Soaking Nuts: How to Soak and Dehydrate Them
If you are looking for a snack that is healthy, tastes good and has very little significance with gaining weight, you should try filling up your jars with different varieties of nuts. The benefits of having nuts are immeasurable. Nuts are extremely beneficial for our health and contain nutrients like proteins, vitamin E, fibres and fats. Note that the fat is also of a healthy kind, which is good for your body. Moreover, nuts are great if you want to evade illnesses associated with the heart. They also help to prevent risks of developing other chronic diseases, diabetes, as well as cancer. Studies have also shown that those who consume nuts daily tend to live longer than those who don’t.
However, professionals suggest that it is always a good idea to soak up and dehydrate nuts before consuming them. Why? – Let’s find out!
So, Why Is Soaking Nuts So Important?
- The Presence of Enzyme Inhibitors
The non-scientific explanation for this would be that seeds or more importantly, nuts comprise of enzyme inhibitors which are required for the procedure of germination in plants. These enzymes are not stable and hence, they are stored inside the seed or the nut till germination begins. Hence, you need to put the nuts in water before you can eat them so that the enzymes can escape. The water makes the nuts pliable for this to happen. You might be thinking about dehydrating the nuts after you have soaked them up but know that this step is elective. Dehydrating them will bring back the crispiness of the nuts but you need to be careful while using your dehydrator for this process. Anything below 115 degrees Fahrenheit will keep your nuts raw and yes, it will also be full of enzymes. But when we say enzymes, we are speaking of two potentially different ones here. These are the metabolic and digestive enzymes. Experts usually suggest consuming food that contains more digestive enzymes so that there is less pressure on the body. Not to mention it also makes room for the metabolic ones which is also necessary for our body to function.
- The Presence of Phytic Acid in Nuts
This, however, has a more scientifically proven explanation, which consists of the presence of phytic acid in nuts. Plants have phosphorus in their tissues due to phytic acids being their chief storage. Now, the element phosphorus is not quite obtainable for humans due to the phosphorus bound within the phytic acid. The phytic acid acts as an obstruction in the body and prevents more minerals like iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium from being released into the body by binding with them. Not to mention, pepsin, which is the key enzyme required for digestion to take place in the body is also inhibited. Same goes for the enzyme trypsin which is essential in the small intestine for the breakdown of protein.
Phytic acid is found in substantial levels inside nuts which make it very difficult for the body to use up essential minerals as mentioned above. When phytate complexes are formed in the body in insoluble forms that too in large amounts, the body is guaranteed to have a deficiency of minerals. These will give rise to diseases like osteoporosis, rickets, tooth decay and anemia. While the effects of this mineral deficiency might develop at a slower rate in adults, kids are more likely to be affected by it. This can cause them to have poor growth of bones, tooth decay, narrow jaws and having a short physique. Not to mention, the absence of iron and zinc will have an adverse effect on them mentally. Shortage of Vitamin D may also become an issue which might explain the reasoning behind tooth decay and poor formation of bones.
So to sum it up, the removal of phytic acid is vital for proper digestion in the body.
Solution: Soaking Up & Dehydrating Nuts
The only possible way of getting rid of phytic acids and enzyme inhibitors is soaking up nuts in a bowl full of water for a couple of hours. This will eradicate any harmful health effects that may occur. As mentioned above, dehydrating them will be like an icing on the cake, letting you enjoy the crispiness of the nuts. For greater results, we would suggest you to use low temperatures while dehydrating the nuts. You can also roast them afterwards for a better flavor. This will also be helpful in getting rid of phytates and stimulating the phytase to start working inside the body. The enzyme inhibitors will also be deactivated making the entire digestive process much easier.
Now that you have a better and detailed insight on why soaking up and dehydrating nuts are so important, it is time for you to get acquainted with the process with which you will be conducting it.
How to Soak Nuts?
No matter which variety of nut you enjoy snacking on, this method should enable you to soak them up without any difficulty. Just follow the guidelines properly and you will be good to go!
