Almonds {how to soak}

Almonds are one of my favorite quick snacks as well as an easy way to add crunch and flavor to many dishes. A few years ago my thoughts on almonds changed a bit after reading Nourishing Traditions, when I was confronted with the fact that raw or roasted almonds may essentially be robbing our bodies of nutrients. Almonds are one of the foods highest in phytic acid – even more so than wheat, oatmeal, and soy. It is taught in the “traditional foods” circles that this enzyme inhibitor must be removed to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption.

After soaking almonds for the first time I was hooked.

It takes some time, though just a few minutes of active work, but the end result is a nut that not only tastes better, but is easier on the digestive system. I now soak most of the almonds that I use because I notice such a big difference in overall digestion – which to me is more important than scientific studies.

{to read more about the phytic acid content in nuts and seeds, check out Kimi from The Nourishing Gourmet’s research}

Soaking sunflower seeds and almonds and making a gallon of water kefir. What traditional foods are you making today?

Besides snacking on crispy almonds by themselves, I like to use them in:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Almonds {how to soak}
 
Author:
Recipe type: Traditional Food Preparation
Ingredients
  • Raw Almonds (if you can't find raw, purchase unroasted, unsalted)
Instructions
  1. Use a container at least twice the size of the amount of almonds you’re using. They swell to about twice the size and will soak up much of the water.
  2. Cover the nuts with warm water and let sit in a warm place for about 12 hours or overnight. After about 12 hours, or in the morning, drain the water, add one teaspoon of salt per quart of almonds (presoaked quantity), and fill again with warm water to let soak for another 8-12 hours.
  3. After the final salt water soak, drain the almonds and dehydrate until crisp. This may take awhile…… Use the nut setting on your dehydrator or the lowest temperature available on your oven.
  4. When I first started soaking almonds I finished after dehydrating to keep them raw, but since Kimi posted that both dehydrating AND then roasting removed even more phytic acid (though studies have yet to prove how much) I’ve roasted them in the oven for 20 minutes or so which adds a nice roasted flavor to the already salted nuts.
  5. Even the experts are unsure of how much phytic acid is removed during this process, or even if it removes enough to make it worth while, but what I do know is that I notice a difference between soaked and unsoaked almonds. So I’ll continue soaking them but not freak out should I consume an unsoaked one from time to time.

almonds1

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle is an author, amateur herbalist, lover of real food, and an advocate for natural health. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health, so much so that she is currently taking courses to become a master herbalist. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she began this blog in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to healing.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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Comments

  1. I’m totally going to give this a try!

  2. So, do you peel them too? I read to peel them…but that takes like all day to peel them.

    • I do not peel them – that’s to much work! :-) I think if I needed to use them unsoaked I’d want them peeled, but I’d buy them that way.

      • @donielle, I agree takes much too long. Does it make much a difference if the water is warm or not? I’ve read mixed reviews on this. I soak mine often but rarely have a warm place to keep them in. We turn our heat off downstairs at night. (I guess I could bring them upstairs where it is warm at night). But, I also keep all my raw almonds in the freezer so they area always frozen when I put them in the water and they seem to cool it off rather quickly.

  3. Hey, good stuff – do you know how long you can store almonds (and/or other nuts) that have been soaked and roasted in the fridge before they go bad?

    • @Jake, I would think multiple weeks at least. I usually toss most of them in the freezer if they aren’t used within a couple weeks.

  4. So I tried this last night and I don’t think I left them in the oven long enough, though they felt only when I took them out. Are they still okay to eat even though they might be a tad “squishy”? How long do you typically keep them in the oven to dry out and at what temperature?

    • @Molly, I’d just put them back in to fully dry. You just use the lowest temp on your oven and heat until crisp. I just bite into one every couple of hours to check. They can take 6+ hours sometimes. In my dehydrator they take 24. :-)

  5. If you dont have a dehydtator, how wpuld u do it w an oven? Everytime i try they turn out rock hard and awful! What am i doing wrong? Thanks!

