I’ve recently discovered that nuts comes with pesky enzyme inhibitors inside them, that can put a strain on your digestive system and makes it more difficult for your body to absorb all the good nutrients in them. You can overcome this by soaking the nuts overnight before slowly drying them out in an oven, then eating them as you wish.
This is something traditional cultures did and I’m all for learning from our ancestors and the knowledge they gleaned over many many generations.
After enjoying bowlfuls of Greek yoghurt topped with honey and a mixture of crumbled nuts on holiday, I thought I’d give it a go as I really wanted to recreate the mixed nuts ‘crumb’ for my own breakfasts.
Here’s said holiday breakfast…
I took walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, and popped them in a bowl with bottled water and sea salt. Each nut required a different amount of salt, again, not too sure why I can only guess it’s because every nut is different?
The hazelnuts I had to roast briefly in the oven and then rub in a tea towel to remove their skins, but you can buy them already without their skins.
To 2 cups of hazelnuts I added 1/2 tbsp sea salt and enough bottled water to cover.
To 2 cups of walnuts I added 1 tsp sea salt and enough bottled water to cover.
Finally, to 2 cups of almond I added 1/2 tbsp sea salt and enough bottled water to cover.
Then I left them overnight to soak.
The next part of the process is to drain the nuts, spread them out on a baking tray and bake slowly in a low oven for a long time. The recipe said 12-24 hours (!), personally I don’t have that kind of patience, I lasted for 6 hours, and I’m not too sure what an additional 6 hours would have done for them (please correct me if I’m wrong in assuming this!).
The hazelnuts and walnuts were pretty straightforward. Six hours at 100°C. The almonds less so. Back at the start of the year I’d had a cooking lesson from an Ayurveda practitioner and she’d shown me how to make almond milk by soaking the almonds overnight. I swear she’d just popped the almonds out of their skins. It did not work like this for me.
Me sat on the sofa with a colander of drained almonds, a dish of almond skins, and a tray with the skinned almonds…
It took me an hour and a half, and bruises under the nails on both thumbs (from tiny bits of nut getting rammed under my nail as I broke the almond skins) to remove all their skins. All I can say is they better bloody be worth it and those enzymes better have buggered off!
Likewise, I toasted the almonds in the oven for about 6 hours.
I’ve blitzed them all up to a kind of nut crumb – some is finely powdered, other bits are still small nuggets – and put it in a jar, ready to spoon over my yoghurt and honey at breakfast.
I’ve also got some cashew nuts to do the same with, but on reading they need a bit more care to prevent them going slimy (ew!) and funky tasting, something that can happen if you soak them too long and bake them too slowly.
Has anyone else had experience of soaking nuts and slow drying them? Should I really baked them for a minimum of 12 hours and if so I’d love to know why?