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How To Soak And Dehydrate Nuts (Nourishing Traditions Method)

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 how to soak and dehydrate nuts

Traditional Nut and Seed Preparation Methods

In her book, Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon Morell explains how soaking nuts/seeds in a saltwater solution reduces the naturally occurring enzyme inhibitors and phytates that can cause digestive issues. This process of improving the digestibility of nuts and seeds is called making “crispy nuts,” a reference you will find often in my recipes. Soaking and dehydrating times can be found below. You can also ferment them in a whey solution and then dehydrate for use. To use this method, place nuts in a bowl and cover with water and ½ cup whey. Soak for 24 hours and dehydrate according to the time listed below, or until dry. Please note that nuts expand over time so make sure they are completely submerged with plenty of extra water at the top.

Raw Pecans & Walnuts – Soak 4 cups pecan or walnuts in warm filtered water with 2 teaspoons sea salt for 7 hours or longer (up to 24 hours). Rinse and place in set at 105-150F for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally.

Raw Almonds – Soak 4 cups almonds in warm water with 1 tablespoon sea salt for 7 hours or longer (up to 24 hours). Rinse, place in dehydrator, sprinkle with salt/honey/other flavorings if desired and dehydrate at 105-150F for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally. (Note: Most almonds that are available have been pasteurized or otherwise treated. If they are no longer raw, soak them according the instructions for cashews.)

Cashews – Because “raw” cashews are not truly raw (heated to 350 degrees while in their shell to neutralize a toxic oil called cardol.), it’s not necessary to dehydrate them at a low temperature to preserve enzymes. Soaking still makes them more digestible, though! Soak 4 cups cashews in warm water with 1 tablespoon sea salt for no more than 6 hours. (Because they are not raw they do not contain valuable enzymes that prevent spoilage, so 6 hours is the max) Rinse, place on a stainless steel cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake at 200-250F until dry, turning occasionally.

Raw Peanuts – Soak 4 cups raw peanuts in warm water with 1 tablespoon sea salt for 7 hours or longer (up to 24 hours). Drain and rinse. Dehydrate at 105-150F for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally.

Raw Pumpkin Seeds – Soak 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds in warm water with 1 tablespoon sea salt for 7 hours or longer (up to 24hours). Drain and rinse (Or don’t rinse. They’re yummy salty!). If desired, sprinkle with flavorings such as salt and honey or chili and lime before placing in dehydrator. Dehydrate at 105-150F for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally.

Raw Sunflower Seeds – Soak 4 cups sunflower seeds in warm filtered water with 2 teaspoons sea salt for 7 hours. Rinse and place in set at 105-150F for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally.

Note: Turning is not necessary in my Excaliubur dehydrator, but it is helpful with other models. Do what works for you.

soaking and dehydrating nuts tutorial



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156 Responses to How To Soak And Dehydrate Nuts (Nourishing Traditions Method)

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  6. Sista Voyage says:

    Just in time!!! I am about to soak some sunflower/pumpkin seeds and walnuts/pecans for the first time after reading about phytic acid concerns. I needed to know the time frame to leave them in water. I don’t have a dehydrator (yet), so I will be using my oven to dry them out a bit.

  7. tania says:

    I need some help. Do i have any other alternative since i dont have a dehydrator or an oven?

  8. Candance says:

    Great post, thank you! Once I have soaked and dried the nuts, how long do you think they will last in an air tight container in the pantry?

    • Heather says:

      I think it probably depends on how cool/dry the pantry is. I keep mine in the freezer for maximum freshness :)

      • Candance Holmes says:

        Thank you! I will have to start putting my dried nuts in the freezer as it gets quite warm in my pantry (great for water kefir and fermenting though!)

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  12. Jenessa says:

    I am planning on soaking my almonds and then grinding them up in a food processor to add to an almond salad I am making. Is it okay if I do this and skip the dehydration process? Thanks!

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  14. Natalia says:

    Hi, Heather, great post and website. Just was wondering about pine nuts and macadamias? Do they need to be soaked and dehydrated or not ? Also am assuming hazelnuts are similar to pecans? Thank you so much, Natalia

  15. Natalia says:

    Oh and brazil nuts of course….

  16. Homemade Nut Bars | Rubies & Radishes says:

    […] You don’t have to do this, especially if you are only eating nuts on occasion. But, if they are a big part of your diet, I do recommend taking these extra steps and seeing if it makes a difference in your digestion. Mommypotamus wrote a great how-to post about soaking and dehydrating nuts. […]

  17. colleen says:

    If I’m doing pumpkin seeds (fresh from the pumpkin) do I need to dry and hull them first? Or would soaking help loosen the hull making them easier.

