll be a frequent visitor.

  • Hi Vesta, soon I’ll have a handy pin feature on all my recipes that will allow them to directly be able to be pinned, maybe in two weeks this feature will be ready. 🙂 So if you do Pinterest it is really helpful, just an online bulletin board to be able to keep things/recipes you want to be able to find. So glad this article/recipe was helpful!! 🙂

  • This is great! I love some of the sprouted things I get at the store, and now I can try it myself. I’ve seen other posts on the subject, but this is well written. Thanks

  • Carey

    My first batch(es) almost out of soak(s)–brazil nuts and walnuts–excited to get them in dehydrator–thanks for informative ‘how-to’!

  • Megan Stevens

    Yay, how rewarding!!! So glad for you, what fun! Enjoy!

  • Megan Stevens

    Thanks, Debi!! 🙂

  • Allie

    Jessica I am curious how exactly you soak your chia seeds? I too want the “gel action” you referred to. Do you add any salt to the soaking water? And do you drain off all the water before using the seeds, or would that get rid of the gel-ness? Thanks for your help!

  • Megha Bhardwaj

    Hi! I just read this post thanks to theorganickitchen! Id read an article about kidney stones. I recently suffered from Kidney Stones, so am looking for more information on how to plan a healthy diet around this. I am very fond of nuts and love eating them on the go if i get hungry.. Also, can you recommend other low oxalate nuts and seeds that i can munch on straight away ? I read about preparing Almonds and cashews.. but what about Sunflower seeds? Do i need to soak those too? and, can i soak them without salt, as I have been advised to lower my salt intake completely..adding salt to the nuts over night kind of makes the point moot 😀 Please advise! Thank you !!

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Megha, if you’d like to meet for dietary consulting I do that. My consulting page is here: http://eatbeautiful.net/consulting/ I meet with clients via Skype or phone. The breadth of your questions is beyond the scope of this forum. But I’m happy to answer the quick questions: yes, do soak sunflower seeds, too. The salt gets rinsed off. Sea salt is good for everyone; just avoid factory-refined table salt. Blessings!! It’s such a learning journey, but so worth it. 🙂