I highly recommend soaking nuts and seeds to awaken them from their dormant state, The dormant state occurs naturally to prevent nuts and seeds  from sprouting prematurely. Raw nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, which is also found in grains and legumes.

Raw nuts and seeds are plant foods that contain protease inhibitors, which can block enzyme function. Most plant foods develop these inhibitors to form a protective barrier against insects. Nuts and seeds will not break down into their simplest forms during digestion when protein inhibitors are present. Inhibitors also prevent enzymes from digesting proteins, which can cause a burden on the pancreas. To get the maximum amount of nutrition from the raw nuts and seeds that you consume, you must eliminate these inhibitors prior to eating them. Phytic acid binds to minerals in the gut and cannot be absorbed in the intestine.Therefore causing bound minerals to collect in the intestines. Too many bound minerals can lead to people developing mineral deficiencies. By soaking, you break down the phytic acid so it can be absorbed properly. Because of these potential issues I recommend eating raw unsoaked nuts in small amounts.

So, it is good to remember that  soaking nuts and seeds is essential for proper digestion.

The simplest way to soak your nuts and seeds is by placing them in a bowl of water at room temperature. Soak for the proper amount of time (see chart below), then drain off the water and rinse completely. This process will start to minimize and eliminate toxic substances and enzyme inhibitors. It will also help to encourage the production of beneficial enzymes. These enzymes will increase your ability to digest the nuts and seeds, as well as increase the absorption and assimilation of essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

I personally do not eat nuts and seeds wet, I use them in recipes such as pates, nut milks, nut cheeses and desserts, to name a few. But I do soak and dehydrate large batches to just be eaten. It’s very handy to have them dehydrated and stored in airtight jars either in the pantry or refrigerator, to have on hand for a pie crust or another recipe that calls for soaked and dehydrated nuts and seeds, or just to munch on. They last a good six months, where unsoaked and not dehydrated nuts and seeds can go bad in a much shorter time span. Dehydrate for 24 to 48 hour until they is no water left in them at all. Now with all that said there will be a few recipe’s that will call for unsoaked nuts because a drier texture is preferred. For more info on dehydrating nuts and seeds CLICK HERE

Brazil, hazel nuts, pine nuts, cashews and macadamia’s do not have enzyme inhibitors; so there is no need to soak them. I do soak cashews and macadamia’s for short periods of time just so the recipe comes out much creamier. But if you are short on time it’s not always necessary.

Below is the soaking chart

Chart for soaking nuts and seeds

Almonds 8-12 hours
Brazil nuts not necessary
Cashews 2-4 hours, no more or they can become bitter, mushy and lose their flavor.
Hazelnuts not necessary
Macadamia 2 hours max and only to make a creamier recipe, but not necessary otherwise. If soaked longer can become mushy and lose their flavor.
Pecans 8- 12 hours
Pine nuts Not necessary
Pumpkin seeds 6-8 hours
Sunflower seeds 6-8 hours
Walnuts 8 – 12 hours