So….did you know there's a wrong way to eat nuts?
I didn't either.
I mean, I knew I was supposed to eat them raw, because roasting nuts changes chemical compounds and does all kinds of odd scientificky things to them. More specifically, according to information blatantly ripped from different websites**, heating nuts to a temperature required for roasting alters the polyunsaturated fats, and renders the nuts more likely to oxidate, and at a faster rate. Oxidation, fyi, equals rancid nuts. And when oils go rancid, they develop carcinogenic properties and are pro-inflammatory..and may even cause the formation of chemicals that promote aging. Roasting can diminish some of the nutrient factors as well. Nuts may lose up to 15 percent of their healthy oils when they're roasted. Add in that most roasted nuts purchased commercially are cooked in hydrogenated oils, it was enough for me to avoid them.
**The second hyperlink to outside information is from Dr. Mehmet Oz. I use his information only because it was concisely worded, and summed up what I'd seen on other websites. I don't generally view him as a credible source- any doctor who speaks from both sides of his mouth about nearly every issue is, in my opinion, highly circumspect. While Dr. Oz has brought attention to medical issues and imparts good information, I find that in most cases, articles and information linked to his name contradict other articles and information. On this particular issue, involving the health benefits and pitfalls of roasted nuts, I found information under his name stating that roasted nuts are preferred and gave tips on how to roast your own. On a different page researched the same day, I found information under his name stating that roaw nuts were always preferred over roasted ones. At least one webpage quoted him as being impartial to either side. Frankly, I find that A.Noy.Ying.
Okay. Rant over, I'm getting off my bitchbox now.
Since raw nuts are more readily available now, and a lot of recipes call for them, and it just seems like a better idea to avoid the nasty potentials, I opt for raw nuts over roasted.
With the ups and downs of trying to get my health straightened out, I really have to focus on putting as much good in my body as I possibly can, because when the bad days hit, I need to have enough nourishment to get me through them. Let me tell you, being knocked down to struggling to get a couple tablespoons of food in and having all kinds of nasty side effects even from that is totally not cool.
Hear that, body? Not.Cool. #HerniasSuck.
My learning and studying and trying to do better as held me to some interesting places. Lately, I've been doing a lot of reading on the the raw food movement. While some of it makes me shake my head (no way can I go through the effort of making a raw pizza crust that requires 20 hours in the food dehydrator), some of the ideas behind consuming only raw foods seem to be pretty sound. And while immersing myself in the dizzying world of raw food options, I stumbled on the concept that even though I was eating/using raw nuts, I was still doing it wrong.
Wrong? How do you eat nuts wrong?
Here, have some more blatantly plagiarized information that I can't be bothered to rewrite and pretend it's my own:
"Nuts have phytic acid. Phytic acid is also found in grains and legumes. Just as with grains and legumes, soaking nuts is essential for proper digestions. When eating nuts that haven’t been soaked, the phytic acid binds to minerals in the gastrointestinal tract and can not be absorbed in the intestine and to many bound minerals can lead to mineral deficiencies. By soaking, you are breaking down the phytic acid so it can be absorbed properly.
Nuts also have high amounts of enzymes inhibitors. This is another reason why un soaked nuts are hard to digest. Soaking nuts neutralizes the enzymes allowing for proper digestion."
Some of the principle reasons why soaking is beneficial to our health:
- it removes anti-nutrients like phytates, tannins and goitrogens
- it helps to neutralise enzyme inhibitors
- it increases the potency of nutrients such as Vitamin B
- it makes proteins more readily available
- it eradicate toxins contained in the colon and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria like lactobacilli which we know is vital for intestinal and colon health
- it promotes the growth of healthy enzymes vital for healthy digestion
Soaking raw nuts and seeds increases the nutritional content of Vitamins such as Vitamin A, C and, in particular B Vitamins. Soaking nuts and seeds in warm salted water activates the beneficial enzymes that then neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors making them more digestible and easily utilised. Soaking grains in an acidic warm water solution also encourages the production of these friendly enzymes, and beneficial bacteria, which, in turn, neutralizes the phytic acid in the grains that put such a strain on the digestive system.
Oookay. So, I need to soak them. But…then what do I do with soggy nuts?
Well, Elizabeth, you dry them.
Or more accurately, dehydrate them.
Dehydrating the soaked nuts dries them out for longer storage- and in my opinion, better taste.
I was a little doubtful, but figured I would give it a whirl. It couldn't hurt, right?
I soaked a handful each of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts in a little salt water for about 12 hours, then drained them and dried them on an old clean dish towel. It was a good thing I used an old one with a print on it…after I spread them on my pan, I discovered they had stained the towel!
I put the pan in the oven (set at 150 degrees) at 9pm, and checked on it at 9am. The nuts were dry, crispy, and soooo good. They had this really great snappy texture that I totally loved (and kept sampling…all morning…). I let them cool, then put them into a jar for the pantry.
But I keep going back and tasting them.
Even the kids really liked them..especially when I melted a little butter and added some creole seasoning, then tossed a handful of nuts around in the mix. Those disappeared fast!
It seems the key to dehydrating is making sure that the oven/dehydrator doesn't get set above 150 degrees (luckily, my oven can be set that low). I have no doubt I'll be doing this often now. If you like any sort of nut to cook with or to snack on, you'll love these!
How To Soak and Dehydrate Deez Nuts:
4 cups raw nuts of your choice
1 tablespoon sea salt
water (enough to cover nuts)
Soak overnight or a minimum of 7 hours
Dehydrate for 12-24 hours or until crisp (do not use temperature above 150°F). Store cool and dry nuts in a closed container in the refrigerator or in your pantry.