Your whole food, plant-based life.

Raw Food: Soaking Nuts and Seeds

AlmondsWhether you are eating a raw food diet, or simply incorporating more raw foods into your diet, most likely you are eating more nuts and seeds. In raw food cooking, nuts and seeds are a versatile food source. They can be used to make substitutions for many dairy products such as milk, sour cream, cream cheese,  and cheese. Nuts can be made into healthy, tasty sauces and  added to recipes for texture and flavor. If you eliminate animal products, nuts can provide protein and omega 3’s, the “good” fats. They are also a great source of fiber, antioxidents, photonutrients, and plant sterols. Eating 1.5 ounces of nuts daily can help reduce heart disease.

As we move into the cold weather months, heartier food may be desired. Nuts and seeds help fulfill this need. Nuts and seeds can be a great addition to your diet but there are a few things that you should keep in mind when using them to get the most possible nutrients for your body.


One of the questions that often comes up is whether you should soak or not. Personally, I soak my nuts. It takes a little extra work but the benefits are great.

As soon as I buy a bag of nuts or seeds, I drop them in a glass bowl with enough water to cover them by an inch (some nuts will require more water) and let them sit overnight. In the summer, I put them in the fridge. In the winter, my house is as cold so I cover them and leave them on the counter out of Skyler’s reach. After 12 hours, I give them a good rinse and they go in the dehydrator at a low temp to dry. I store them in glass containers in the refrigerator. Why do I do this?

Nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors such as phytic acid, that can put a strain on your digestive system. The reason these enzyme inhibitors are there in the first place is to make sure the nuts and seeds don’t prematurely sprout. Makes sense. They need to be in the right environment for their life giving properties to be activated. The plus for you? Soaking not only releases the enzyme inhibitors, it starts the germination process which releases the good enzymes and nutrients! If you soak your nuts, they are much easier to digest and their nutrients are easier to assimilate. With a little advanced effort, you can unlock the all of the wonderful gifts nuts an seeds have to offer.

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  1. Chris wrote on March 3, 2010

    Is it still necessary to soak nuts that have already been pasteurized? I have yet to find a raw almond retailer in my area and ordering offline is out of my budget.

    • Susan wrote on March 3, 2010

      I would definitely still soak them. There are different ways to pasteurize nuts and I don’t think that you can be guaranteed that the enzyme inhibitors have been released.

  2. Isle Dance wrote on October 27, 2009

    I love this. SO much. Thank you.

  3. myrecessionkitchen wrote on October 27, 2009

    I soak/sprout/dehydrate almonds all time. It also reduces their fat content as well, we’ve had them tested. One thing you didn’t mention is that if you want to soak and sprout almonds you need to buy them direct from a farmer before they’re pasteurized. All of the almonds you buy in a store are pasteurized and will not sprout.

  4. Eating Raw Foods Info wrote on October 26, 2009

    I used to soak the nuts, but haven’t in a while. I don’t have a dehydrator, so I used to soak them and eat them after they had dried. I like the taste much better without soaking them, but with a dehydrator, you probably solve that problem.

    I have also heard it’s better for your digestion to do this. Thanks for the tip.

  5. pure2raw twins wrote on October 26, 2009

    I like to soak my nuts and seeds as well. I soak overnight and rinse, and dehydrate too. That way I always have some one hand for any recipe. I am still getting the hang of sprouting quinoa, seeds, and lentils… still learning the best way to do all that.

  6. El wrote on October 26, 2009

    It’s new to me but thanks for the tip. I had no idea!

    • Susan wrote on October 26, 2009

      It’s all about how far you want to take it. I know people who benefit greatly from soaking nuts…and you can see why!

  7. Diane wrote on October 26, 2009

    I like to do this as well, though I don’t have my dehydrator yet. I used to dry them in the oven, but lately I just soak what I need for the next few days for recipes or nut milks, keep them in the fridge and change the water each day.

    Do you ever take them closer to the sprouted stage? I’ve done sunflower sprouts (in the shell for tray planting) and things like mung beans, but never tried to sprout an almond or other nut. Some of the prepared raw foods I buy list all the nuts or grains in them as sprouted, and if I look closely, I can see a tiny tail starting to emerge. I’m assuming that would have to be done at room temp in a sprouting jar. Just wondering if that makes them even healthier?

    I’m new to the raw food thing and love your blog! It’s one of the most beautifully photographed ones I’ve seen, too. 🙂

    • Susan wrote on October 26, 2009

      When I do some of the breads, I let the grains sprout. I have not actually tried to sprout almonds, etc. I love sprouting lentils for salads. I also love using spouted sunflower seeds. It just depends on the recipe and what the final outcome I am trying to achieve is. Thanks for the kind words.

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