How to Soak & Dry Cashews (& why you want to)

My three-year-old's favorite snack is "rainsins and cashews." Except now he almost always says "raisins" instead of "rainsins." He's growing up too fast! The wrong way was so cute. :)

Since he eats this snack multiple times a day, I want it to be as healthy as possible. I buy organic raisins, because conventional grapes are loaded with pesticides. 

But the cashews were a little trickier. I was buying the roasted & salted ones from the grocery store, but I hate that they contain vegetable oil, which is almost always genetically modified, and even if it's not, is heated to scary-high temps which cause it to go rancid, and then it is bleached and deodorized to mask the fact that it's toxic. I try to have as little vegetable oil as possible come into my home. (But we do still buy tortilla chips...)

Also, nuts are ideally soaked and dehydrated to make their nutrients accessible. Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors that make digestion difficult, but soaking in salt water neutralizes them.

I've soaked and dried nuts plenty of times. It's really easy! You just soak them overnight with some salt and filtered water, drain, and dry in the oven at a low temp or in a dehydrator.

But I was afraid to try it with cashews. Why? Because in Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon Morell writes,
Some care must be taken in preparing cashews. They will become slimy and develop a disagreeable taste if allowed to soak too long or dry out too slowly...." (page 515)

Well I'm happy to report that I got over my fear and gave it a go. And the result is, dare I say, delicious! If you love cashews, I recommend giving it a try.

You need to start with high-quality, "raw" cashews. Now, Sally tells us that "raw" cashews are often not raw, but just do your best. I found "raw" cashews at my local grocery store, but you can also look at a health food store or order them online.

How to Soak and Dry Cashews 

4 cups raw cashews
1 T. unrefined sea salt
filtered water to cover

Combine nuts and salt in a medium glass bowl. Pour water over to cover the nuts. Cover and allow to soak for six hours and no longer.
Drain in a colander, spread on cookie sheets, and dry in the oven at 200 degrees. Taste after 12 hours. If they taste dry and crunchy, they are done. If not, cook longer.

No sliminess, no odd taste. Just delicious, lightly salted, crispy cashews. Enjoy!

This is part of: Real Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Healthy2Day Wednesday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Keep it Real Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Make Your Own Monday 


  1. Great tutorial! Thank you for sharing with us at Healthy 2Days Wednesdays! have a great week.

  2. I've been afraid to do nuts because of burning them in the oven. But we love cashews too. I knew the ones from the store weren't great for you, but I didn't know they did all that other stuff to them!

    1. I'm not sure what kind of oven you have, but we have a bottom of the line gas oven and the temp is very inaccurate. We got a cheap oven thermometer so now I know exactly what temp it's at. It's very useful in this case. At 200 you won't burn them, even if you forget about them for awhile. :)

  3. I'm all for soaking nuts but... Leaving the oven on for 12 hours?! even if at low, that's a lot of energy!

    1. Annie, you can use a dehydrator if you wish, at the highest temp it will allow. Or use that time with the oven on to dry more nuts or make granola or help your bread rise. You can make the most of it. :)

  4. Awesome! I have yet to try cashews for the same reason. You just gave me hope that it can be wonderful!

    Thanks for linking up to Thank Your Body Thursday! Hope you'll come back this next Thursday! www.thankyourbody.com

  5. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  6. This sounds great - I have done pecans and almonds but not cashews - I will definitely give them a try!
    I would love to have you share this on Thursday at Tasty Traditions: http://myculturedpalate.com/

  7. To think I was eating a bunch without soaking. No wonder I felt a little 'off' afterwards.

  8. I oversoaked them. Was in a hurry and just squeezed lemon into the water. Left them for 2 days. They taste ok, not too bitter, maybe lemon taste covering it up, but not the normal really nutty taste of cashews. Then again, this is the 1st time I'm trying raw.

  9. To think I was eating a bunch without soaking. No wonder I felt a little 'off' afterwards.