I recently spent two weeks in Australia, where organic products like great juices, coconuts, nut oils, grains and — you guessed it, activated nuts — seem to be the norm. Activated nuts, also known as sprouted nuts, are raw nuts that are soaked in water for at least 18 hours. Soaking the raw nuts awakens the dormant seed and often leads to sprouting. From the activation stage, you can dehydrate your nuts to return the texture to crunchy for snacking, blend the nuts to create delicious dairy alternatives, or grind the nuts with additional fats, natural sweeteners, herbs, or spices for granola toppings.
Because I'm at the epicenter of emerging trends (and always eager to be the healthiest version of myself outside of my massive chocolate consumption), I've been curious about the recent popularity of products claiming nut activation. My main question was, “Why do I need to activate my nuts only to dehydrate them again to achieve the same crunchy texture they had in the first place?”
Working for Max Brenner, I often overindulge in the sweet stuff, so I decided to take a cue from my body and go clean for two weeks. For me, this meant no dairy, processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol, wheat, grains, legumes, or meat. I know it sounds a bit insane, but on the other hand a lot of the things I love — fruits, vegetables, raw fish, and nuts — took center stage for my clean-living experiment. Upping my nut intake, I opted primarily for raw cashews and raw almonds. Almost immediately, I noticed that the nuts were making me feel overly full and sleepy and were even disrupting my digestion.
This uncomfortable state is what ignited my interest in activated nuts, and from there I decided to take action. I learned that when you activate nuts the enzyme inhibitor and phytic acid, that which normally disrupts digestion, breaks down, thus enabling your body to better process the nutrients. Pretty cool, right?
The process of activation is simple. Choose your favorite raw seeds and nuts and soak them in clean water for 18 hours. Because the various seeds and nuts requires different drying times, be sure to separate the varieties after soaking. After the 18-hour soak, if you’ve got almonds in the mix, drain them and remove their skins. Place the almonds on a clean tray and put it in the oven on the lowest setting for five hours or until the nut is crunchy throughout. Be sure to dry your nuts completely as to avoid any potential for mold.
Alternatively, you can make a tasty activated almond or nut milk using the drained and rinsed soaked nuts. Be sure to drain and rinse your nuts before blending as you do not want to use the bitter-tasting soaking water to make your milk. A favorite recipe of mine is to blend the nuts with a flavored water (such as coffee, tea, or spice-infused water) in my Vitamix until it's smooth and creamy. Strain and enjoy your flavored nut milk within five days as it will not be pasteurized like the nut milks found at the store.
Stay tuned for more infused activated nut ideas and recipes. Happy sprouting!