Have you ever noticed that many recipes call on you to soak nuts before eating them? If you have never done this before, it might seem like quite an odd idea.
What are the benefits of soaking nuts?
There are quite a few, including flavor, nutritional value, and the ability to blend them. Some of the toxins found in nuts can be reduced by soaking them, and they may prove easier to digest.
Let’s look at the benefits of soaking nuts in more detail!
1. Improved Flavor
You might be surprised to learn that you can improve the flavor of some nuts by soaking them.
During this time, dust, tannins, and residue from the nut will be soaked up by the water. This makes the nuts taste better, removing some of the bitterness that is sometimes associated with almonds and walnuts.
This is due to the removal of the tannins, which are quite sharp tasting. Reducing the tannins in the nut you eat can give it a softer, creamier flavor, which many people enjoy.
It takes very little soaking to achieve this. As little as twenty minutes may be sufficient, and you might see that the water changes color and becomes murky or brown around the nuts due to the residue being removed.
2. Better Nutritional Value
Soaking the nuts can make them easier to chew, and surprisingly, this can increase their nutritional value. We know that cutting up or chewing nuts helps people to absorb nutrients from them, especially healthy fats.
However, because nuts are hard and many people find them challenging to chew properly, they are often swallowed in fairly large pieces, and this reduces the nutrient intake.
If you soak your nuts before consuming them and make a conscious effort to chew them more thoroughly, you should enjoy more nutritional benefits.
The effect may be relatively slight, but it is still worth noting, especially if you depend on nuts to provide important nutrients like iron in your diet.
3. Easier to Blend
If you want to make nut milk, soaking the nuts first is a really good way to reduce the wear and tear on your blender. It softens the nuts noticeably, making them much easier to blend.
Soak the harder nuts, like almonds, for longer than nuts such as cashews or walnuts. This will make them much easier to blend, giving you milk with a better texture and helping your blender to last longer.
Because you will remove the bitterness from the nuts at the same time, this can also make your milk more pleasant because it increases the creamy flavor. You may even find that you can skip or reduce the sugar if your recipe calls for it.
With more and more people moving toward using nut milks instead of drinking dairy milk, this is a great way to make some at home.
Do not use the water that you have soaked the nuts in to make the milk with, or in any other cooking. The point of soaking the nuts is to remove toxins and unwanted residue, and you shouldn’t add this back into your food. Discard the water instead.
4. Reduced Toxins
Nuts are seen as healthy food, and they are full of minerals, including iron, zinc, and calcium. However, one of the problems with raw nuts is that they are challenging to digest.
They contain a few antinutrients, which are designed to prevent the nut from sprouting before conditions are right for it. These will vary from nut to nut, but may include:
All of these can make it harder for you to digest the nut. For example, phytate – in the form of phytic acid – will bind with copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc. This can make it hard for your body to digest and absorb these minerals.
In many cases, this isn’t a big deal, as you will still be getting some of the nutrients – but if you are relying on nuts as a source of things like iron, it can be a problem.
Soaking helps to remove the phytic acid and the other antinutrients, and that means you will be able to better absorb the minerals that the nuts contain, giving you more value from every nut that you eat.
The amount of time that you need to soak nuts for to get these benefits will vary, and further study is needed to fully understand how this process works.
Hard nuts, such as almonds, may need to be soaked for a day to reduce the phytic acid, and there is mixed evidence about how effective this is in making nutrients more available to you.
It is thought that soaking works well with legumes and some grains, but so far, studies on nuts have not come to any clear conclusions about how much soaking helps, or how long you need to soak the different nuts in order to benefit.
5. Easier Digestion
Because you are reducing the quantities of antinutrients, you may find that the nuts are easier on your stomach.
Although the antinutrients are usually only found in low concentrations and should not be harmful, they could cause some slight discomfort in the digestive system.
They are, after all, known for making foods harder to digest, and this will obviously have an impact on how comfortable digesting that kind of food is. If eating nuts causes you a bit of discomfort, consider soaking them first.
You may find that allowing the water to absorb some of the antinutrients makes the nuts much more pleasant to consume, and helps you to digest them.
There are some major benefits to be gained from soaking nuts, and this can be an easy process. Simply add water to the nuts and refrigerate them overnight.
You can even soak them on the counter for as little as twenty minutes if you just want to reduce the tannins.