Get the best taste out of your raw nuts while making them easier to digest by following these simple steps. It’s worth the time to make a big batch and store them long-term in the refrigerator. I try to always have one or more varieties available for snacking or baking or making nut butter–my favorites are walnuts but pecans come in second. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are good too. I have made a nut butter with a walnut and pumpkin seed mix which is yummy–look for the recipe here. I avoid cashews–they are never truly raw because they have to be heated to remove a poisonous compound. They may still contain some of this poison ivy-like compound and I wonder if that is why I don’t feel good when I eat them.
So this is what you need to do:
Purchase raw (be sure they are not roasted or pasteurized) nuts. If you can get organically grown that is best–I order nuts from here. They are expensive but I wait until they have a sale and get enough for free shipping–sign up for their emails for the sale notification. Then store them in the freezer until you are ready to process them. For pumpkin and sunflower seeds, I purchase from here.
Measure about 2 quarts of nuts/seeds and place into a large bowl. Add enough water to totally cover the nuts. Allow to soak overnight or about 12 hours. Drain and rinse very well until the rinse water is clear–the soak water will be very brown with walnuts and pecans. The soaking rids the nuts of some harsh-tasting stuff so be sure to rinse very well. I use a large colander for draining–allow to drain until no water is dripping from the bottom.
Pre-heat an oven to 140 degrees F. or the lowest setting on your oven. Spread the soaked nuts/seeds in large shallow baking pans–a thin layer will cut on the drying time needed to thoroughly dry. Salt the nuts if desired–about a teaspoon of nuts per quart of nuts. Stir well to distribute the salt–some of it remains on the pan so don’t think this is too much salt–and spread again in an even layer in the pan. Place the pans in the oven until the nuts/seeds are thoroughly dry. This may take 4-12 hours depending on your oven temperature and the thickness of the layer in the pan. The first time you make them check them every 2 hours (stir them while you are at it for quicker drying) by biting into one to see if there is still moisture in the center. If your oven has a drying option at 140 or lower, they will nut burn if left longer. In fact, they can may taste better. Once I left walnuts for 16 hours at 140 and they were very buttery and now I leave them past the point of drying.
Remove from the oven once thoroughly dry. Allow to cool and then place in glass jars. I use 1/2 gallon, wide-mouthed mason jars as pictured above. Store in the refrigerator. They will keep for weeks.