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Posts Tagged ‘Soaked Nuts’

Sun butter and jelly sandwich

Chunky Nut Butter and Sun Butter

Makes 1 ½ cups

Rich, sweet, and satisfying –  the harmony of roasted nuts, fragrant honey, and smooth subtle coconut oil. If your household must accommodate allergies to tree nuts make Sun Butter by using sunflower seeds in this recipe.

2 cups roasted Crispy Nuts or Sunflower Seeds (or  a combination of nuts and/or seeds)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, at room temperature (about 70 degrees F)

2 tablespoon raw, unfiltered honey

1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, coarsely ground (optional)

Assemble the food processor and fit it with the metal blade. Add the nuts and/or seeds. Process until they become well chopped and begin to stick together, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the coconut oil, honey, and optional salt. Process until the mixture becomes well combined and spreadable, about one minute.

Store most nut butters tightly covered, at room temperature, for up to one month. Butters made with walnuts or sunflower seeds (sun butter) should be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a month. To soften, remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving. Remember to stir before using to incorporate any separated oil.

Roasted sunflower seeds are ready to make sun butter

Sunflower seeds are well chopped and stick together

Finished sun butter

Sun butter and crowberry jelly on gluten-free french bread

This was shared on Real Food Wednesday and the Grain-Free Real Food Link Carnival.

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Soaked, peeled, and dehydrated almonds

Seeds and nuts are valued for their complex, earthy tastes and their nutritional density. Vitamin E, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, amino acids, and carbohydrates complement one-another in these sweet, sometimes-salty super-foods[1]. However, seeds and nuts can also be heavy and difficult to digest.  Fortunately, they can easily be prepared to enhance their digestibility. Their dense nutrients can become more absorbable.

All seeds and nuts contains enzyme inhibitors that bind with enzymes and hinder digestion.  When seeds and nuts are soaked overnight in plain or salted water these anti-nutrients can be minimized; and the nutrition of the nut is easier to absorb into the body. Leaving the soaking water unsalted initiates the sprouting process. As sprouting begins the fats and proteins take on a more digestible form. When sea salt is included in soaking water it activates enzymes and neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors.  After soaking, nuts and seeds are ready to be used as an ingredient in another dish, dehydrated (at slightly less than 150 degrees F), or roasted (at 200-250 degrees F).

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine sprouted and dehydrated, raw nuts and seeds are more cooling (or yin), while lightly salted and roasted nuts are more warming (or yang).[2] Even in the preparation of seemingly everyday foods we can observe seasonality and personal needs for cooling or warmth.

Today I am sharing recipes for my favorite seeds and nuts. The basic technique for preparing all of the seeds and nuts is similar, but each requires slightly unique approach. Detailed recipes follow this post.

This was shared on Real Food Wednesday.


[1] Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods (Berkley: North Atlantic, 2002),  531.

[2] Pitchford, 531.


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Soaking sunflower seeds and almonds

Flax Seeds

Makes about 3 tablespoons

Flax seeds are perhaps the most well-known plant source of the anti-inflammatory, health-promoting, and essential, omega-3 fatty acids. When prepared as called for in this recipe they are sweet, nutty, and easily chewable. I like to serve them over salads.

3 tablespoons flax seeds

1 cup clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt

Soak: 7-24 hours

Dehydrate: 12-24 hours

See further directions below

Pumpkin Seeds

Makes about 2 cups

Pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of B-vitamins, zinc, and fatty acids[1]. They are especially nourishing to the male reproductive system[2]. Always roast pumpkin seeds to remove any harmful bacteria on the surface of the seeds[3].

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds (hulls removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 7-24 hours

Roast: 4-6 hours

See further directions below

Sesame Seeds

Makes about 3 tablespoons

Distinctly flavored and indispensable in world cuisine, sesame seeds are also rich in the anti-nutrient oxalic acid. This naturally occurring acid binds with calcium and other minerals (and prevents their absorption into the gut). Oxalic acid can contribute to the build-up of calcium-oxalate kidney stones[4]. Avoid them if you are prone to this problem. Otherwise, they should always be soaked, roasted, and preferably ground before eating.

3 tablespoons raw sesame seeds

1 cup clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

Soak: 7-24 hours

Roast: 2-4 hours (250 degrees F)

See further directions below

Sunflower Seeds

Makes about 2 cups

Among the most inexpensive of nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds are truly a nutritional bargain. They’re rich in protein, trace minerals, and the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acid. I like to include them in trail mix with another more expensive nut like almonds.