For this to work perfectly, you will require the following ingredients:
- 8 cups of water
- 4 cups of raw nuts
- 1 tablespoon of Himalayan pink salt (or any other salt that you may prefer)
Steps to follow:
- Take a bowl large enough to fit in all the nuts you mean to snack on for the next few days. Pour in the nuts, water and salt in it one by one. One special tip would be to pour in enough water so that all the nuts are completely submerged in it. This is important because the nuts will swell up a bit during the process of soaking.
- The next step is to wait for as long as you can. An approximated time of 4-8 hours should be enough for all the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid to go away. Make sure to shield the bowl with a piece of cloth for it to be breathable. However, not all nuts will be safe to eat if you think of 4-8 hours as a general time period. You can of course soak them up for a longer period of time if required. Nonetheless, in such cases, it will be best if you keep them in the refrigerator and replace the water from time to time.
- Once you have soaked them up properly, use a strainer to pour away the water. Make sure to give them a good wash while they are in the strainer or colander.
How to Dehydrate Nuts?
Before we begin, you should know that dehydrating the nuts can be done using two separate methods – Oven Method & Dehydrator Method.
The Oven Method
Note: The nuts will no longer be raw if you use this method.
- Before you go ahead and start the entire process of dehydrating, make sure to preheat your oven at an approximate temperature of 325-350 degrees F.
- The second step would be to get hold of a cookie or baking sheet that has not been greased. If you don’t have them at home, make a quick trip to the store and purchase them. Once you have the sheet, place the nuts in individual layers. Now, if you want to use the nut as a form of flour in a particular recipe, then we suggest you dry roast them in the oven. If not, you can drizzle a bit of your preferred oil to enhance the crispiness and the flavor of the nuts. This should taste great if you are planning to snack on them. You can also use them for salads if your recipe demands it. It will only make the salad more appetizing. Since nuts are a great source of protein, you can skip chicken or any other meat that you were planning on using in your salad. This way, you will be saving yourself the time and trouble of cooking the meat separately.
- Baking the nuts should take about 10-12 minutes. It may vary depending on the kind of nut you are using but this is the general time period that you should stick to. Make sure to check on the nuts while they are inside the oven from time to time. This is essential because nuts usually contain a good amount of oil in them which causes them to roast even after you have gotten them out of the oven. You can also give the tray a toss when they are halfway done to make sure they are roasted evenly on all sides. If you can nail this step, your nuts are going to taste just ‘perfect.’
- The fourth step is to let them cool down before you store them up in a jar or any other container that you may prefer. The cooling may take a while so you should keep about an hour in hand for this to get done.
If you like your nuts raw, you can use a more complex method of drying them up. This will require you to use a thermometer which will allow you to monitor the temperature and also keep it in control by putting the lowest setting on your oven while drying them. The door must also be halfway open so that you can use the thermometer correctly. Though this is a little complex, you can definitely give it a try if you are down to break a little sweat.
The Dehydrator Method
- The first step is to place the nuts in individual layers on a web-like sheet that is usually provided with the dehydrator you purchased. The key is to drying them up properly to prevent the development of molds on the nuts. You need to set the temperature at 115 degrees F and wait for them to dry up and become all crispy and crunchy. The time period will differ from machine to machine and it also has a lot to do with the average temperature of your house or more specifically, the climate. Not to mention, the load of nuts in the dehydrator also plays a part in it. However, if we had to provide you with an estimated time period, it would be somewhere around 6+ hours.
- The last step is to load them up in a container once they have completely dehydrated and cooled down.
You can use mason jars or any other vessel which is air tight to store them. We have narrowed down the expiration date of the nuts depending on the conditions you will be keeping them in.
- If you plan on keeping them in the refrigerator, the nuts should be good enough for the next 3-6 months.
- If you want to store them in the pantry, they will last for about a month. So use it up as soon as possible.
- The nuts will last the longest if you keep them in the freezer which is within 6-12 months.
Hopefully, this is all the information and guidelines that you will need to carry out the entire process of soaking and dehydrating your favorite nuts. You can do this in small batches if you are worried that they will go bad. However, this usually takes several hours and a lot of effort, try making a batch for a month or two. This way you will no longer need to worry about their expiration date.
- Learn How To Soak Nuts And Seeds In 3 Simple Steps – TheNourishingGourmet
- Nuts and Seeds: More Than They’re Cracked Up to Be – HuffPost