Technique: Soaked Nuts (aka Crunchy Nuts)
Especially for parents who feed their kids a lot of peanut butter (which should be made from soaked nuts) or dieters who are frequently snacking on nuts for a high-protein snack. Raw nuts, not properly treated, can actually be quite harmful. Here’s the basic philosophy: Our good friend, the “nut” requires soaking for 12 hours in sea-salt/water, rinsing and then low-temperature drying, in order for us to properly digest them. And why must we take this extra step? Raw nuts contain “enzyme inhibitors.” Our body produces enzymes to help us break down our food. Enzyme inhibitors are molecules that bind to these enzymes, rendering them useless. By clogging the delicate balance of digestion, nuts can give us a belly ache. Or, in my case, an itchy head. Yup. I began soaking my nuts and dehydrating them regularly because I noticed that when I ate raw nuts, my head itched. When I ate soaked & dehydrated nuts, it didn’t. Not being a scientist myself, I use my annoying head itchiness as a personal barometer! Not only does this process turn nuts into a truly healthy snack, but the finished product is so much more delicious. Raw nuts actually taste bitter to me now.
nuts, as much or as little as you’d like
sea salt, approx 1 tbsp per 4 cups of nuts
filtered water, to generously cover nuts
Before bed – In a large glass bowl, combine nuts, sea salt and water. Stir. Cover and set in a warm place overnight, or for 12 hours. I use the lid of a pot to cover my bowl. I find a tea towel inches it’s way into the bowl, gets wet and leaks on the table!
In the AM (Oven Directions) – Preheat the oven to 150˚. Remove the lid to the nuts (no need to wash the lid!), rinse nuts well in a colander and spread onto a regular sheet pan in a single layer. Place in the oven for 12-24 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove. Cool completely before storage.
In the AM (Dehydrator Directions) – Remove the lid to the nuts (no need to wash the lid!), rinse nuts well in a colander and spread in a single layer onto a dehydrator tray lined with the mesh insert. Place into the dehydrator. Set the temperature to 150˚ for 12-24 hours. Remove. Cool completely before storage.
To Store – Store nuts in an airtight container. I store my nuts in the freezer to preserve their delicate oils and retain freshness.