A Complete Guide To Soaking Nuts & Seeds
This guide will explain the issue with raw nuts and seeds, how to make them more digestible, and provide a soaking chart for nuts and seeds.
Nuts and seeds are tiny powerhouse packed with nutrition and can benefit any type of diet, but if nuts and seeds are not soaked and properly prepped some of these nutrients can be missed out on and can cause digestion issues and block nutrient absorption. Follow this guide to make sure you do not miss out on all the health benefits nuts and seeds have to offer by activating nuts and seeds properly.
The Problem with Raw Nuts and Seeds
Phytic acids or phytates are anti-nutrients that can block the absorption of nutrients. These anti-nutrients can be found in animals as well as plant-based foods. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that can be found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Raw nuts and seeds have high levels of phytic acid which can decrease the absorption of minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
It may seem offputting that the foods you consume are actually blocking nutrient absorption, but there is a good reason. These plant foods contain phytic acid to act as protection, protecting them from bacterial infection and being eaten by insects. Luckily these phytates can be removed or deactivated by soaking or sprouting your nuts and seed prior to consumption.
What does soaking nuts and seeds do?
When you soak nuts and seeds before consumption it helps activate the enzymatic properties (properties that make them more digestible) that lie dormant once they have been dried and deactivate anti-nutrients like phytic acid.
The soaking process activates the enzymes making them more easily digested and absorbed - basically your body will thank you. This process is activating the germination process that takes a nut or seed from something so small to blossom into a full-grown plant. Soaking nuts and seeds not only makes them easier for the body to break down but also improves flavor and texture when making plant milk or vegan cheeses - now your blender will thank you.
How To Soak Nuts & Seeds
The first step is to rinse your nuts or seeds well.
Soak with ample water. Typically a 1:2 ratio of nut/seed to water. So grab a large bowl and make sure there is plenty of room for water. Keep in mind, that most nuts will increase in size as they become hydrated.
Soaking time varies usually depending on the size of the nut or seed. Smaller nuts and seeds mean shorter soaking periods and larger ones mean longer soaking periods.
After the nuts or seeds have been soaked, it's time to strain off the water and rinse well. Now that they are activated they can be used for making nut milk, cheese, or other raw vegan recipes.
Soaking Time Charts
Below is a guide on the various soaking times for the typical nut or seed. Keep in mind that nuts and seeds can be over soaked, for example, cashews will become slimy and lose flavor if soaked for too long. If you need to buy yourself some time before using, you can strain and rinse it and then store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
|ALMONDS||soak almonds for 8-12 hours or overnight|
|BRAZIL NUTS||no soaking or 2-4 hours|
|CASHEW NUTS||soak cashews for 6-12 hours or overnight|
|HAZEL NUTS||no soaking or 4-8 hours|
|MACADAMIA NUTS||no soaking or 2-4 hours|
|PECANS||soak 8-12 hours|
|PINE NUTS||no soaking or 2-4 hours|
|WALNUTS||soak 8-12 hours|
|PUMPKIN SEEDS||soak 6 hours|
|SESAME SEEDS||soak 8 hours|
|SUNFLOWER SEEDS (HULLED)||soak 6-8 hours|
Final Words, Soaking Nuts + Seeds
When it comes to nuts and seeds, it's best practice to prepare them by soaking them. Your body will benefit and if using them to make vegan cheese or milk, you will put less strain on your blender and the consistency will be much smoother.
Check out our guide to plant-based milk.
Check out our guide to soaking beans and legumes.