Ever wonder why seeds and nuts can make your stomach feel so heavy after eating them? The reason is that they contain enzyme inhibitors. These enzyme inhibitors are there to protect the nut until they need to germinate. When properly soaked, the enzyme inhibitors are released and actually increase the amount of necessary nutrients, like vitamin B. Not only will they be easier on your stomach, your digestive system will also be able to absorb more of the nutrients from the nuts as the inhibitors won’t be blocking any of the digestion.
So how should you prepare your nuts and seeds?
Different websites recommend different techniques, but the one that most follow is that of Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions. She recommends soaking nuts with a tablespoon of sea salt as the salt breaks down the enzyme inhibitors. You will need a rather large jar and fill with about twice as much water as the volume of nuts, as they expand quite a bit. After soaking overnight, rinse, and place in a dehydrator until fully dry.
Soaking for granola bars
Peanuts: Place 4 cups of raw peanuts and 1 tablespoon sea salt into a large bowl or jar. Cover with twice as much water as the volume of nuts. Soak overnight, rinse, and dehydrate. Drying in an actual dehydrator is quicker, but it can also be done in the oven. Set your oven to the lowest temp and check often so they don’t burn. If your oven doesn’t set low enough, you may have to leave the door cracked open while drying. (a dehydrator will dry nuts at 105 degrees)
Sunflower seeds: Although there is no recommendation in Nourishing Traditions for these, I have found through other research that soaking for 6-8 hours is plenty for these seeds. I also use the salt while soaking. After the 6-8 hours, rinse and dry.