On Soaking Your Nuts (and seeds and grains)
Nut soaking is one of those things that I know I should do, but don't always do it. Kind of like knowing olive oil can become carcinogenic if heated above its smoking point, but doing a sauté with it anyway (use coconut oil!).
So, in an effort to get my act together, and get the most nutrient bang for my buck, I am challenging myself (and you) to soak them nuts!
Nuts and seeds contain inhibitors that help them survive in nature until proper growing conditions are present. In nature, these inhibitors are removed naturally when there is enough precipitation: the nut or seed gets wet, the inhibitors are released, and it can then germinate to produce a plant.
These inhibitors allow the nuts to survive until the right conditions occur for it to grow into a plant - which is brilliant, but these same inhibitors also prevent our bodies from obtaining the full nutritional benefits of the nut/seed being consumed - which is unfortunate. Luckily enough, we can mimic nature by simply soaking them nuts. Soaking removes the tannins and phytic acid that inhibit proper absorption of the nutrients by the body.
- The tannins are released into the water, leaving a much softer, more palatable nut. (be sure to discard the water)
- They taste better! Almonds and walnuts especially have a more buttery flavor and smoother texture after soaking.
- The nutrients in the nut are more easily absorbed by our bods after soaking.
How Long to Soak
Optimal: overnight (at least 7 hours)
The best case scenario is: you plan to make something nutty tomorrow (i.e. nut milk, cashew sauce, nutty date balls, trail mix, etc.), so the night before, you put your nuts in a bowl with water and cover it with a cloth. Simple.
We eat a lot of nuts throughout the week, so I am going to make it a habit to soak a bunch of nuts on Sunday nights, drain them Monday morning and store in airtight jars in the fridge for us to easily grab and go. You should eat soaked nuts within 3-4 days.
Awesome: 2-3 hours
Forget to soak your nuts the night before? No problem. Do a 2-3 hour soak and then proceed as planned. The benefits won't be as great, but it will still be better than not soaking at all.
Worth it: 20 minutes
As you can see in the photo below, the water turns brown after just 20 minutes. So if you forget to soak your nuts the night before, and then again 2-3 hours before, it is still worthwhile to do a quick 20 minute soak, followed by a thorough rinse. Then proceed with your recipe or nut munching as desired.
If you eat a lot of nuts, you can keep a rotation of nuts soaking in water in your fridge at all times. Just be sure to change out the water every 2 days.
Nutty Date Power Balls
Now, what shall we do with all our soaked nuts? Make Nutty Date Power Balls of course! These little gems are an energy boosting powerhouse, and they taste like dessert. Make a double batch and store some in your freezer.
1/2 c. - raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 c. - raw almonds, soaked overnight
12 - dates, pitted
1 t. - vanilla
1/4 t. - sea salt
2 T. - chia seeds
1/4 c. - shredded coconut
1/4 c. - dark chocolate chips
- Combine cashews and almond in a food processor, process into a slightly chunky/smooth mixture, but not into a nut butter.
- Add dates, vanilla, sea salt, chia seeds, and shredded coconut. Process again until well blended.
- Transfer to a bowl and stir in dark chocolate chips.
- Roll into bite sized balls. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.