Dehydrating Nuts and Seeds
I rarely meet anyone who doesn’t love nuts and seeds. They’re crunchy, fatty, nutritious, and convenient. They’re also widely recommended to eat for their nutritional content, thus more and more people are eating them regularly. Good thing, right? Not necessarily!
Have you ever eaten nuts or nut butter and felt like you just swallowed a brick? Do you bloat or have gas after eating them? If so, there is a good reason why. Not only are nuts highly dense foods (why you should only eat a small amount), they’re also chock-full of anti-nutrients that irritate your intestines and block specific nutrient absorption, especially proteins and minerals.
Regularly eating raw nuts and seeds that have not been soaked is not a healthy habit to cultivate, and can create a host of health issues over time. 😯 Since I don’t want this to happen to you, make sure you get the full scoop about the hazards of eating raw nuts & seeds.
*Note about store-bought roasted nuts. Don’t eat them!!!!! Since I could write an entire post about this subject but don’t want to steer off course about my original topic, I will give you the quick-and-dirty reasons here.
- They’re not soaked.
- They’re coated in inflammatory oils and processed salt.
- They’re highly heated which destroys the delicate fatty acids contained in the nut.
- These rancid fatty acids create oxidative stress and free radical production.
- All of the reasons above make it pretty pointless to eat roasted nuts if you’re looking to improve your health.
Soaking & Dehydrating is My Favorite Way to Eat Nuts & Seeds
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy nuts and seeds. You just need to avoid the roasted kind, and add a few steps before you indulge in the raw kind. My secret weapon to enjoying these fabulous foods on a regular basis, while showing my digestive system a little tender-love-and-care, is to soak and dehydrate them!
Once you have a taste of soaked, dehydrated nuts and seeds, you’ll never want to eat them raw again! The texture and flavor cannot be matched, especially for walnuts. However, taste and texture is only the tip-of-the-iceberg when it comes to soaking and dehydrating your nuts and seeds. Soaking deactivates those pesky anti-nutrients, but also activates vital enzymes and nutrients such as iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, that are otherwise unavailable when eaten raw. See Soaking Grains, Beans, Nuts & Seeds to learn more.
Once you’ve soaked your nuts and seeds, they’re ready to eat. However, I’m not a super-fan of eating wet nuts–I prefer to dehydrate mine. This pulls the moisture out leaving the nuts or seeds crunchy and amazingly delicious. Dehydrating also extends the shelf life. Soaked nuts should be stored in the fridge for no more than a few days to prevent mold, while dehydrated ones can stay for weeks and weeks in the fridge.
Tools: Dehydrator. I have an Excalibur like the one below, and I can’t live without it!
- Soak nuts or seeds in a salt brine for 12-18 hours. Add 1/2 tsp. of high-quality Himalayan salt for every cup of water. For detailed instructions see Soaking Grains, Beans, Nuts and Seeds 101. Specific soaking time varies among certain nuts & seeds. Make sure to get a high-quality Himalayan Sea Salt. No table salt!
- Once soak time is up, drain the soak water.
- Spread the nuts or seeds evenly on the dehydrator trays.
- I like to initially set the temp to 145° for the first hour to draw a good portion of the moisture out, then lower it 115° and dehydrate for 15-24 hours, until crispy with a hint of moistness in the middle.
- Times will vary among different nuts and seeds. Altitude plays a part too. I recommend turning the nuts or seeds after 12 hours, then giving a little taste test after 15 hours. Some nuts and most seeds will be ready after 15. The larger, more dense nuts will need more time.
- The best time to begin the dehydrating process is at night before you go to bed. This way when you wake up in the morning you can check to see the process.
- Once finished, store in an air-tight container in the fridge. May keep for several weeks.
*Note for those without a dehydrator. You can gently heat your nuts and seeds in the oven at 115°. I don’t recommend any higher, because the heat will damage the delicate fatty acids. If your oven doesn’t have a setting for this low of a temp, a toaster oven works. The texture is not the same as dehydrating them, but it’s the next best option if you don’t want to eat wet nuts and seeds.
Soaking and dehydrating is by far, the best way to eat your nuts and seeds. If you have not yet purchased a dehydrator, put it on your Christmas or Birthday wish list! It’s one of the handiest tools to have around. Do you have any favorite recipes for dehydrating nuts and seeds? If so, please share in in the comment section below.
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