Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wholesome foods pt 4: Activated Nuts

On Friday night I told my husband I was going to activate some nuts over the weekend. It was naive of me not to expect the testosterone fueled response that I got in return. Much to his disappointment, his nuts stayed unactivated, while I turned my attention to almonds, pepitas, pecans and pinenuts. 

Activating nuts is a long process (considerably longer than the activity my husband had in mind that's for sure.). First, you have to soak the nuts over night in a bowl of salted water. After they've had a night floating in their saltwater bath, the nuts are then patted dry with paper towel. Then it's into the oven, on the lowest temperature possible, for a very long time. The recipes I have found for activated nuts differ in their suggested oven time anywhere from 5 hours to 24 hours. From what I can decipher it depends on the nuts you are using. It's seems best to go by feel and by taste. (When they're done they should look, feel and taste dry).

One for almond milk, one for activated nuts

So why activate nuts? Nuts are full of enzyme inhibitors that prevent them from sprouting in dry conditions. And those enzyme inhibitors can make nuts difficult to digest (sometimes resulting in constipation, stomach cramps and bloating). Soaking nuts in salted water breaks down the enzyme inhibitors, tricking them into sprouting mode and therefore making it much easier for the body to absorb the nuts' nutrients (Still, I can't help the voices in my head telling me I've just eaten a sprouted almond... am I going to grow into a almond tree?). 

The dehydration process (The 5+++ hours in the oven) ferments the nuts and breaks down their complex carbohydrates - again aiding digestion. Dehydration differs from roasting which spoils many of the nutrients that nuts have to offer.

Almonds are a popular choice when considering activated nuts. Almonds are great for cardiovascular health, contain no cholesterol (and even have the super power of being able to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol), they support the brain and nervous system, boost the immune system and have anti-inflammatory benefits. Talk about wholesome!

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