    • @sarah h, Hmmmm. I’ve never had that happen. You should be able to do them in an oven, just put it at the lowest temp possible for at least a few hours, stirring once or twice.

  6. When you soak almonds for this long they are really easy to slip out of their skins, it does take a little while but I’m willing to do it – do you know if some of the phytic acid is in the skin?

    • donielle says:

      @Lorie, No – they don’t come out easily! :-) I’ve never taken the time to do it either. I have heard that blanching them for a few seconds causes them to slide right out and I’ve thought of trying this next time – after I soak.. Then dehydrate them.

  7. I soaked my almonds for about a day, but when I went to empty the water, there was all of this mold at the top! Has this ever happened to you? Did I soak them too long? Should I have soaked them in the refridgerator as opposed to on our counter? I ended up sadly throwing them away.

    Thanks!

    • donielle says:

      @Erica, Ewww! Sometimes I get a bit of white residue in the water, but never mold. I would think that maybe there was something in the jar or maybe the almonds were contaminated…… I don’t know. I have some sitting out for almost 24 hours (which is normal for me to do) and I’ve never seen actual mold.

      When you try it again, I’d run hot, HOT water through the jar to sanitize it before you put the almonds and soaking water in.

      • kimberlie says:

        I have read that if they go moldy or turn black during the soak then they are not raw almonds. if they have been processed in any way prior to soaking, the good enzymes have already been killed either through roasting or chemical treatment. you want to use raw, organic if possible…@donielle,

      • @donielle,

        There is no point in soaking if you do a heat treatment first as you would destroy the phytase which you want to activate during the soaking to disable the phytic acid.

        • @Johan, I’m a bit confused – I don’t do a heat treatment before soaking at all. If it’s the above comment you’re referring to (when I mention the use of very hot water), that’s just to sterilize the jar, not for the almonds. You’d still put luke warm water in for soaking the almonds, the hot water beforehand would just help kill any bacteria that might be in the jar.

  8. After about 12 hours of soaking… the almonds smells a little sourish… why.. ?

    • Sorry… It should be.. Soaking after 24 hours.. it smells a. It sourish. Why.. ?

      • donielle says:

        @Emily, So after 24 hours of soaking it started to smell sour? Were they truly raw almonds or pasteurized? Did you change the water midway through?

        Otherwise, I can’t imagine anything would be wrong with them. :-)

        • @donielle,
          Yes.. I changed water not only mid way.. but many times.. At least 3 – 5 times through soaking..

          How does one know if the almonds are pasteurised or not..
          I bought from the bakery tools store that sells all sorts of ingredient for baking.. dessert.. and sells utensils for bakery purposes..

          It does looks raw.. But not sure if it’s pasteurised..

          So.. it’s not supposed to smell sourish after 12 or 24 hours of soaking..
          But the almonds did swells up/bulge after soaking…

          • donielle says:

            @Emily, In reality, I guess all almonds that you buy from a store are going to be pasteurized. You have to buy them directly from a farm if you want truly raw almonds.
            Either way, most pasteurized almonds are steam pasteurized and should be fine for soaking. They should swell up and bulge after soaking, and a bit of a smell is really not an issue. You may just want to make sure that you don’t seal them up in a jar as they soak. You’d notice a bad smell or mold if something went wrong, but a slight sour smell shouldn’t be an issue at all – the almonds are chemically changing so it’s to be expected.

          • @donielle,
            Thanks Donielle… : )
            so.. for making almond milk…
            should we soak for 12 hours.. or 24 hours… ?

          • donielle says:

            @Emily, Well, I’ve never made almond milk before, but I’d do at least 12 hours. :-)

  9. hi i was wondering, how to dehydrate the almonds without an oven or dehydrator?

    i love almondss and till now have simply been eating them raw. Help please!!

