Nuts: The number one benefit of soaking nuts is to release the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid that Mother Nature put into them to stop premature sprouting (and also prevents you from digesting them very well). Soaking is equivalent to rain fall in nature, it gives the nuts and seeds what they need to begin the sprouting process which releases the good enzymes and nutrients that our body so loves. By soaking nuts, you will help your body have a greater absorption of the food's nutrients and help considerably with digestion.
Another reason to soak nuts is they seem to have a much more appealing taste after, especially walnuts and almonds. Soaking helps to remove dust, residue and tannins from the skins and they also end up with a smoother looking skin and a more pleasing flavor.
Beans: The most convenient reason to soak beans is to allow for shorter cook times while still preserving the most nutrients. It also allows beans to slowly absorb the liquid they need to cook evenly and completely so they don’t split open, lose their skins or cook only the outer surface while the middle remains hard. Another reason (and for some the main reason) is to minimize gas by help to remove the indigestible complex sugars (oligosaccharides) from the outer coating of the bean. If these reasons are not enough for you to take this extra step than think about this one, BEANS ARE DIRTY! Beans go through quite a process from off the plant to in your hands, but none of these steps include washing! Why you might ask. Well because washing means moisture and moisture to a bean could cause molding or sprouting.
Step One: Measure out the nuts, seeds or beans you wish to prepare (be sure they are brought to room temperature prior to soaking).
Step Two: Rinse nuts and seeds thoroughly with water and place in a bowl or jar. Add water to the bowl or jar. You will need two times the amount of water as you have nuts/beans in the bowl.
Step Three: Cover the bowl with a clean cloth. By covering with a towel you allow the nuts/beans to breathe.
Step Four: Allow nuts/beans to soak according to the density of their type. The harder the nut, the longer it will need to soak (see chart below for examples or soaking times). Be sure to drain, rinse and replenish the water every 3 – 4 hours. *You will see the water start to turn color, this is the enzymes, acids and byproducts that you are trying to remove so be sure to discard the used water and replenish with clean.
Step Five: Store. You are best to use your beans right away. Nuts/Seeds: If you are planning to use your nuts within a few days, you can store in a bowl or jar in your refrigerator. To keep them for a longer period of time, you can dry the nuts in a single layer on low (under 115 degrees Fahrenheit ) in your dehydrator until they are dry and crispy (usually takes about 24 hours, depending on dehydrator and conditions), and then store in your refrigerator.