Now that I’ve got your attention… Let’s talk nuts!
Many of us know the importance of soaking our legumes over night prior to cooking them, but not too many of us know the importance of also soaking our nuts and (most) seeds prior to eating them.
Much like legumes, nature designed nuts and seeds with inhibitors (ie. enzyme inhibitors, phytic acid) so that they do not come alive (grow) until the right conditions occur. With enough of a soaking (from rain), the essentially dormant seed can come alive and begin to sprout, thus commencing its life cycle.
Unless labeled as ‘sprouted’, nuts found in the supermarket are full of these inhibitors. These nuts can cause inflammation because they actually neutralize the natural enzymes your body would otherwise create to assist with digestion. As if that’s not bad enough, the pancreas has to counteract these inhibitors by producing large amounts of digestive enzymes, thus causing itself stress.
To render these nuts digestible, we must mimic nature’s process to a certain degree. By simply giving nuts a soak then drying them in a dehydrator, a low temp oven or in the sun, we increase the digestibility of nature’s snack food. Not only does their flavor become super enhanced and outstanding but our body isn’t taxed in the process!
Those who experience digestive problems from eating nuts will find that soaking them will take the edge off because the body will actually be able to utilize their nutrients! When it comes to soaking times, a good rule of thumb is to soak the harder nuts for longer than the softer ones. Simply cover the nuts with water and a tsp (or so) of salt and soak away! Here is a good rule of thumb that I’ve been following for years:
Hard (almonds, hazelnuts, Pistachios) : 4-8 hour soak
Medium (brazil, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds): 2-4 hour soak
Soft (cashews, macadamias, pine nuts, sunflower seeds): 1-2 hour soak
Once soak time has elapsed, rinse nuts in filtered water 2-3 times and transfer to dehydrator or oven or sun. I always set my dehydrator to 115′ for maximum nutrient retention. Nuts and seeds can require anywhere from 12-24 hours to become hard and crunchy.
Once dry, mix them together with raisins, goji berries and whatever other dry fruit you desire and you’ve got a quick trail mix for snacks!