Technique: Crunchy Nuts

One of the major differences between the diet of traditional cultures and the modern diets of today is the treatment of grains, legumes/beans, nuts, and seeds.  In traditional cultures, if these foods were included in the diet at all, they were carefully soaked, sprouted or soured/fermented.

The primary reason behind all the special treatment is, in fact, rooted in science.  Although our ancestors may not have used the terms enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, these anti-nutrients, found in grains, beans, nuts and seeds, prevent us from digesting these foods properly or getting the most out of them nutritionally – unless their effects are mitigated by soaking (with an acidic medium), sprouting or souring/fermenting.  Such treatment methods break down those nasty anti-nutrients, thereby making the foods easier to digest and more nourishing.

Technique: Crunchy Nuts

Nuts are a delicious place to start enjoying the nutritional benefits of soaking because it makes them taste so much better.  Walnuts are a great nut to experiment with because they possess a bitter quality which is neutralized after soaking.  Traditional recipes only include sea salt and water. However, the addition of an activator, like whey or even apple cider vinegar, expedites the fermentation process.

  • 4 cups
  • 10 min active / 36 hours inactive
  • Moderate


  • 4 cups raw nuts or seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whey, optional
  • 1 tbsp sea salt, plus more to taste


  1. In a large-sized glass bowl, combine the nuts, optional whey, sea salt, and enough room temperature water to cover the nuts by 2 inches.
  2. Stir to dissolve the salt.
  3. Cover with a lid or plate and set in a warm place, approximately 75˚ for 24 hours.
  4. Once the soaking is complete, set your oven or food dehydrator to 150˚F.
  5. Rinse the nuts well in a colander (discard the soaking water) and spread in a single layer onto regular sheet pans or dehydrator trays with mesh inserts.
  6. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, to taste.
  7. Dry in the oven or dehydrator for 12 to 24 hours. Most nuts take only 12 to 15 hours, but almonds and hazelnuts almost always take a full 24 and even up to 36 hours.
  8. The nuts are ready when they crunch nicely upon biting, with no residual moisture.
  9. Always test several nuts to ensure uniform dehydration.
  10. Store nuts in an airtight container in the freezer or refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Recipe is an excerpt from Molly & her mother’s cookbook Back to Butter.  For further information regarding specific tips on soaking of all types of nuts and seeds, please check out the book in our SHOP.