Nuts are delicious, healthy, and a great addition to a wide variety of recipes. Not only do they taste great, they are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats! We like to get a variety of nuts in our diet because each type varies in the kinds and amounts of fats they contain, and also obviously vary in taste. Some of our favorites are walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans, but we basically like all different kinds. We’ll be posting about nuts in several recipes in the future, but we wanted to discuss preparing them first (and there may be a recipe as well..).
While nuts do contain healthy fats, these fats can be ruined by heating them at high temperatures (kind of like ‘smoke points’ with oils), and are not as easily absorbed when the nuts aren’t soaked. From what we’ve read, nuts contain ‘enzyme inhibitors’ that protect the nut. This means that our body isn’t able to break down that inhibitor and is therefore not going to get the true nutritional value that the nuts can provide. It also is harder to digest them this way. After we started soaking our nuts we felt better after eating them. Previously, they gave us somewhat of a stomachache, which disappeared after we soaked them.
So; how do you soak them? Basically the nuts need to be covered with saltwater for several hours, which we do before going to bed. It takes all of five minutes to do this so really it isn’t difficult. Depending on the type of nut, the amount of salt and soaking times vary, but overall they’re not tremendously different. For the water it’s a 1:2 ratio (nuts:water) and the salt depends on the amount of nuts you use. One site that we’ve found helpful for this is here.
After soaking them, rinse them well and feel free to eat away! You can add them to oatmeal, eat them plain, put them in some yogurt, whatever you desire! However, if you do make a big batch, it’s nice to dehydrate them and then store them in the fridge or freezer so that they last longer (especially walnuts). We like to use mason jars to do so. 🙂 Again, dehydrating them takes about a 12-24 hour process, but the hands-on time really isn’t long at all. You just dehydrate them until they are crunchy again.
Why dehydrate and not cook in the oven? As mentioned earlier, this actually can alter the fats of the nuts (by breaking chemical bonds), making them less ‘heart-healthy’. If your oven is able to bake at a temperature of 170°F or below, however, it is safe to do so. It just depends on how long you want to have your oven on!
In other news, we went shopping a couple of weeks ago and found these:
While they looked (and probably taste) delicious, there is added sugar from both corn syrup and brown sugar, and there is extra oil as well. Corn syrup? Really? While they aren’t what we’d call ‘horrible’ for you, we would much prefer to make our own!
So the moral of the story is………. Soak your nuts! And then try the following ‘recipe’.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mixed Nuts
We used soaked almonds, walnuts and pecans for this recipe but feel free to mix it up with your favorite kind of nut and vary the spice according to your taste. The spices really stuck to the nuts well because they had just gotten rinsed after they were done soaking. No oil necessary!
- 1-2 cups mixed, soaked nuts.
- 1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon sucanat (we ground ours in a coffee grinder so that it was more of a powder, which allowed it to stick well)
Spread the nuts onto a dehydrator sheet and sprinkle with the spices, sugar and salt (to taste). Dehydrate at 105°F for 12-24 hours, or until crunchy. This combination lends a light taste of spice with a sweet and salty finish.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy nuts? Sweet or savory, we really can’t get enough!