Nuts contain sprout inhibitors including phytic acid, a substance which makes them difficult for our bodies to process. Traditionally, people soaked and then dried raw nuts or sprouted them before eating. Studies have shown that this practice makes their nutrients more readily accessible and makes them easier to digest. For this post I’ve relied heavily on one of our favorite books, Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions.
It’s really easy to crispy any raw nut, especially if you start off with them shelled. Each type of nut requires a different soaking time, amount of salt, and drying time. The Kitchen Stewardship blog has a nice break down of the various details, based on the information in Nourishing Traditions.
This is how we crispy our almonds:
- Rinse the shelled nuts under cold water and put them in a bowl of cold filtered water. Use 1 tablespoon of non-iodized sea salt for every 4 cups of nuts.
- Leave them soaking in a warm place for at least 7 hours. Up to 18 hours is even better.
- Drain the nuts, using a colander (if you are avoiding gluten or other grains make sure the colander you use is not shared with products containing them). Rinse them as you drain them. You may also want to slip them out of their skins if you plan to use them for flour. This is easiest to do when they are in a bowl of water.
- Transfer the nuts to a food dehydrator, and dehydrate at 115 degrees for 24 hours. You want the nuts to be completely dry when you remove them. While you can use the oven to dry the nuts, we prefer using the dehydrator. It doesn’t heat up the whole house, and the oven is still available for use when the crispy nut project is going. Also, it’s easier to control temperature with a dehydrator. We traded our original dehydrator in for the Nesco linked here because it’s quieter and more efficient. If you want to also be able to use it for yogurt or larger batches, the Excalibur is even nicer.
- Store your nuts in an air tight container, preferably in the fridge or freezer.
Note: Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pepitas, and pecans can all be stored in an air tight container at room temperature if you are tight on fridge/freezer space. Walnuts should always be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator due to their high levels of triple unsaturated linolenic acid, which promote rancidity. Cashews should not be soaked more than 6 hours, and should be dried in the oven at 200 degrees.
Before starting the GAPS diet, we were not big on nuts. Kelsy hated the taste of walnuts and they gave her a stomach ache. I have herpes and used to get flare ups whenever I had most kinds of nuts. In fact, for about a year my main apprehension about letting go of grains was that the nut-based substitutes most commonly used involved nuts, which I was sure I’d never tolerate. (Little did I know I’d end up hardly missing bready things at all!)
Now crispy nuts and the flours and butters we use them for are a special treat for the whole family. If you don’t have a true (IgE) allergy to nuts or other serious reason to avoid them, you might like them, too!