  18. Hope says:

    I have basically the same question as Colleen, do I remove the hull before soaking and/or dehydrating or after? And is there a good method of removing it as this will be my first try. Thanks!

  19. Adam says:

    Hi im very curious about this one. After I soaked and dried the nuts is it best to keep it in the freezer for maximum freshness OR the fridge? Also IF its the freezer do you still get all the live nutrients even when frozen? Thanks!

    Also how long would it last if it was in the freezer?

    Had to do the post again because I forgot to check the notify email thing or else I would lose this page

    • Heather says:

      Because the moisture level in the fridge tends to be high I think storing them there might actually accelerate storage, but the freezer is good :)

      • Adam says:

        Thank you for the quick reply!!
        One more thing, any idea how long the soaked and dried nuts will last in the freezer and do you freeze it in a glass jar?

        thank you ^^

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  22. Melissa Lindner says:

    How should you store the nuts and what is the shelf life?

  23. Leda says:

    Hi are these temperatures celsius or fahrenheit?

  24. Lynda says:

    Can you tell me if i can still soak pecans that come pre-packaged? i bought some at the regular grocery store and they just say “pecans” in the ingredients so i guess that means they are probably not raw? Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

  25. 15 Ways to Use a Dehydrator | Naturally Mindful says:

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  26. Homemade Mounds and Almond Joy | One Big Happy Home says:

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  28. Gretta says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’m planning on starting my 22 month old on the GAPS diet, once I can wrap my head around it. I recently read (Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford) that most all commercially shelled nuts are rancid. Do you know if there’s a way or place to buy shelled non-rancid nuts?

  29. Anna says:

    What would you recommend for people who do not have a dehydrator? How long would you have to in an oven?

    • Amanda @ Mommypotamus Support says:

      Anna, Preheat the oven to 150˚. Place in the oven for 12-24 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove. Cool completely before storage.

  30. Sean says:

    Hello! Great site! I was wondering if it is necessary to dehydrate the already sprouted almonds before making almond butter? I understand that if you don’t dehydrate the almonds they have a shorter shelf life. But what if I don’t dehydrate them, then make them into butter, and then keep the butter in the fridge, will it last longer? I cannot find the answer to this anywhere…

    • Heather says:

      I haven’t tried it, but I don’t the consistency would be what you’d expect and it would definitely spoil faster. If it were me I’d dry them.

  31. Action Packed Trail Mix | Yoga and Yum says:

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  32. Sharifa says:

    Hi,I was always under the impression that raw,unsalted,untasted nuts were the healthiest.Thanks for all the info.

  33. Alice says:

    I mistakenly bought lots of almond flour (bulk buy) – is there a way to remove the phytic acids in them after they’ve grinded – or is it too late?

    If I make them into a yoghurt – will that remove the phytic acid?

    I don’t want to throw away my almond flour! Cost me over £100! But at the same time don’t want to hurt my already stressed out and sensitive body (lots of health issues including digestive). I also don’t want to give it to others because I don’t want to hurt other people.

    Please advise!

  34. Toni says:

    Just something to also consider…many dehydrators, including Excalibur, use toxic plastic components (not necessarily the trays)…advertising can be misleading, be vigilant consumers. Plastic should never, ever be heated. Use a stainless steel cookie sheet at low heat in your oven, or find a dehydrator with all stainless steel components. Some stainless steel units have chrome-plated stainless steel trays…and chrome is also toxic. Many of us are food conscious, it takes some extra attention to assure that we’re not undermining our efforts at optimal health during the prep phase. Here’s a helpful link:

    • Kristina says:

      Thanks for the input Toni! I am in the market for a dehydrator and you have helped me make sure I’m not harming my nuts! Haha…

  35. Cin says:

    Heather…a great article. I have read through all the responses and no one actually touches on Brazil Nuts.
    How long to soak these and how long to dry them? Thanks!

  36. Penny says:

    I didn’t see the amount of time to soak cashews so I actually soaked them overnight, probably about 9 hrs. How can I tell if they are spoiled? Should I eat them? I have already dehydrated them in an oven.

  37. Kristina says:

    Hi there,
    I have been making Sally Fallon’s crispy nuts and a variation of her almond butter for a few years – always doing the ‘drying’ in my oven at 150… Recently, people have gotten wind that I make my own almond butter and are wanting to buy it from me! As a stay at home mom / part time marketing consultant from home – any extra income is a good thing. However the oven drying takes a FULL 24 hours. I stumbled onto your website looking for a dehydrator for nuts and see you use the Excalibur brand. Does it take 24 hours to dry them in the dehydrator as well, or is it faster? And what size do you have – and how many cups of nuts can you dry at a time? Thank you for any insight!

  38. shaunne says:

    With sunflower seeds, almonds etc etc. it always says not to dehydrate about 150. My oven will not go below 170 so it’s my only option. I’m saving for a dehydrator at some point. Am I doing more harm then good?

