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A Comparison of Soaked and Dehydrated and Toasted Nuts
Sunday, April 14, 2013

Soaking nuts serves to inactivate the phytates and enzyme inhibitors that make the minerals in them (zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium) difficult to absorb.

You can drain the nuts and leave them in the refrigerator for a couple of days.  This is good if you wish to make nut milks, or if you don’t have time to dry them out immediately. If you want to have delicious nuts to munch on or add to your recipes, however, you need to dehydrate or toast them. There are a number of ways to do this, and it’s a matter of preference as to which ones suit your taste best.

Yesterday, I compared the times and tastes of nuts that had been soaked then dried at 3 different temperatures. I did this for almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. I soaked them all over night–with the exception of the cashews, which got a four hour soak. It’s not good to soak cashews over seven hours: the texture changes for the worse. I drained the cashews, refrigerated them, and dried them with the other nuts. I included 1 tablespoon celtic salt in the the soaking water for each pound of nuts.

The three comparisons included: a dehydrator at 115˚, an oven at 200˚, and an oven at 300˚.

The nuts at 200 degrees took 3 hours for a beautiful light toast with delicious flavor.

The nuts at 300 degrees should have come out at about 45 minutes. I left them in an hour; and while tasty, they were slightly over-toasted.

The dehydrated nuts took about six hours.

In a previous post I had listed the minimum times for soaking nuts. Nonetheless, I find it’s easiest to simply soak most of the nuts for about the same amount of time, about six hours.  To repeat, cashews should not go longer than seven. Almonds need a minimum of six hours, but they are even better soaked longer.

Here are the different nuts at different degrees of toasted. They range from light (dehydrator) to darkest (300 degree oven)._MG_0694 _MG_0693 _MG_0695 _MG_0692

My conclusion is that for eating nuts out-of-hand I prefer those toasted at the higher temperature. For a neutral nut that will later be used in cooking or baking, I would go with the lower temperature  oven or the dehydrator.

These delicious nuts stay fresh at room temperature for minimum of a month. Once exception is walnuts, which should be refrigerated. For super oily nuts like pine nuts, store them in the refrigerator or freezer. No need to toast them first.

If this is too much for you, there is always Wilderness Family Naturals, which promptly delivers to your door already soaked and dehydrated nuts.


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Photo: Tess Steinkolk

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