These are all methods employed to increase the availability of nutrients in nuts and seeds while neutralizing their anti-nutrient properties.
In nature, seeds and nuts remain dormant until they are in a suitable environment to begin sprouting and growing. Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats. However, nuts and seeds also contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which help to preserve them and protect them from sprouting prematurely. Unfortunately, these chemicals can make nuts and seeds more difficult to digest for some and can decrease the bio-availability of the nutrients they contain. For those who’ve experienced digestive discomforts with nuts, don’t give up! There may still be hope yet!
Soaking nuts, seeds, and grains is pretty common practice in Raw cuisine as it triggers the germination process. This is of benefit as it neutralizes and/or removes the nuts enzyme inhibitors; softens the nut and weakens the gluten, allowing for easier digestion, easier access to nutrients, and increased versatility for use in various recipes; and reduces phytic acid (an anti-nutrient).
Soak times for various nuts will differ. All nuts should be rinsed well after soaking to ensure the removal of the enzyme inhibitors.
Sprouting Chart for Nuts, Seeds & Grains