Do we really have to soak and dehydrate nuts and seeds? I get asked that question a lot. It takes time and energy and who really have an excess of that? But the answer is yes, I personally feel, through research and my own experience that it is an important step that will lead us to better health.
Ever head of Tannins?
The best advice I can give is to do a little test study for yourself to see. You will see especially in walnuts and almonds that they have a much more appealing taste after they are soaked and dehydrated.
In as little as 20 minutes the soak water is brown. After a couple of hours, the dust, residue and tannins from the skins are released into the water and the nut emerges with a smoother, more palatable flavor.
Astringent, mouth-puckering taste…
Walnuts are known for their astringent, mouth-puckering taste. By soaking and dehydrating them, this will be greatly reduced. This is because when soaking walnuts, the tannins are rinsed away, leaving behind a softer, more buttery nut. The soak water from nuts and seeds should always be discarded and never used as water in a recipe. Be sure to really rinse the nuts well after soaking them.
Why must we go through all this trouble? I find soaking nuts a very important step when it comes to my digestion. When nuts/seeds are soaked and/or sprouted in water, the germination process begins, in which the active and readily available amounts of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids begins to be activated.
Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid and enzymes inhibitors which make it quite hard on the stomach and digestion. This simple process can make all the difference in how you feel after consuming them and how your body assimilates them. To read more about the importance of why our bodies benefit from soaking nuts and seeds, click (here).
Did you know that you can make walnut flour? If interested in learning how, click (here) and I will guide you through the process.
4 cups raw walnuts
1 Tbsp Himalayan pink salt
8 cups water
Place the walnuts and salt in a large glass or stainless steel bowl along with 8 cups of water.
The walnuts will swell during the soaking process, so you want enough water to keep them covered.
Leave them on the counter to soak for 4-8 hours.
Loosely cover with a clean cloth, this allows the contents of the bowl to breathe.
If you think that it will be longer than 8 hours before you can get to them, place the bowl in the fridge, making sure to change the water every so often.
After they are done soaking, drain and rinse them in a colander.
Spread the walnuts on the mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator.
Keep them in a single layer and dry them at 115 degrees (F) until they are thoroughly dry and crisp. Make sure they are completely dry. If not, they could mold, plus they won’t have that crunchy, yummy texture you expect from nuts and seeds.
The dry time will vary due to the machine you own, the type of climate you live in and how full your dehydrator is when drying them.
Expect anywhere from 6 + hours.
Allow them to cool to room temperature before storing.
Store in airtight containers such as mason jars.
Use within a month – store in the panty.
Use within 3-6 months – store in the fridge
Use within 6-12 months – store in the freezer.
Oven method: (no longer raw)
Preheat the oven to 325-350 degrees (F).
Spread the walnuts on an ungreased cookie sheet in a single layer.
Roasting nuts with a touch of oil is a really nice way to add flavor and crispness. These approach is great when using them as a snack or sprinkled on top of salads.
Dry roast the walnuts if you plan in using them in recipes where they take the place of “flour.”
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Don’t leave them unattended, due to their high oil content, they will continue to roast after you remove them from the oven.
When toasted correctly they taste toasted, not bitter or burnt.
Good idea to stir them around a bit throughout the process.
Cool for about 1 hour. Make sure that they are cool before storing.
Note ~ You can also attempt to dry the walnuts in the oven and keep them raw but this is tricky. You will need to set the oven on the lowest setting, keep the door ajar and hang a thermometer in the oven to watch the temperature. Nothing is impossible. With this method… good luck and do your best.
Do soaked nuts and seeds have to be dehydrated?
If you are unable to dry the nuts or seeds, it is best to only soak an amount that you can be sure will used within two or three days. As with any live food, mold tends to set in within days if you’re not careful. They will need to be stored in water, sealed tight and placed in the fridge . It is important to rinse them twice a day with fresh water.
Below, I shared a photo of a walnut that is in the raw stage, soaked and dehydrated. Though the true test is doing it yourself and tasting each stage side by side so you can really learn the difference in how the taste and texture changes. Visually, you can see the change. The nut becomes lighter, crunchier, and has a milder taste.