SOAKED AND ACTIVATED NUTS. WHY??
Years ago was the first time I'd heard the term "activated nuts" and something about how they were better for your digestion. It was one of those things that I put away for a day and time that I was ready to incorporate another, new, healthy routine into my life. When I was ready, incorporated the process of activating nuts into my own routine. Not all the time but sometimes. Now I'll share it with you.
The amount of nuts you'd like to activate is up to you. I like to do quite a bit so that I have enough to store and so that I don't have to do it often.
You might have learned that raw nuts are better for you than roasted. I think the taste of a raw nut tastes very healthy, too healthy...healthy/bland not healthy/delicious. I've even heard friends describe having "nut belly" after eating raw nuts. It's not that raw nuts can't be delicious, they just have to try harder. The process I'll describe makes them DELICIOUS yet, still raw and healthy.
In the state you buy raw nuts, they are hard to digest and they taste plain.
HERE'S WHY: Nuts and seeds are dormant until they have water to grow. For example, you may have acorns in your yard, after a heavy rain some of them will sprout.
The rain soaks off the ENZYME INHIBITOR that protects them from insects and keeps them dormant. Now they can grow. The enzyme inhibitor is also what makes a nut hard to digest.
It doesn't rain in your kitchen so you need to soak your nuts.
Basically the harder the nut, the longer you soak it. Here is a good chart on how long to soak each nut type.
Put your nuts in a large bowl and cover with the best water you have available. I use water from my Berkey water filter.
Cover the nuts with quite a bit of water so that there is extra water. If "quite a bit" is too subjective...leave about two inches of water at the top.
I like to do several bowls at a time; a different type of nut in each bowl. To each bowl add as much as you'd like of the best quality salt you can afford (you don't have to add any.) I add a tablespoon per bowl.
Leave cashews, walnuts and other soft nuts for a couple of hours. Leave almonds and Brazil nuts overnight. In the morning, you'll see that the nuts have soaked up most of the water and the couple of inches of water are now inside the nut.
The walnuts and the cashews will plump up the most.
The amount of water the brazil nuts soaks up is not as noticeable.
The almonds will have started to sprout. Here's a good picture of the almond starting to sprout. I've heard it described as a "nipple" but that makes the nine-year-old-in-me cringe.
It's time to rinse the nuts in a strainer. You want everything that's been soaked off, to be rinsed off. That's as technical as I can get. Are the enzyme inhibitors now going down your drain? I don't know.
I use tap water for this step. It would be best to rinse them with spring water or filtered water but I just don't have enough to rinse them really well.
There are recipes that call for soaked nuts, in that case you can stop here and follow your recipe for soaked nuts.
At this point, to your taste, sprinkle with seasonings. I stick with salt because it pleases everyone in the family. But at this point in the "recipe", the sky's the limit. Cayenne would be delicious, salt and pepper, Italian seasonings, coconut amino acids, etc. Sprinkle on your seasoning and toss (with hands or spoon, your choice).
I've read several recipes that call for you to "soak almonds then remove skin." Really, I thought, that's not happening for me. This process seemed entirely too tedious. I'd, almost, rather iron.
I stand corrected. Look how easy it is to remove the skin.
After they are tossed and seasoned, spread them on dehydrator sheets. Don't use the silicone sheets, the dehydrating will take longer because air won't get to them as thoroughly. Also, just spread them out in a single layer, it doesn't matter how close together they are; they'll decrease in size and won't be touching when they're finished. At this point you can also add a little more salt or seasoning if it suits you.
If you don't have a dehydrator, set your oven on it's lowest setting. Leave them for a couple of hours then shut it off for a couple of hours. This process will dry them out versus cooking them per se. Repeat this process until they are dry and crunchy.
OR: You can use the lowest setting on your oven, prop it open, check it every couple of hours till you get the result you want.
When they are finished, they don't look much different but the taste is delicious. My family likes them warm off the dehydrator tray. But keep leftovers in the freezer or refrigerator so they don't become rancid.
(I had to add something here...I couldn't leave you with the word...rancid.)