Last Updated on
Soaking seeds, nuts, legumes and grains neutralizes phytic acid , which is found in the bran of all cereal seeds grains. Phytic acid regulates the release of minerals needed by the seed as it sprouts. It is considered an “anti-nutrient” and an enzyme inhibitor, because it binds with other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc. When we eat raw seeds and nuts without soaking or sprouting them,we are unable to absorb those minerals. It places a strain on our digestive system. So you’re “unlocking” these nutrients by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting the seeds first.
Dehydrating or low roasting them brings out the true flavor potential and maximum nutrition of the seed. 
I have found that a final “finish roast” for certain seeds/nuts really brings out their finest flavors (e.g. hazelnuts), whereas with others, roasting did not add much (walnuts).
I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure your water and salt by weight to make brine. They’re inexpensive and avid multi-taskers, and measuring this way is more accurate than measuring by volume (just ask any baker!)
When measuring by weight, to make a 7% salt:water brine, use 70g salt per 1000g (1000 ml) of water.
If you can’t be bothered and prefer to go by volume, then a 5 to 7% brine is between 2 to 3 tablespoons of finely ground salt per quart/liter of water.
- 1 lb. (450g) raw, unsalted shelled seeds or nuts
- 20 oz. (600 ml) water
- 3-5 Tablespoons (40-60g) sea salt
- Make a brine by dissolving sea salt into filtered water. See table for amount to mix in. The amounts listed in the chart will give you a standard "salted" nut flavor (comparable to store-bought levels). By brining now during the soak, you won't need to add salt later.
- Add raw nuts to a bowl. Pour enough brine over contents to cover completely, and let sit overnight. (EXCEPTION: Cashews should be soaked a maximum of 6 hours). Cover bowl with a clean dish towel or lid.
- After soaking, drain nuts well and spread out in a single layer onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, or onto dehydrator sheets.
- Put in oven or dehydrator for 2-24 hours. (See table for proper time and temperature).
- When the texture and taste are just right, remove from oven and let cool.
- Store in an airtight container. I keep mine in the fridge to add shelf-life.
Here’s a quick recipe for spicy and sweet nuts. A holiday (or any time of year) treat, and makes a great gift!
- Phytate Information, Whole Grains Council. Accessed 26-June-18.
- Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, Sally Fallon.