  39. Drew Todd says:

    Hi Heather

    Thanks for this great advice on nut soaking. A few questions:

    1. Is it ok to soak sunflower seeds longer than 7 hours or is the max for these 7 hrs?

    2. We usually soak all our nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds) in the same bowl of filtered water with 2 tsp pink himalayan salt for about 16 hours. Is this ok or should each nut variety been done separately?

    3. About to purchase a 4 tray Excalibur dehydrator which will make this all much easier! :-)

    Many thanks.

    Kind regards.


  40. Larry says:

    Hi, This is all totally new to me. Could someone please tell me if it is OK roast almonds (2 cups) in a non-stick 13X9 cake pan? Also, how about dehydrating them too in the same pan. I do not have a stainless cookie sheet. Need to buy one?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Larry, there are different opinions on whether it is healthy to roast almonds. I think once in awhile is fine. Regarding your cookie sheet, stainless steel is optimal but you can use whatever you have. If you’re concerned about the non-stick coating coming into contact with your food you might consider lining the sheet with parchment paper.

      • Larry says:

        Thank you. My concern was for the high sides of the cake pans as opposed to the small short sides on a sheet. It seems to be doing OK though. Lovin’ my new food! I eat 23 of them each day. Super crispy ones. But for the cost, I would likely be eating at least a pound each day. :) Thank you very much for your site & info.

  41. Drew Todd says:

    Hi Heather

    Thanks for this great advice on nut soaking. A few questions:

    Is it ok to soak sunflower seeds longer than 7 hours or is the max for these 7 hrs? The article above says 7 hours for Sunflower Seeds but does not have the ‘up to 24hrs’ so does this mean they must not go over 7 – we are wondering if this is a typo?

    Many thanks.

  42. ila says:

    i thought enzymes died at 150F dry heat?

    why put the heat that high if trying to preserve them, isn’t it better to say 125F max?

  43. Liz says:

    Hi, I just ran into mold on my almonds. I soaked them close to a full 24hrs then drained and rinsed and spread on stainless steel sheet pan in 150degree oven overnight. This morning: mold! Or what looks like it. Help! Can I rinse them and dry them again?

    • emily says:

      I’m having the same problem!! :( Soaked ’em, then rinsed, then set them in the oven to dry and they’re moldy! Black spots and white fuzzy stuff. Is it possible to salvage them or are all those almonds trash? What a waste of $$. I really wanted activated almonds…

      • Heather says:

        Hi Emily, it sounds like you may have a batch of non-raw almonds on hand. If they have been pasteurized or otherwise treated their enzymes aren’t intact. The enzymes are what prevent spoilage, I’m afraid. It is possible to improve the digestibility of non-raw almonds, but you want to reduce the soaking time to no more than six hours. I’m so sorry that happened to you. :(

  44. Larry says:

    So, would that apply to all Ca. almonds, which is where most of them in the US come from? They have some kind of law there that requires some kind of treatment if the nuts are to be sold at retail, if I remember rightly.
    I soak mine 24 hrs. too, then right into a dehydrator. So far, no problems. I use Spicy World nuts from Amazon. Four pound bags. And keep them in the freezer from the time I get them except, of course, for the soaking & dehydrating. I freeze all I will not be using in 1 week or so.

  45. Cari says:

    Hi. I was soaking some almonds and didn’t have time to rinse and set them to dry when I should have. It was a warm day and we were gone all day. Now they smell a bit rotten. Are they salvageable?

  46. lexee says:

    hi mommypotamus!

    love your blog. just wanted to check if the cashews should be soaked with 3 teaspoons of salt, instead of 3 tablespoons. just seemed like a lot more than the others! thanks :)

    • Heather says:

      Oh my goodness, thank you for catching that! It should have said either three teaspoons or one tablespoon (which is, of course, the same amount), only I seem to have bungled it. Yes, just one tablespoon! Just updated the post.

  47. Nancy says:

    Yikes. I missed the salt part, as I had been told by my naturopath just to soak my nuts. Then I remembered that I had read something about soaking nuts and found this article again. I have pecans soaking right now and there are some stringy white things falling off of them and sinking to the bottom of my bowl. Do you suppose they have gone bad?

  48. dennis says:

    I purchased an inexpensive dehydrator. To dehydrate sunflower seeds I had to buy an aftermarket screen to cut into shape for the tray. I do soak my seeds/nuts prior to drying them. I went to a hardware store and got some plastic window screen. Also, why have you used the “7 hour” time to dehydrate??


  49. dennis says:

    I reread your comments. Thank You. I misread the information. Is it OK to soak 12 hours or essentially overnight?? I will get some sea salt.

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