What are activated nuts?
Nuts and seeds contain natural chemicals, called phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. This makes nuts hard to digest. Phytic acid can bind to minerals, such as iron, zinc, manganese and calcium, and slow or prevent their absorption. This makes the minerals and their beneficial qualities less available to the body. Soaking nuts in water neutralizes the natural chemicals, the amount of starch and fibre reduces, and the protein and vitamin content increases. Nuts become easier to digest and more nutritious than non-activated ones.
How do we activate nuts?
To soak nuts or seeds, place them in a glass or ceramic bowl, add a little sea salt, to warm filtered water, then pour the water over the nuts or seeds, using enough water to cover. Since nuts and seeds expand when soaked, a ratio of 2:1 is your best bet, with two parts water to one part nuts or seeds. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let sit for a specified time. Rinse with filtered water then drain in a colander.
- Use 1 tea sp. of sea salt to 4 cups of water
- Pour salt water over 2 cups of raw nuts
- Cover with cheese cloth
- After soaking drain and wash with cold water
- Enjoy your activated nuts or dehydrate for storage
If you’re using your soaked nuts for nut milk, you can start with your recipe after they’ve been soaked and rinsed. If you’re using them for baking or other items that require “dry” nuts, you need to dehydrate the nuts. To dehydrate soaked nuts, spread on a baking sheet (or a dehydrator). Bake at 150ºF for 24 hours or until fully dried out.
Optimal Soaking Times for Nuts
All nuts contain anti-nutrients, and need to be soaked to dissolve the anti-nutrients attached to the outer layer. However, some nuts are softer than others, and so soak times can vary. Longer-soak nuts require a few rounds of soaking if you have sensitive digestion or if you want to be sure you’ve removed all anti-nutrients.
- Almonds – 12 hours
- Brazil nuts – 3 hours
- Cashews – 4 hours
- Hazelnuts – 12 hours
- Macadamia nuts – 2 hours
- Pecans – 6 hours
- Pistachios – 8 hours
- Walnuts – 4 hours