View Full Version : Soaking Almonds - why is the water turning black?
08-03-2012, 01:38 AM
So I bought a bag of "all natural" almonds from Walmart, and when I put them in the water to soak the water gets dark and cloudy. In fact, it turns black. Does anyone have any idea as to why? :confused
08-03-2012, 01:49 AM
When I soak almonds the water goes brown. Keep changing the water during the soak period.
08-03-2012, 10:54 AM
Hmmmm.....black soak water would seriously concern me. In addition, please know that "All Natural" does NOT mean uncooked or unprocessed in some way (not sure if you know that) - in US that just means there is nothing "artificial" in the package. It also doesn't mean that that almonds were not treated with something and that is what concerns me. The treatment might be coming off in the water? If you really are pursuing a more raw diet, you may want to steer clear of those almonds. If budget is a concern, I trust Trader Joe's more than Walmart and their prices are approachable for the diet conscience.
08-03-2012, 09:48 PM
I just looked up Trader Joe's and unfortunately it is not an option. Both are on the other sides of the state from where I live. The closest one is an hour and a half drive.
Well, it's more like a dark, dark purple. :/
Yes, I did know that. I researched almonds on here and google and found out about it. That and not all organic foods are really organic. I don't understand. Whatever happened to false advertising being illegal? Isn't it SUPPOSED to be?
08-05-2012, 07:12 AM
The US isn't allowed to sell raw almonds even if the package advertises it. However, we're allowed to order actual raw almonds from other countries. All almonds sold here are at least blanched. But it's over the maximun heat that is considered for raw vegans.
And Walmart doesn't sell anything organic there. And most of their produce if not all are the worst kinds of pesticides available on the market that is used to grow food.
I've never heard of water turning black from soaking almonds. I'd return the nuts for a refund.
08-05-2012, 07:18 AM
I am agree with Harmony_me. "All Natural" does NOT mean uncooked or unprocessed in some way . After soaking almonds for the first time I was hooked.It takes some time, though just a few minutes of active work, but the end result is a nut that not only tastes better, but is easier on the digestive system. I now soak most of the almonds that I use because I notice such a big difference in overall digestion – which to me is more important than scientific studies.
We're suppose to soak all nut species first. It releases toxic enzyme inhibitors. Infact most people that are allergic to nuts actualy aren't... well, what they are allergic to is the enzyme inhibitors. If they soaked nuts first they'd be fine to eat it. This doesn't account to all.. just most people.
I don't know of one single cooked nut comany that soaks their nuts first.
08-05-2012, 07:56 AM
All of Trader Joe's nuts are NOT RAW, even if they are marked raw. All that means is that they are not roasted. The laws in the US changed 4-5 years ago. You can get raw, organic or raw nuts out of other countries and some distributors in the US get them and sell them on their websites. You might want to check out raw guru dot com and natural zing dot com for those.
08-05-2012, 01:54 PM
The US isn't allowed to sell raw almonds even if the package advertises it. Actually there is a loophole where U.S. farmers are allowed to sell up to 100 lb per person per day of the unpasteurized.
08-07-2012, 11:42 AM
Hi all :-) I do know that Trader Joe's "raw" almonds are not really raw. I'm sorry to have made it sound like they were :bolt
When I was "100%" raw (quotes because there is NO WAY to know for sure unless you're eating ONLY fruits and veggies locally) - I did order from reputable sources any and all other foods, like nuts. However, it is budget busting! (And I only live about 90 minutes from the Sunfood nutrition warehouse!)
I have had many, many conversations with my local Trader Joe's and had them research their suppliers, packaging methods, sources, processing protocol, etc. I find them to be a company I can "trust" to not have additives or pesticides unless they specify. Because of that, I really like them as a local (at least for me) source of groceries for the raw lifestyle. In addition, I find their prices very reasonable. Unfortunately, they are NOT widespread :-( So I know many of you don't have one within a reasonable distance.
Except for the cashews, several of my Trader Joe's nuts that I soak, including the almonds do sprout - so I know they're at least CLOSE to raw :-)
Whatever source of nuts we use, I think it's really important to know how to interpret the label. The more info we share, they more empowered we are!
