Soaking Nuts & Seeds

seanuts LR

Soaking nuts and seeds has enormous benefits for your health. For many people, eating raw nuts and seeds can bother delicate digestive systems. When you soak and dehydrate raw nuts it makes them a lot easier to digest and also brings out the nutrients in the nuts to provide a nutrient dense snack.

Seeds and nuts are a rich source of essential fatty acids, amino acids (protein), antioxidants, fibre, Vitamin A, B’s, C and E, zinc, potassium, iron, folate, manganese, calcium and magnesium. The powerful combination of these vitamins, minerals and EFA’s makes them a great snack to enjoy to help reduce inflammation, assist in lowering cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.

Store bought nuts even when they are raw contain high amounts of enzyme inhibitors which are beneficial for the nuts because it prevents them from sprouting prematurely. The problem with this though, is that the enzyme inhibitors interfere with the absorption of proteins and nutrients and therefore cause digestive distress.

By pre-soaking nuts in warm water and sea salt, this process neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and encourages the production of beneficial enzymes which increase the vitamin and mineral content of the nut, making them easier to absorb. Soaking nuts allows enzymes to neutralize phytic acid and break down complex starch so that you don’t get that squirmy uncomfortable feeling after you have eaten them or feel like you have just swallowed an iron bar.

The same process happens when you soak raw seeds too.  They become enzyme active, predigesting the protein, carbohydrates and good fats in the seeds making it easier for your body to digest, metabolise and absorb the bio-available nutrients.

How to Soak and Dry Nuts

The method for soaking and drying nuts is very simple and you can do it at home without any complicated equipment.  Check the chart below for soaking and drying times.

The basic method is to place the nuts in a bowl, mix sea salt and filtered water in a jug and then pour over the nuts covering them completely.  You may have to add some water after a couple of hours.  Leave them on your kitchen bench for the specified period of time.  Once they are ready then drain them in a sieve and rinse with filtered water.  I like to run mine through the salad spinner to remove excess water but this is an optional step. Now spread them out on a baking tray and sprinkle with sea salt.  For reference when using Sea Salt you will need approx. one tablespoon of Sea Salt to four cups of nuts.

Place nuts in your dehydrator or dehydrate in a 49 degree Celsius oven (49 degrees is still considered a raw product and doesn’t destroy valuable nutrients). Make sure that you turn them every 2 hours with long handled tongs so that they dry evenly. Test them to make sure they are completely dry and crunchy.  If they are wet they can develop mould so it’s best to dry them as thoroughly as possible.

If you’re looking for some ideas for tasty flavours and seasonings then why not try one of the combinations below or make up your own?  If you do decide to flavour them up then pop the seasonings on just before they go in the oven not at the soaking stage.

  • Savoury: Tamari, Sea Salt
  • Sweet: Cinnamon and Stevia, Vanilla and Stevia
  • Salt and Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar and Sea Salt
  • Indian: Curry Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic
  • Italian: Basil Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano
  • Cajun: Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Oregano and Thyme

Now for some deliciously healthy dehydrated nut recipes for you to try.

For soaking and drying times check the table below.

Don’t forget to store nuts and seeds in glass containers with tight fitting lids and keep them in the refrigerator.

Salt and Vinegar Activated Almonds

  • 2 cups raw almond kernels
  • 3 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • filtered water to cover and rinse

Tamari Almonds

  • 2 cups raw almond kernels
  • 2 TBS wheat free Tamara
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • filtered water to cover and rinse

Turmeric Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

  • 4 cups of raw, Pepitas
  • 2 TBS sea salt
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • filtered water to cover and rinse

Crispy Walnuts with Sea Salt

  • 4 cups of raw walnuts
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • filtered water to cover and rinse

Activated Mixed Nuts

  • 4 cups raw peanuts/pinenuts/hazelnuts
  • 1 TBS sea salt
  • filtered water to cover and rinse

Curried Cashews

  • 4 cups of raw cashews
  • 1 TBS sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Curry Powder
  • ½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • filtered water to cover and rinse

Macadamia Nuts

  • 4 cups of raw macadamia nuts
  • 1 TBS sea salt
  • filtered water to cover and rinse
Nut /Seed Amount Soaking Time Dehydrating Time Oven Dehydrating Time Dehydrator Makes
Almonds 2 Cups 8-12 Hours 6-7 Hours 12-24 hours 3 Cups
Cashews 4 Cups 2-3 Hours 3-4 Hours 12-24 hours 4 ½ Cups
Flax Seeds 1 Cup 6 Hours 3-4 Hours 12-24 hours 1 ½ Cups
Hazelnuts 4 Cups 7 Hours 4 Hours 12-24 hours 4 ½ Cups
Macadamias 4 Cups 7 Hours 4 Hours 12-24 hours 4 ½ Cups
Peanuts 4 Cups 7 Hours 4 Hours 12-24 hours 4 ½ Cups
Pecans 3 Cups 4 Hours 4 Hours 12-24 hours 4 Cups

Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

4 Cups 2-4 Hours

3-4 Hours

12-24 hours

4 ½ Cups
Pinenuts 4 Cups 7 Hours 4 Hours 12-24 hours 4 ½ Cups
Walnuts 3 Cups 4 Hours 3 Hours 12-24 hours 4 Cups

56 Responses to “Soaking Nuts & Seeds”

  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks for a great post Lee! Just a quick question though. Do you add the flavourings at the soaking stage or at the dehydrating stage? Can’t wait to try some of these.

    • Hi Sarah, I totally forgot to mention in the article that if you are seasoning the nuts then pop the flavours on just before they go in the oven not at the soaking stage 🙂 Enjoy!

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  3. Saw an excerpt from your book in the daily telegraph body & soul section today….congrats! Recipes look amazing. And I need to start soaking my nuts….all the health benefits are too good to pass up!

  4. Great article, i was just looking for some info on soaking nuts, seeds and grains!!! Question, do you have to dehydrate them afterwards? I don’t have a dehydrater and am a bit concerened about leaving the oven on for such a long time. Is that part necessary? Thanks so much.

    • You can also dry them naturally if you want too. Just place on trays and air dry but they do take alot longer. You can also eat them after they are soaked they don’t have to be dried. But drying them removed the moisture, makes them crunchy and they can be stored for a longer period of time. Lee

  5. Kim says:

    Fantastic information! Thank you so much. I love the activated nuts from the health food shop but this price is prohibitive. This is a much better option 🙂

  6. K says:

    Thanks so much for sharing these. I’ve just starting activating nuts and my digestion is much happier for it. Can you tell me please is soaking with salt necessary for the process? I’m trying to watch my sodium intake. Thanks very much!

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  8. Vivien says:

    Hi Lee

    Thanks for a great post. Just wondering if you have any soaking and drying times for Brazil nuts?

  9. Aimee says:

    So glad that the Healthy Diva pointed me to this page:)

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  11. Deborah says:

    Hi there, great post. Just confirming…..Im doing 5 cups of Almonds as we speak so I have to extend soaking and drying times for that right? So the oven will need to be on for say 15 hours and soaking for 20 hours? 🙂

  12. Lesh Karan says:

    Hi Lee, this is such a super useful post. I’m buying a dehydrator soon – to make activated nuts and kale chips. Will refer back to get the timings and temps. Thanks! 🙂

  13. dalebou1 says:

    Thank you so much for this great helpful post! I love your entire blog! I’m trying to gain weight and nuts are a huge part of my diet right now, but I’m always trying to soak them for ease of digestion but as a busy college student don’t really have time for dehydration but I’m worried about the wet nuts going rancid or like you said in the post if they’re wet they will develop mold. So what would be the best fastest way to get my nuts soaked and clean for easy digestion. I usually just soak overnight in a jar rinse and put the wet nuts in the fridge is that a bad idea? have I been eating mouldy nuts? any help would be appreciated!
    Ps. the spice combo are amazing I can’t wait to try those! Thank you again!

    • I think drying them out is a much better way as wet nuts will just attract mould. Just put them in the oven with the light on and leave them to dry if you don’t have time to dehydrate them. Or you can put them on a low temp of 20-40 deg Celsius and check them periodically in the oven.

  14. The world is but a perpetual see-saw….

    Time is the sovereign physician of our passions….

  15. Kirsty says:

    Hi. Thanks so much for sharing this super useful information!

    Could you please clarify whether or not salt is crucial to activating nuts? And if so, does it have to be sea salt or will rock salt do?

    Also, can nuts be oversoaked? We want to make Bliss Balls with almonds, walnuts & cashews. These all have different soaking times. Can we throw them all in to soak the length of the almonds or will that ruin the cashews?

    Is it necessary to dehydrate the nuts before making the bliss balls or can we soak and use straight away?

    Thanks again! I love your recipes.

    • lee says:

      The salt helps the activation process but not absolutely necessary. Yes you can over soak nuts so just soak them for the specified time. So doing them separately will be better. You can soak and use but make sure you dry them off so they are not too wet.
      🙂 Lee

  16. Gemma says:

    Hi there,
    I am really into activated foods – I have a business making and selling them, all inspired by Sally Fallon and just how yummy and wonderful they are!
    Many people ask me to do cashews, but until now I have always put it off because I don’t get it!! If ‘raw’ cashews are heat treated to remove the inner shell, then surely that negates the whole principle of activating them because the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are destroyed by the heat….?In which case, where’s the nutritional benefit of activating them? I have trawled the web looking for an answer to this question but have never found it. If you could clarify it I would be hugely grateful!
    Thanks very much

    • lee says:

      Hi Gemma, I would have to know more about how they are heat treated, but the soaking actually releases the enzyme inhibitors I am not sure how heating would destroy them?

