Activated almonds have become a bit of a “thing” over the last little while. My 88 year old Mum’s having none of it! She tells me it’s a load of hippie rubbish. But I figure if the Ancient civilisations built a tradition around the soaking and drying of nuts (and many other seeds) there may be something in it?
Nuts are delicious little bundles of goodness just as they are. High in protein and essential fats, fibre, antioxidants and minerals, we could all do with more a few more nuts in our life. I reckon the same applies to friends too but that’s a discussion for another time.
So why bother with this activation business? Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors that stop them from sprouting after the first sprinkle of rain at the risk of not receiving enough rain to grow. These same enzyme inhibitors plus another bit of chemistry in the nut called phytic acid make digesting the nut harder for us. This may mean that we miss out on some of the goodies. Soaking the nut tricks it into starting to sprout which breaks down those unhelpful bits and makes the nutrients we do want easier for us to absorb.
Activated almonds are expensive little numbers and it’s super easy to DIY. We’ve been soaking nuts for a while now at Girragirra, especially almonds and then drying them out again in the solar dehydrator, or the wood fired oven as it cools, or on the tin roof on a hot day! Of course you can dry them out in a conventional oven too but hey, why not use the sun’s energy. It’s clean and free!
DIY activated almonds:
- Place your raw almonds (not roasted or salted) in a nice big bowl and add enough water to cover them well because they will plump up.
- For every cup of nuts add 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Leave them to soak overnight or for around 12 – 14 hours.
- Rinse under running water. Note: you can eat them as is, without roasting them but they wont keep for longer than a day or so.
- If you want to add some flavours nows the time to do it – try salt or tamari or any of your fave spices really.
- Roast over a low heat. High heat will do a bit of damage to those nutrients we’re trying to get a hold of. If you don’t have a dehydrator or a handy roof on a hot day, use your oven as low as it goes. You want the nuts to feel and taste dry, otherwise they will go mouldy. This can take anywhere between 6 – 24 hours depending on the temperature.
- As long as they are completely dry inside and out, you can store your nuts in an airtight container on the shelf.
How to use your activated almonds:
They make a tasty little snack any time. I find mid afternoon is when my good intentions to eat well go off track and a (small) handful of almonds can stop the fridge raid –
most some of the time. They would be great in a lunch box or on a nibbles platter too.
We also use them in the house made Girragirra muesli we supply to our guests as well is in or on salads, house made sourdough and cakes.
How do you use them? Feel free to share your fave recipe in the comments!