In this article, we are going to discuss about soaking walnuts. Especially, why you should soak them and how to properly soak them before cooking. In addition to that, I’ll also cover information on some of the common questions like “Why should you soak walnuts?”, “What are the benefits of soaking walnuts?” and more.
With that being said, let’s get started.
Why should you soak walnuts?
When you go through recipes online, you might find that most of them would require you to soak your walnuts. You might be wondering why you need to do this, and if it makes any difference.
Some claim that soaking your walnuts before using them would lead to better organoleptic properties as well as nutritional content. Let us go through the scientific evidence and see whether this is true!
Soaked vs unsoaked walnuts
There are several reasons why you would want to soak your walnuts. As mentioned, it does improve taste and nutrients availability as well.
When you try to eat a walnut right away, you will find that it has that astringent bitter taste to it. Soaking allows the tannins from the skin to be rinsed away, so you will have a softer and buttery nut.
It also removes nutritional inhibitors such as phytic acid, oxalates, lectins, and enzyme inhibitors. These compounds are called nutritional inhibitors because they will inhibit your body from fully digesting the walnuts and getting their full nutritional benefits.
Just by soaking it for around 20 minutes, you can see that soaking water will turn brown, which tells you it has released residues into the water.
Therefore, you should not use the leftover soaking water for consumption and simply throw it away.
How should you soak walnuts?
The soaking process usually takes from just 20 minutes to overnight in the refrigerator; generally, the harder the walnuts or the softer you want them to be the longer the time required. Here are the steps you should take when soaking your walnuts:
- Place your walnuts into a large glass or stainless-steel bowl with enough liquid to cover them and some salt. Remember that as they soak, the liquid will decrease. So, you should aim to have at least a little bit of headroom for the liquid.
- Leave them on the counter to soak for about 2 to 3 hours, or a minimum of 20 minutes. If you are planning to soak it for longer than 8 hours, you should place it in the refrigerator as the nuts could become rancid when left out for too long.
- After they are done soaking, drain and rinse the walnuts in a colander or sifter. Remember to throw away the liquid after soaking.
When you soak the walnuts the water-soluble compounds such as phytic acids and enzyme inhibitors will leach into the liquid and the walnuts will be more digestible and taste better.
The walnuts will also absorb the liquid, making it a lot softer in texture. Because of this, you might find that the walnuts will increase in volume and absorb the flavor of the liquid used to soak it in.
There are several options of liquid for you to choose from, such as water, rum, milk, or other liquids. As mentioned, the walnuts will absorb the flavor of whichever liquid you decide to use.
For example, you can use rum or other liquors if you are using the walnuts to make desserts or cakes. For a neutral flavor you might want to use regular water.
You can also use boiling water to soak if you want the walnuts to be softer quicker.
Time and duration
As mentioned, you can soak the walnuts for around 20 minutes, 2 to 3 hours, or even overnight. It all depends on how soft you would like your walnuts to be.
Walnuts are medium-soak nuts, so you will need around 2 to 4 hours to soak them at room temperature.
Do not leave it for too long, as you can lose the nutritional benefits. If you are leaving the walnuts to soak overnight, remember to soak it in the refrigerator to keep the temperature lower.
This will avoid nutrition loss and keep the walnuts from going rancid. On the other hand, if you’re pressed for time, you can incorporate heat to soften faster by using boiling water.
In addition to that, you can also soften walnuts by adding them to ice creams. Here are the five different ways to soften walnuts.
Eating soaked walnuts
We have established that if you want better-tasting walnuts that are easier to digest, you should soak them before consuming them. Failure to soak them could lead to unpleasant taste, hard texture, and indigestion.
So, we recommend you to always soak your walnuts before using them.
Once you are done soaking them, you can dry it and incorporate it into your morning routine in your smoothie bowl, salads or even as toppings for your pancakes.
Walnuts are low in carbs and high in protein and fiber, which is a great way to start your day. It will fill your empty stomach and increase the feeling of fullness and leave you feeling more energized throughout the day.
Another great way to eat them is by keeping a handful ready as your go-to snack.
Ideally, you should be drying your soaked nuts if you are planning to use them for longer than 3 days.
You can do this by using a dehydrator if you want to keep them raw or using the oven if you do not mind cooking them.
If you do not dry them, you can only keep the soaked walnuts for 2 to 3 days and consume them immediately, because they tend to get moldy if you’re not careful.