Last night I was putting some Brazil nuts in water to soak when I thought about the last time I soaked some walnuts, pecans and almonds and told you about it.
I actually got a few questions from some of you about this process and realized I knew very little about it. The main questions were, how long do I soak and how long to dry them after soaking?
Good questions! Especially since The Southern Gent called to tell me a couple of days after I soaked the walnuts that they tasted like soap. He then called me later in the afternoon, after he had consumed a handful or two, to tell me that he had discovered mold on them. Yeah, I know, gross!
So, it turns out that different nuts have different soaking times and that letting them dry on the counter might not be sufficient.
To help us all navigate this soaking challenge I did a little research and found some sites with good information:
- vegetarian.about.com “[B]enefits [of soaking nuts] include increased enzyme activity, greater absorption of the food’s nutrients by the body and increased digestibility. When soaked, nuts and seeds will begin the sprouting process which bumps up their nutrient profile considerably.”
- Rawmazing: “Nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors such as phytic acid, that can put a strain on your digestive system . . . Soaking not only releases the enzyme inhibitors, it starts the germination process which releases the good enzymes and nutrients!”
- Raw Food Living: “Soaking times vary with the nut. Generally the more dense the nut, the longer the soaking time. Ideally, soaking should be done at room temperature.” This site has a helpful chart!
- Nouveau Raw: After soaking, “[s]pread them out on your dehydrator sheets in a single layer and dry them at 115 degrees for the specified time, turning occasionally, until they are thoroughly dry and crisp. Make sure they are completely dry. If not, they could mold, and won’t have that crunchy, yummy texture you expect from nuts and seeds.” Imagine that! They can mold?! She goes on to explain, “[i]f you are unable to dry your nuts or seeds, only soak an amount that you can be sure to use within two or three days. For convenience, I like to soak nuts and seeds in mason jars, rinse them after 12 hours, and then if I don’t have a chance to dry them, I store them in my refrigerator. It is important to rinse them twice a day with fresh water, draining the water each time. You want to use these nuts within a few days, because as with any live food, mold tends to set in within days if you’re not careful. To dehydrate them: spread out on the mesh sheets that come with your dehydrator. Set the thermostat at 105 degrees and dry until completely dry. This can range anywhere from 24-48 hours. Test them through out the process. Once dry and cooled, store in a mason jar in the fridge to extend shelf life.” A final note here, she also explains that you cannot buy truly raw almonds except in California or online. She provides a link to buy them raw online.
- Lunchbox.com: This site has some good recipes using your soaked (and apparently dried in the dehydrator) nuts.
Happy soaking and drying. Be sure to let me know what you find that works for you or if you have any insights to add to this process!