One of the foods I love best as a snack food are nuts. Walnuts, almonds, and pistachios are high on my go-to list as a snack that is easy to carry outside of my house for times I need something.
The problem is that nuts, like so many grains are hard to digest. They contain Phytic acid, which these plants use to prevent the nut (or the grain) from sprouting before ideal conditions are present. Phytic Acid is considered an anti-nutrient, when eaten binds to minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese and chromium. When phytic acid binds to these minerals, they can’t be absorbed. Some animals, rats for example, produce phytase which breaks down phytic acid. Human’s don’t produce much phytase so we need other ways of breaking down that phytic acid.
Studies of traditional societies (ala Weston Price), indicate that most of these societies soaked or sprouted their grains and nuts/seeds) before using them. Soaking nuts in salt water and grains in a mixture of salt and whey (or lemon juice) over night, thoroughly rinsing and then dehydrating them will get rid of the phytic acid. While dehydrating them isn’t absolutely necessary for grains that would be used immediately in a recipe, it’s a good idea for nuts since they would get moldy otherwise.
Soaking these nuts isn’t that actively time-consuming. Most of the work is done through time. The basic recipe is 4 cups of nuts, 2 teaspoons salt and filtered water. Mix up the salt and filtered water and add the nuts. Make sure the nuts are covered by the water. Keep the nuts/water solution in a warm place (on top of your stove with the light on works well in the winter. Do this just before you go to sleep.
In the morning, dump the mixture in a colander, throughly rinse and drain them. If you have a dehydrator, then place the nuts in a single layer on your dehydrator racks. Otherwise, dry them in your oven at no more than 150 degrees. The dehydration/drying phase can take from 12-24 hours. After that use them as you usually would.
I’m doing this with all my nuts now. I’m also going to start to make my own nut butters. Because the chances of a commercial food producer soaking their nuts before actually using them is probably well, just nuts.
- Nuts and Phytic Acid – Marks Daily Apple
- Are Nuts and Seeds Healthy? – Paleo Diet Lifestyle
- Living with Phytic Acid – Weston A. Price
- Phytic Acid in Almonds – LiveStrong