2 cups raw sunflower seeds (hulls removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 7-24 hours

Dehydrate: 12-24 hours

or

Roast: 4-6 hours

See further directions below

Soaked almonds, ready to dehydrated

Almonds

Makes about 2 cups

Almonds are unique among nuts. Perhaps it’s because they aren’t truly nuts, but the edible pit of a soft fruit (called a drupe) [5]. They’re like the stone of a peach or the pit of an olive, but contain an edible seed.  Almonds are the only ‘nut’ to alkalize – rather than acidify – the blood[6]. Their outer skins contain bitter medicinal compounds that can aid lung conditions. However, they should be removed for everyday eating,  as they can irritate the lining of the gut.[7]

After almonds are soaked in water overnight their skins are easy to remove. Use clean hands to rub the skins from the nuts. The results are worth the extra effort! The nuts are easy to digest, and have a sweet, full-bodied almond flavor.

2 cups raw almonds

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 12-24 hours

Peel

Dehydrate: 36-48 hours

Roast: 12-24 hours

See further directions below

Cashews

Makes about 2 cups

Raw cashews have been heated to 350 degrees F during processing to neutralize cardol, a toxic oil found between their inner and outer shells[8]. While this is necessary to make the nuts safe to eat, it also renders cashews un-sproutable. Nevertheless, purchase whole cashews, rather than pieces. They retain their freshness and the whole pieces are much easier to uniformly dehydrate or roast. Sea salt must be added to the soaking water. Cashews won’t sprout, so this only means of enhancing their digestibility.

2 cups whole, raw cashews

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt

Soak: 5-6 hours, no longer

Dehydrate: 36-48 hours or

Roast: 12-24 hours

See further directions below

Hazelnuts

Makes about 2 cups

Growing up, my family referred to the hazelnuts from our backyard tree as filberts. Both names are correct. The filbert is the type of hazelnut grown locally in the Pacific Northwest. They are over 40 % monounsaturated oleic acid[9], a stable fat that protects the nuts from rancidity. After roasting, the outer peelings can be removed by gently tossing the nuts in a towel.

2 cups raw hazelnuts (shells removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 12-24 hours

Dehydrate: 36-48 hours

or

Roast: 12-24 hours

See further directions below

Pecans

Makes about 2 cups

Like hazelnuts, pecans are high in shelf-stable monounsaturated oleic acid. They are amazingly high in fat (over 70%) and are a good source of manganese[10].

2 cups whole, raw pecans (shells removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 12-24 hours

Dehydrate: 24-36 hours

or

Roast: 6-12 hours

See further directions below

Walnuts

Makes about 2 cups

According to the Doctrine of Signatures (which states that the healing traits of an herb are marked by its appearance) walnuts – with their wrinkled, brain-like double-hemispheres – can improve mental function[11]. In fact, walnuts are high in the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)[12], which nourishes brain development and function[13].  This type of fatty acid is susceptible to rancidity, so walnuts should be stored in the refrigerator. Roast walnuts to kill any parasites in the nuts.

2 cups whole, raw walnuts (shells removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Roast: 4-6 hours

See further directions below

Cutting parchment paper liners for the dehydrator trays

Further Directions for Crispy Seeds and Nuts:

In a wide-mouth, mason jar or medium-sized non-reactive bowl combine the seeds or nuts, water, and unrefined salt (if desired or called for). Stir to dissolve the salt, about 1 minute. Cover loosely. Store at room temperature for the amount of time indicated above.

Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the soaking water from the seeds.  Line a dehydrator tray or rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.  Spread the seeds evenly over the tray or pan. To keep raw, dehydrate at 130-145 degrees F. To roast, bake at 250 degrees F. stir the seeds or nuts 2-3 times while dehydrating or roasting. Dehydrate or roast until the seeds or nuts crunch between the teeth (the approximate time is indicated in the recipes above).

Store them tightly covered at room temperature for up to one month (flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts should be stored in the refrigerator).

This was shared on Real Food Wednesday.


[1] James F. Balch and Phyllis A. Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing (Garden City Park: Avery, 1997), 75.

[2] Balch and Balch, 452.

[3] Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods (Berkley: North Atlantic, 2002), 534.

[4] Balch and Balch, 361.

[5] “Drupe,” accessed May 29, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drupe.

[6] Pitchford, 532.

[7] Pitchford, 532.

[8] Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions (Washington: New Trends, 2001), 515.

[9] “Nuts, hazelnuts or filberts,” accessed 29 May, 2011, http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3116/2.

[10] Fallon, 514.

[11] Penelope Ody, The Complete Medicinal Herbal (New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1993), 19.

[12] Fallon, 513.

[13] Balch and Balch, 51.

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