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.
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.)
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.