There are several reasons for soaking nuts ranging from flavor to increased nutritional value. Sometimes it is simply to prepare the food to be soft enough that it will blend more smoothly. One terrific reason to soak nuts is that many nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, have a much more appealing taste after they are soaked and rinsed. Nuts contain inhibitors that shield them in nature until growing conditions are perfect. The inhibitors, however, also keep your body from accessing the nutrients in nuts. Soaking nuts prior to eating them releases more of their vitamins, which allows those nutrients and health benefits to be more easily absorbed by your body. Basically same thing goes for seeds and sprouts.
The benefits of soaking nuts and seeds:
Other reputed benefits 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. Nuts should only be soaked after they are removed from their shells. You’ll notice that nuts without skins such as macadamias, cashews or Brazil nuts don’t have as much of the murky water residue, but soaking is still recommended for ease in blending and for nutritional purposes. The soak water from nuts and seeds should always be discarded and never used as water in a recipe.
The purpose of these enzyme inhibitors is to protect the nut or seed until it has what it needs for growing. Nature allowed the inhibitors and toxic substances to be easily removed when the conditions (enough rain and sun) were met. In nature, when it rains the nut gets enough moisture so it can germinate and produce a plant. The plant then continues to grow with the sunlight. By soaking nuts and seeds, you release these toxic enzyme inhibitors and increase the life and vitality contained within them!
Recommended soaking time:
Soak your nuts and seeds anywhere from 20 minutes, to 2 to 3 hours, even overnight in the refrigerator. In general, harder nuts will take longer to soften. If your recipe calls for soaked nuts or seeds and you are low on time, try to squeeze in 20 minutes or just do a really good job rinsing them. Otherwise, plan ahead a bit and soak them overnight in your refrigerator in a glass container with an airtight lid. Soaking nuts in plastic is generally not recommended as plastic can leach into the water and into your food.
Soaking and Sprouting Time
|Nut / Seed||Dry Amount||Soak Time||Sprout Time||Sprout Length||Yield|
|Alfalfa Seed||3 Tbsp||12 Hours||3-5 Days||1-2 Inches||4 Cups|
|Almonds||3 Cups||8-12 Hours||1-3 Days||1/8 Inch||4 Cups|
|Amaranth||1 Cup||3-5 Hours||2-3 Days||1/4 Inch||3 Cups|
|Barley, Hulless||1 Cup||6 Hours||12-24 Hours||1/4 Inch||2 Cups|
|Broccoli Seed||2 Tbsp||8 Hours||3-4 Days||1-2 Inches||2 Cups|
|Buckwheat, Hulled||1 Cup||6 Hours||1-2 Days||1/8-1/2 Inch||2 Cups|
|Cabbage Seed||1 Tbsp||4-6 Hours||4-5 Days||1-2 Inches||1 1/2 Cups|
|Cashews||3 Cups||2-3 Hours||4 Cups|
|Clover||3 Tbsp||5 Hours||4-6 Days||1-2 Inches||4 Cups|
|Fenugreek||4 Tbsp||6 Hours||2-5 Days||1-2 Inches||3 Cups|
|Flax Seeds||1 Cup||6 Hours||2 Cups|
|1 Cup||12-48 Hours||2-4 Days||1/2-1 Inch||4 Cups|
|Kale Seed||4 Tbsp||4-6 Hours||4-6 Days||3/4-1 Inch||3-4 Cups|
|Lentil||3/4 Cup||8 Hours||2-3 Days||1/2-1 Inch||4 Cups|
|Millet||1 Cup||5 Hours||12 Hours||1/16 Inch||3 Cups|
|Mung Beans||1/3 Cup||8 Hours||4-5 Days||1/4-3 Inches||4 Cups|
|Mustard Seed||3 Tbsp||5 Hours||3-5 Days||1/2-1 1/2 Inches||3 Cups|
|Oats, Hulled||1 Cup||8 Hours||1-2 Days||1/8 Inch||1 Cup|
|Onion Seed||1 Tbsp||4-6 Hours||4-5 Days||1-2 Inches||1 1/2-2 Cups|
|Pea||1 Cup||8 Hours||2-3 Days||1/2-1 Inch||3 Cups|
|Pinto Bean||1 Cup||12 Hours||3-4 Days||1/2-1 Inch||3-4 Cups|
|Pumpkin||1 Cup||6 Hours||1-2 Days||1/8 Inch||2 Cups|
|Quinoa||1 Cup||3-4 Hours||2-3 Days||1/2 Inch||3 Cups|
|Radish||3 Tbsp||6 Hours||3-5 Days||3/4-2 Inches||4 Cups|
|Rye||1 Cup||6-8 Hours||2-3 Days||1/2-3/4 Inch||3 Cups|
|1 Cup||8 Hours||1 1/2 Cups|
|1 Cup||4-6 Hours||1-2 Days||1/8 Inch||1 Cup|
|Spelt||1 Cup||6 Hours||1-2 Days||1/4 Inch||3 Cups|
|Sunflower, Hulled||1 Cup||6-8 Hours||1 Day||1/4-1/2 Inch||2 Cups|
|Teff||1 Cup||3-4 Hours||1-2 Days||1/8 Inch||3 Cups|
|Walnuts||3 Cups||4 Hours||4 Cups|
|Wheat||1 Cup||8-10 Hours||2-3 Days||1/4-3/4 Inch||3 Cups|
|Wild Rice||1 Cup||12 Hours||2-3 Days||Rice Splits||3 Cups|
Soaking nuts and seeds:
- Gather your raw nuts or seeds.
- Rinse them in purified or distilled water.
- Place them in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
- Cover with twice as much water as the nuts or seeds. (1 cup of nuts to 2 cups of water).
- Cover the bowl with something breathable like a cloth towel.
- Drain and rinse the nuts or seeds every 3 or 4 hours. The soak water will contain the enzyme inhibitors which is very acidic to the body so make sure to rinse your nuts and seeds well.
Read more about benefits of sprouting here.
Sprouting nuts and seeds:
- Follow the process above for nuts and seeds.
- Place the soaked and rinsed nuts or seeds in a sprouting jar. You can get this online or at a health food store.
- Cover the jar with screening, cheesecloth, or sprouting lids.
- Put the jar face down, at an angle in a low light place. A dish rack or a high rimmed bowl works well because it allows the excess water to drain out.
- Rinse every 8 hours. To rinse: Fill jar with water. Shake vigorously. Drain. Repeat 2-3 times. Make sure you drain the jar well. Seeds that sit in water can spoil the whole jar!
- Once sprouting begins, place in a sun lit area. Don’t place in direct sunlight though.
- Continue to rinse every 8 hours.
- Let the sprouts grow for the suggested number of days.
- After the final rinse, let the sprouts dry completely! They should be dry to the touch. The sprouts can then be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.