One of the most confusing things for raw food beginners is when they hear that raw nuts should be soaked before eaten.  The nuts are already raw so why would you need to soak the nuts – aren't the nuts already in a raw state and therefore “legal” to eat on a raw food diet?

First, raw nuts can be eaten without soaking; however it is not advised for the most optimum nutrition and digestion.  Let me explain.

One of the principles of raw food eating is to eat foods that are easily digestible and easily eliminated from the body which leads to less build-up in the body and less potential toxicity in the gut, intestines, and colon.

Nuts have enzyme inhibitors that do not allow humans to easily digest the protein in nuts.  There are two methods to release the enzyme inhibitors:  1.)  cook the nuts, 2.) soak the nuts.

Since we're all about eating raw, we'll stick to the method of soaking the nuts rather than cooking the nuts to keep with eating raw.

How to Soak Raw Nuts

  1. Place your raw nuts in a glass or ceramic bowl (avoid plastic).
  2. Fill the bowl with filtered water so that the raw nuts are completely covered.
  3. Cover with a towel or lid just to keep out dust and let the raw nuts soak for the specified amount of time as indicated below.
  4. Once the nuts have completely soaked, rinse with filtered water and drain well.

*Tip: Soak the raw nuts as soon as you buy them and follow the steps above on “How to Soak Raw Nuts”.  Allow the nuts to thoroughly dry and then freeze your soaked nuts for later use.  Many times I've wanted to make a raw recipe and had to wait before I could make the recipe so that I could soak the nuts.  Soaking the raw nuts beforehand and freezing them will allow you more flexibility to make recipes the minute you want to rather than having to wait overnight for your nuts to soak.

Soaking Time for Raw Nuts

Raw Almonds – 8-12 hours (Learn more about how raw almonds aren't always raw even when labeled “raw”)

Raw Brazil Nuts – No soaking required

Raw Cashews – 2 hours

Raw Flax Seed – 8 hours

Raw Macadamia Nuts – No soaking required

Raw Pecans – 4-6 hours

Raw Pine Nuts – No soaking required

Raw Pistachio Nuts – No soaking required

Raw Pumpkin Seeds – 8 hours

Raw Sesame Seeds – 8 hours

Raw Sunflower Seeds – 2 hours

Raw Walnuts – 4 hours

All other raw nuts – Approximately 6 hours

Let me know if you have any tips on soaking raw nuts that you'd like to share with our raw food beginners.

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