Did you know that you can increase the absorption of nutrients and increase digestibility of nuts, seeds, and grains with a simple process? I learned about this technique when I started on this journey two years ago I have not stopped doing it since. All you simply have to do is soak your nuts, seeds, and grains in water. This can bump up the nutrient profile tremendously.
Reasoning Behind Soaking
Nature has set it up so that nuts, grains, and seeds stay dormant until the conditions are right for growing. When planting a garden from seed you have to introduce certain conditions for your plants to grow properly. This is why nuts and seeds do not start sprouting into plants at the grocery store. The nuts and seeds are keeping the nutrients “inside” per say until they are ready to grow. We are tricking the nuts into thinking that it is time to grow causing them to release enzyme inhibitors and make their nutrients available as if they were going to be sustaining growth.
Benefits to Soaking
1. Soaking removes or reduces phytic acid: Phytic acid is in the outer layer or bran. Phytic acid can block absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc which can cause mineral deficiencies and bone loss. Reducing the acid prevents this blocking and can prevent mineral deficiencies.
2. Soaking neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors: Neutralizing these enzymes increases the production of beneficial enzymes that can aid in our digesting of these seeds.
3. Soaking also increases vitamins (especially B), help break down gluten and make for easier digestion, make proteins more available for absorption, and neutralizes toxins in the colon.
What is the Soaking Process?
1. Put the seeds, grains, or nuts into a bowl and cover with water. (I over cover them with about 1 inch of water as nuts absorb the water causing them to expand. I soak these items overnight or first thing in the morning so they are ready for me to use at night).
2. If you desire a more crispy nut or seed I recommend draining the water after soaking.
3. Rinsing the nuts and seeds with clean water.
4. Draining them.
5. Put the nuts or seeds on a clean sheet pan making a single layer.
6. Drying them in the oven or dehydrator for at least 8 hours. (I put my oven on the lowest setting (170 for me) put the pan in the oven before bed and when I wake up in the morning the nuts are crisp again and they have so much more nutritional value).
I store them in sealed containers in the freezer for whenever I need them. I will do this in large amounts and do many types of nut and seeds at a time so that I have them on hand whenever I need them. When I soak grains like quinoa I will rinse with water and then cook them like normal.
What should be soaked?
Any grain such as quinoa, millet, barley, or flour can be soaked. Any seed such and pumpkin and sunflower can be soaked. Any nut such as almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, or macadamia nuts can be soaked. You can find store bought soaked items, just look for the term “sprouted” on the package. This added benefit does tend to increase the cost which is why I like to do it myself.
How can the soaked nuts be used?
You can used soaked grains, nuts, and seeds in any recipe that you would normally use them. I have created a delicious alternative to a granola bar that is gluten free using soaked and dehydrated nuts. After soaking and dehydrating the nuts I mix them with with 4 other ingredients and dehydrate them again in the oven overnight. I prefer this method because of the high omega 3 content of nuts. High temperatures can potentially damage the beneficial anti-oxidants in nuts. If you prefer to not leave them overnight you can bake them in the oven at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes.
I’d love to here your experiences with soaking and sprouting grains, nuts, and seeds in the comments below.
- 1 Cup Soaked and Dehydrated Almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 Cup Soaked and Dehydrated Cashews, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla
- 2 Tbsp Raw Honey
- ¼ tsp Gray Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until all the nuts are covered with honey and seasonings.
- Line a 8 inch x 8 inch dish with unbleached parchment paper.
- Fill the pan with the nut mixture and press down the mixture into one even layer keeping the mixture pressed together to form bars.
- Heat oven to lowest setting (mine is 170 degrees).
- Put nut mixture into the oven and leave overnight about 8 hours.
- Take out of the oven and remove parchment paper with bars and allow to cool about 5-10 minutes.
- Flip the bar our upside down and remove parchment paper.
- Cut into 8 bars.
- Store into and airtight container for up to one week.