Monday, 3 March 2014

Sprouted Almond Butter

I have taken to sprouting our almonds before I make almond butter. I now try to always make our almond butter, as it is really expensive to buy and so easy to make at home. Sprouting the nuts prior to making any kind of nut butter means that the process takes a bit more time, but from a health point of view it is really worth it. 

By sprouting your nuts prior to use, you are mimicking nature. In the wild, rain creates moisture to allow germination and remove natural inhibitors and toxic substances that are naturally occurring defense mechanisms that the plants use until the ideal growing conditions exist. 

Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors that can put a strain on the digestive system if you over-consume, and the outers also contain phytic acid which can prevent the absorption of essential nutrients.
Why soak nuts, grains and seeds? (information courtesy of http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/the-benefits-of-soaking-nuts-and-seeds)
  • 1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.
  • 2. To remove or reduce tannins.
  • 3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
  • 4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
  • 5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
  • 6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
  • 7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
  • 8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
  • 9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
  • 10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.
The easiest way to sprout your nuts or seeds is to soak them overnight. Make sure you use filtered water to ensure that you are not simply replacing one toxin with another!

For making the nut butter, after sprouting I dehydrate the nuts again to remove the moisture, then gently roast and then they are ready for 'butterising' (my new word invented to describe making butter!!!). If you have a dehydrator this is the easiest way to get the nuts dry as you can just throw them in the dehydrator and leave them to do their thing. If you don't have one you can use the oven on the lowest setting. You may find this method takes a little longer, but it will achieve the same results.

A basic dehydrator is no hugely expensive but is a great investment for you kitchen. I use it to make kale chips, turn old bananas or apples into chips, and of course for dehydrating soaked nuts and seeds. I think I even got my one from Flybuys or one of those reward systems - yay for 'free' stuff!!

So, to sum it up, the process I use is as follows:

  • Soak nuts overnight (or for about 8 hours) in fresh filtered water. Use enough water to cover the nuts with about 5-10cm of water above the top of the nuts. They will absorb some water, so you need a little extra on top so the top ones don't end up poking out of the water. 
  • In the morning, drain the water and give the nuts a good rinse under fresh water. I find the easiest way to do this is to pop them in a sieve or colander and run them for a couple of minutes under water, but we have a filtered water tap in the kitchen. If you are using bottled water, pour the water into a large bowl and swish the nuts around in it for a few minutes. You may need to change the water a couple of times. Basically, you are aiming to clean them until the water runs clear. 
  • After rinsing, I place the nuts in a clean dry tea towel and give them a good dry to get any excess water off. 
  • Once dried, place on a lined baking tray and place in a minimal oven (about 80-100C) for around 8-12 hours. If you have a dehydrator, place the nuts in the dehydrator for about 6-8 hours until dry. The best way to test if they're dry is to eat one! 
  • If you are using the nuts to make nut butter, I don't worry as much about them being 100% dried, as you will be roasting them and blending them so it's not as crucial. 

Making the nut butter:

Sprouted Almond Butter


Ingredients:
2 cups sprouted nuts
1 tsp sea salt

Directions:
1. In a high powered blender or food processor, blend the almonds and salt until smooth and creamy. You should stop the blending a couple of times during the process to scrape the sides of the blender and ensure an even smoothness.

Enjoy!

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