I have always enjoyed nuts! They are a perfect snack, full of protein and fat among other things. They also give so many entrees, salads and cakes a bit of crunch. However, if nuts aren’t properly prepared they can put stress on the digestive tract.
Grain, legumes and nuts all contain phytic acid on the outer layer. This acid keeps the grain from breaking down in the digestive tract. There is a reason for that! Grains, legumes and nuts are seeds and will use the body of an animal to transport themselves. Certain animals can break down the phytic acid, but we don’t have the right type of enzymes to do this. In our bodies, phytic acid binds to certain minerals, such as zinc, magnesium and calcium, thus taking away from our bodies instead providing nutrition. It can lead to all sorts of digestive disorders, bone loss and mineral deficiencies.
Phytic acid can be neutralized by soaking or sprouting. Soaking the nuts in salt water overnight and then drying them in a low temp oven or dehydrator is all that’s needed. It’s a simple process and takes little work to complete.
We will discuss soaking grains and legumes in future posts.
Please Note: Only raw nuts/seeds can have the phytic acid removed through soaking. Do not try to soak roasted or baked nuts.
Salt was discussed on the last blog about Sauerkraut. Please only use a high quality salt like Himalayan. Sea Salt can be a second best choice, but please be aware of where the salt comes from. There has been a lot of radiation leakage in our seas.
Nourishing Traditions (p. 513 – 516)
All recipes call for 4 cups of nuts
Pecans & Walnuts: 2 teaspoon salt
Almonds, Macadamia, Pine Nuts & Hazelnuts(skinless) : 1 tablespoon salt
Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) : 2 tablespoons salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Cover nuts with salt and water. Soak for at least 7 hours or overnight. Strain. Spread nuts out on a baking sheet (preferably stainless steel, but use the best you have) and put in a warm oven. Place the temp at no higher than 150 degrees. My oven doesn’t go that low, so I use the oven light. Leave the nuts in the oven for 12 -24 hours. Turning them occasionally. Once they are crunchy, put in an airtight container stored in the fridge.
Cashews: 1 tablespoon salt
The process for soaking cashews is a bit different than the other nuts. They can become slimy or have a bad taste if special care isn’t taken in their preparation. Soak cashews in salt water for no longer than 6 hours. I checked mine at 5.5 hours and strained them because I got concerned they would be slimy if left longer. Cashews can be dried in a 200 – 250 degree oven. Dry for 12 – 24 hours. Once completely dry and crisp, store in an airtight container stored in the fridge.
One last thing about the above recipes. If you like salty nuts, be sure to put extra salt on them before they go in the oven to dehydrate.
Once you have crispy nuts, the uses are limitless! You can add them to any recipe for added texture and nutrition.
Nut Butter – Makes 2 cups
2 cups crispy nuts
3/4 cup coconut oil
2Tbsp raw honey
Process nuts in a food processor or blender until ground to a fine powder. Add honey and coconut oil, blend until smooth. It will be liquid, until chilled. Store in airtight container in the fridge.