Soaking Nuts, Grains and Legumes

Posted on October 16, 2012 by Amy Krasner

Soaking your nuts, grains and legumes is not a common practice in modern day cooking. It is a practice that I would like to share with more people because there are many health benefits and it is really easy to do. The purpose of soaking nuts, grains and legumes is to make the nutrients more bio-available. By using this cooking technique you are granting your body access to important nutrients that it would not receive if you were to skip this step. Nuts, grains and legumes have a coating on them that protect them in nature. This coating is often bitter (specifically on quinoa).

Many people have a hard time digesting nuts, grains and legumes. Soaking nuts can be seen as a “pre-digestion” or break-down phase, making it easier for the body to digest and absorb nutrients.

What does this cooking practice entail?

Place 1 cup of nuts, grains or legumes in a bowl and cover them with cold filtered water. When they are done soaking, strain the water out, rinse them, and you are ready to start cooking.

How long should you soak you nuts, grains and legumes for?

8-12 hours EXCEPT cashews should only be soaked for 7 hours.

This may seem like a long time but all you have to do is put them in a bowl and leave them on the counter overnight or while you are at work.

If you forget to soak them over-night or during the day, soak them for as long as you can. Some soaking time is better than none.

Does this affect the cooking time?

Yes, cooking time is usually a little bit shorter and may require less liquid after soaking. Start with a 1/4 cup less liquid than the recipe calls for and add more if it is too dry.

Any other tips for easier-digestion of carbohydrates?

If you place a piece of “kombu” seaweed in the pot of beans while they are cooking, it removes the “gassy” effect that beans tend to have.

There is also a concept called food combining which recommends to eat your grains and your protein separately  aka not in the same meal. For example, one wouldn’t eat salmon with a side of quinoa or brown rice. It is worth a try to see if it helps with digestion.