Dimond - I didn't know about the loophole.....I'll have to look into that! Thanks :-)
08-07-2012, 12:51 PM
Maybe it was just that batch
If you soak another bag of the same brand and this color change does not happen again, then the bag you had previously bought was absolutely covered in mold spores. This would tend to indicate they were actually raw, did not use preservatives, but were not shipped or packaged properly and likely a good thing you did not eat them. I would tend to think this is the least likely explanation though as I trust Wal-Mart's ability to ship and package products far more than I would expect the almonds to have been wholly untreated/preservative-free.
Maybe they're using a caramel colored stabilizer/preservative
If you are using purified or highly filtered water (removing chlorine and metalic salts) then the color change most likely indicates the use of a Sulfate Caramel coloring agent. This means the nuts are treated with a sulfate caramel to preserve their color and prevent oxidation. This is also the most likely culprit.
Something less likely but potentially more serious
If you are using tap water then this could indicate either the use of a caramel coloring agent or that a normally colorless sulfate/sulfite preservative is being used in the nuts AND your water contains significant ammounts of various dissolved metals. This is most likely not lead specifically as you would likely be suffering from acute heavy metal poisoning were that the metal reacting with the sulfer compounds in sufficient quantity to turn the water visibly dark. More probably it is a combination of zinc, iron, magnesium and chromium; these can react with sulfate compounds commonly used as preservatives. The resultant metal sulfides will often be black or dark brown in solution or suspension (these sulfide compounds are what give sludge its black coloration.) They're not as toxic as lead per se, but they're still bad and if this is a case it would indicate both an unhealthy preservative in the almonds you bought and perhaps the need for a new filter for your water.
If it is due to the presence of both preservatives in the nuts and metals in your drinking water, the most likely culprit would either be that you are using well water and there is a high concentration of those metals in the ground water. If you are not using well water then it would indicate either your houses pipes are eroding into your drinking water (if copper piping is used) or that your city's water pipes are rusting.
In the case where city pipes were to blame then it would be a ferrous (iron) sulfide. This is not particularly toxic itself but is indicative of excess iron in your water. Excess iron in drinking water is linked to pediatric iron toxicity and may present problems for people with heart conditions as well. Even though the risk to healthy adults is likely to be low, you probably want to get your iron a more natural way then this.
In the case of house piping being to blame then the blackish color would be almost entirely due to a suspension of copper monosulfide forming. While the compound causing the coloration itself is not particularly toxic as it is non soluble and would be passed without being absorbed into the blood stream, you aren't drinking the soaking water so any copper in your drinking water is being ingested in a soluble form. Copper ions like that can be quite toxic and since this would indicate a significant amount of corrosion inside your pipes this would be a strong sign that you should probably look at replacing your house pipes.
You can perform a bit of an experiment to test to see if metallic contamination and sulfide preservatives are, in combination, the cause of the dark soaking liquid if you would like. To do this, buy another bag of the same brand and soak half in unfiltered water and half in filtered water to rule out the color change being specific to that bag of almonds you bought. If both turn dark then you know its a color-stabilizer/dye. If neither turn black then you know it was something with that specific bag - probably black mold. If the filtered water does not turn black while the unfiltered water does then you have a problem with your drinking water and should drink only filtered water until it is resolved. This may be as simple to fix as purchasing a filter/replacing your filter with a better one or more expensive and require purchasing a water softener.
Anyways, the most likely cause of this is still the color stabilizing sulfate caramel compounds. I only mention the metal sulfides because if you are using your unfiltered tap water as a soaking liquid then the color change could potential indicate a problem with your drinking water. If that is the case then you will want to do something about it more than just buying a better brand of nut.
08-08-2012, 01:11 PM
GREAT information, Charybdisjim!!!! When I first went raw, I bought nuts (don't remember the labeling as I was a neophyte back then) and soaked them. The water turned black. I WAS using my city's tap water (I live in a high-mineral water area). Your in-depth explanation completely explains what happened! Thanks :-)
PS: I was afraid to use nuts I bought locally for a long time until I found the Trader Joe's ones because of the black water :-) Guess I spent more $$$ than necessary on nuts!
08-09-2012, 12:27 AM
I hadn't ever heard about the loop hole. So how is it advertised then to look out for it?
An idea.... phone the nut company and ask them. At least one tele operator will tell you why. If not call back another time or ask another company and explain... they may tell you. Get your money back. You'll also likely get free coupons from the comany, but I wouldn't trust to re-purchase.
I suppose the nuts weren't dirty looking?
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