3 Tips for Eating Raw Nuts + Soaking Nuts Chart
I think the most common question for Vegans and Raw Vegans is “Where do you get your protein from?”
There are lots of plant based protein sources. One of the main ones is from nuts and seeds.
Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, especially in vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan diets. Plant protein (unlike animal protein) is fully absorbed and digested in the body. This means every single ounce of protein consumed through plants are put to good use.
Besides, they are delicious!
But before you start scarfing down gobs and gobs of them, there are 3 tips you should know first.
1. Make Sure Your Nuts And Seeds Are Raw
This is important because a raw nut has all of it’s nutrients and enzymes still in tact. If they are cooked, the molecular structure of them changes and the nutritional value is greatly diminished.
You can find raw nuts and seeds in the produce or cooking sections of your local grocery or health food store. Be sure to read the label. If you see the words “Blanched” or “Roasted” they are not raw. If the ingredients list oils or salts, chances are they are cooked. Some packages will say if they are raw. Some will not. By knowing the cooked words to look for, you will be able to pick the right ones out.
2. Soak Your Nuts And Seeds
Remember the last time you ate a walnut and experienced that bitter aftertaste? Or that time when you ate a bit too many almonds or trail mix and your stomach hurt?
The reason for these reactions is because the nuts and seeds were not soaked and still had their enzyme inhibitors intact.
Nuts and seeds are, well, seeds! In nature they are made to stay dormant until the time is right to start growing. They are wrapped with enzyme inhibitors to help accomplish this. When spring comes around, the water from the rain soaks into the seed, releases the enzyme inhibitors and allows the seed to grow.
Remember that bitterness of the walnut? That’s the enzyme inhibitors you are tasting. By soaking the walnuts, it removes the enzyme inhibitors and they become sweeter and tastier with no bitter aftertaste. Your stomach won’t hurt either.
How Do I Soak Raw Nuts and Seeds?
It’s quite simple. All you need to do is cover the seeds with water and let them soak at room temperature on the counter.
- Measure out 4 cups of raw, unsalted, nuts/seeds into a medium sized bowl
- Cover with filtered water so that nuts are fully submerged and have at least an inch of water above them.
- Allow to stand covered on the counter for about 7-8 hours, or overnight (check chart below for more specific times)
- Rinse nuts to remove the enzyme inhibitor residue.
If you want to store them for later, you will need to dry them out.
- Spread them out in single layer on a rack to dehydrate.
- Dry at a low temperature (generally no higher than 115°F) in dehydrator for at least 12-24 hours or until nuts are slightly crispy.
Once they are dehydrated, you can store them in a cool, dry, sealed container in your cabinet. They will last for several months this way.
Optional: If you don’t have a dehydrator and don’t want to use the nuts and seeds for things like trail mix (that need to be stay good for more than a couple days), you can freeze them and use them for making recipes like delicious raw brownie balls.
3. Sprout Your Nuts And Seeds
If you want to take the nutrition of your raw nuts and seeds to the next level…sprout them!
This step will happen after you rinse them and before you dehydrate them (see tip #2 above).
To make this quick and simple, sprouting is basically done by leaving your soaked nuts and seeds out at room temperature and covered with a cloth for about 24 hours, depending on what kind it is. This allows the nuts and seeds more time to come to life. Some form tails, or sprouts. Others don’t. The sprouts themselves aren’t as important as what’s on the inside of the seed.
When the nuts and seeds come to life more, the more nutritious they become.
This is great news for you!
So, just a little extra time and you have an even healthier treat in your hands.