Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Activated almonds. I've started seeing them everywhere in the natural foods store ... they seem to hang out with the raw, dark chocolate or all-natural granola bars. (A place I like to hang out, too ... ) Sometimes they're flavoured and in bags all on their own.
What makes activated nuts so special? Well, usually nuts are full of enzyme inhibitors that prevent them from sprouting in dry conditions. So if you soak them, you fool the nut into starting to sprout - which is good because the sprouted form has nutrients that are more easily absorbed. (Those enzyme inhibitors can make digestion more difficult for us.)
Which means more of the good stuff in the nut is used by our bodies!
And you don't have to spend a gazillion dollars to buy activated nuts - they're really easy to make yourself. I'll tell you how.
makes ~3c* (or however much you want)
12-24 hrs soaking + up to 24 hrs drying
2 cups raw almonds* (not roasted or salted)
enough water to cover the almonds in a dish
sea salt or garlic salt or dehydrated onion powder or tamari or curry powder (optional)
*You can use other nuts, too! Try brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts, pistachios ...
** As always, use organic ingredients when you can.
1. Soak the almonds in the water for 12 hrs. If you're using other hard nuts (like hazelnuts or brazil nuts) 12 hrs will also work. If you're using soft nuts, like cashews or pistachios - shorten soaking to 4-6 hrs.
NOTE: After soaking, the nuts will look nice and puffy and may even start to show signs of sprouting. (You can see this in the picture above.)
2. Rinse the nuts under running water, and if you want to add flavour - now is the time to do it. Just shake a couple of tsp of whichever flavour you want over the wet (rinsed) almonds, and stir to combine well.
NOTE: If you want, you can use and eat the activated almonds as they are, without roasting them.
3. Now, we want to 'roast' the almonds, without damaging all those nutrients we've activated. So we have to dry out the nuts on low heat - either in a dehydrator or on the lowest temperature your oven will do (mine is 60C, or 140F). This will take anywhere from 6-24 hrs, depending on the temperature you're using. The nuts will be done when they feel (and taste) dry.
You may have to sample several to figure this out ... lucky you!
4. Use your activated-dried almonds as you normally would use roasted almonds. They last really well in an airtight container. And they can be ground into almond meal, too!
I can make pesticide-free activated almonds for about $14 per kilo - quite a bit less than paying for a little packet of them!
Now I wonder if a good soak will activate me, too?
Off to find out.