  17. dada says:

    Hi Lee, and how about for example flax meal. do you soak and dry flax seeds before? or will gorunding them and soeaking afterwards have the same effect? if so, for how long can you soak the grounded flax meal? i guess it can not stay like that for long….thanks so much

    • lee says:

      Hi Dada, I haven’t soaked and dried flax seeds before. But if you do soak then they will swell up and form a gelatinous fluid around the seeds. Grinding them is also a way to make them more bio-available.

  18. matthew says:

    A easier way to do this is just soak them for the required time period and then just add them to a veggie or fruit smoothie. No baking required.

  19. jo says:

    I have some raw peanuts with the skins on them. Can i soak and dehydrate with the skins on or should i be removing the skins?

  20. Annie says:

    Thank-you for all this great info. I was wondering if you can leave nuts in the oven too long, to the point that you undo all the goodness of soakig and activating them? I accidentally left several batches in the oven for over 12 hours..

  21. Christine Carlson says:

    I’ve soaked brazil nuts for two days in salty water and activated them in my oven at 100 degrees celsius for another two days trying to get them as crunchy as the activated nuts I’ve previously purchased, but they STILL don’t come out as crunchy like from the Health Food Shop.
    I’ve only found I can get them crunchy when I leave them in the oven at 120 C or more. Do the Health Food Shops secretly put their ovens higher to make their Brazil nuts more appealing to the public? I worry that a higher oven temperature will destroy the nutrients and defeat the purpose.

    • lee says:

      I’m not sure that they do they normally put them in the oven at around 49 degrees celsius. But what they might do is try them off with a towel after soaking them and before putting them in the oven.

  22. Chris says:

    Hi Lee,

    I’ve been soaking/activating my Almonds for some time now in order to make Almond milk. So I soak them between 8-12 hours but I’ve only ever used fresh water, not salted. What difference does using Salt Water make?

    Kind Regards,

  23. Steve Saunders says:

    You mentioned at the beginning of this article that it can be done without salt yet you only show one recipe…. I was told to avoid Salt because of my high blood pressure… Can I compensate for no salt by soaking for a longer time ????? Thank you in advance for your kind response

  24. susan says:

    Hello, If I am making activated spicy nuts do I add the dry spice mix after soaking? Does this include a WET spice mix as well? For example, tamari and spice or butter and rosemary? Do you think the butter will turn nasty in the dehydrating process? Thank you!

    • lee says:

      Yes add anything (spice mix dry and wet etc) after soaking and before dehydrating. I think the butter will be ok. Lee x

  25. Judy says:

    Excellent article. I like the idea of running the seeds and nuts through a salad spinner. How much reduction in dehydrating time would this save?

  26. Dr. Dawn Tepperman says:

    Please explain the difference between using salt and using vinegar. Also, if I only used salt and then dehydrated can I go back and resoak the dehydrated nuts in vinegar and dehydrate again, if the vinegar is very healthful. And thank you for sharing your wealth of information.

    • lee says:

      By pre-soaking nuts in warm water and sea salt, this process neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and encourages the production of beneficial enzymes which increase the vitamin and mineral content of the nut, making them easier to absorb. you can use either salt or acv. I add acv for the taste! Lee

  27. Julie says:

    Thanks Lee, this article is informative, easy to follow and really helpful. Great work xxx

  28. Garry says:

    Was looking for definitive information about Brazil Nuts, and thought pretty useful info, until came to Tumeric Pepitas (Sunflower Seeds).
    which is of course so wrong… Pepitas are shelled pumpkin seeds!


  29. Eva says:

    Have you read any research on this?

    One 2018 study found that there was no difference between soaked and un-soaked almond nuts. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28956139)

    Taylor H, Webster K, Gray AR, et al. “The effects of ‘activating’ almonds on consumer acceptance and gastrointestinal tolerance.” _European Journal of Nutrition_. 2018; 57 (8): 2771-2783.

  30. Lissette says:

    I’ve been soaking nuts to make my own nut mix for a few months now. I love how tasty and filling soaked nut are. I’ve been thinking about how to create flavor variations to keep snacking on the same thing interesting. This article has inspired me! Thank you. 🙂

  31. S says:

    Hi Lee,

    I have been activating my nuts for a while now. I came across your article and tried adding some flavour before dehydrating them. My nuts tend to retain almost negligible amount of the flavor after drying. How to I correct that?

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