    • @curious, I know that some people in the very warm yet dry climates can do so outside – otherwise they may begin to mold if they aren’t dried fast enough. Personally I wouldn’t attempt it without an oven or dehydrator. You could potentially eat them while wet ( and refrigerate right after soaking), though the texture is lacking.

  10. what if right after soaking, you try roast them on a plate surface with an hairdryer instead of using an oven? I’ll give it a try!

    • @solarian, I think you may be standing there with a hair dryer for a long time! lol. It takes anywhere from 12-24 hours to dry them out again. :-)

      • @donielle,
        yes, your’re right :) well, after 5 minutes hanging the dryer around, my fresh soaked almonds were into more worm atmosphere, inside the oven.
        as usually, I forget theme there for a longer period of time than need it… :)

  11. Thanks for the great info Donielle! A quick question for you – why do you soak the almonds the second time? Do you feel they need at least 24 hours, rather than just 12 or 7 as some recipes suggest? Prior to this, I had seen people soaking them about 8-12 hours and only one time, so I am curious to know the reasons for the difference.

    Thanks again!

    • @Sunrain, Well, the longer you soak, the more phytic acid is removed/disabled/etc. But I don’t like the stagnant water in there, PLUS I like the salty crunch, so I soak again in salt water.

      You could do 8-12 hours, but it takes like 8 hours just to start dealing with the phytic acid from what I’ve heard.

  12. Hi Donielle. I very much enjoyed your posts! I have a question about almonds. For several years, I have been a big fan of soaking almonds before eating them. Now, I am currently making spiced roasted nuts for holiday giving, and I wonder if I can soak for 24 hours, pat dry, and then go directly to roasting (with seasonings), or, must I dehydrate first? I have no dehydrator (and my time is limited). What do you think? I appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks!

    • @Laura, You can totally do that! :-) It should work out just fine, it’ll probably take a few hours, but check it every once in awhile and do it at a low temp until they are dry. (otherwise the outside will roast and possibly burn depending on the temp you use and leave the inside wet) I’d go with about 225 for a few hours.

    • @Laura, Thanks Donielle!

  13. just what I’ve been looking for.

  14. My dehydrator just has temperature settings….so what temperature? 95, 105, 115, 125? And for how long? Thanks for all the info!

    • donielle says:

      @Dana, My dehydrator has 105 as a setting for nuts and seeds, but I find that almonds take forever at that temp, like days….. so I usually do about 130.

      • Oops! If you go above 118, you kill beneficial enzymes…

        • It’s a controversial thing perhaps. ;-) But others say that by heating to, say, 250 degrees that the phytic acid is also reduced. And personally, It takes over 48 hours for me to dry almonds below 118, so I usually don’t worry about missing the enzymes as I get in plenty from other foods, especially fermented foods.

  15. Hi Donielle! How long do the almonds keep after drying? Would it be best to toss them in the freezer just to ensure they stay fresh?

    • I’m not sure what the official answer is, but I keep mine either in the freezer or fridge to make sure none of the fragile fats in them go bad. I do a large batch at once and then just keep them in quart freezer bags until I need them. :-)

  16. allison says:

    at what temp do you roast them in the oven for the final roasting? thanks!

  17. Where can I buy organic, raw almonds??

    • I usually buy mine through a co-op that a friend runs locally or I get them at a bulk foods store and health food store near my home. Technically the ones at the store aren’t “raw” as they are flash pasteurized (I think they use very hot steam for a moment) but they aren’t “cooked” all the way through so I find they seem just like raw almonds. If I remember correctly, Green Smoothie Girl may run a co-op every once in awhile.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] How to Soak Almonds | Naturally Knocked UpNov 15, 2011 … Almonds are one of the foods highest in phytic acid – even more so than wheat, oatmeal, and soy. It is taught in the traditional foods circles that … [...]

  2. […] 1 cup raw organic almonds – soaked overnight (this step reduces the level of phytates- here is a good tutorial) […]

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