Have you heard the term ‘Activated Nuts’ and wondered what the hell that means? Well you’re not alone. Activating is another word for soaking or sprouting and is referring to the age old practice of preparing nuts (or grains, seeds and legumes) before consuming them. There are so many benefits to this practice and with the amount of gut health issues people have today, it really should be a non-negotiable in everyone’s food prep.
Activating the food makes it:
- easier to digest (less chance of undigested parts slipping through the gut barrier and triggering allergies)
- increases the nutrient value
- decreases the anti-nutrients (such as phytic acid which binds to minerals preventing their absorption in the body)
As I was growing up more and more people were told not to give their kids foods such as peanut butter, to avoid developing allergies. New research now indicates that delaying the introduction of nuts into a child’s diet may actually increase the risk of developing nut allergies (1).
When introducing nuts to infants they should be properly prepared (i.e activated) in the following way:
Qty of nuts (e.g. 1 cup)
Double the amount of water to nuts (e.g. 2 cups)
1-2 tablespoons Celtic sea salt
Soak the nuts in the water with the salt overnight in a covered glass container (I find a pyrex dish with a lid is the easiest).
After soaking, rinse well in a colander with tap water then a final rinse with purified water. Place baking paper on a large oven tray/baking tin and evenly spread out the nuts on the baking paper. Dry the nuts in a warm oven (the lowest setting on your oven) or alternatively in a dehydrator. I use the oven method and it takes approx. 6 hours. To check if they are properly dried, crack open a nut with your fingers and feel for any moisture or alternatively press the nut against some paper towel. It’s important to dry them properly otherwise they may go mouldy!
Dried nuts can be stored in the fridge or a cool, dark cupboard for 4-8 weeks. They are a great snack on the go for the whole family, can be ground up and used as flour or made into nut butter. Hazelnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, pine nuts, cashews, pistachios and macadamia nuts are all fantastic options and should be introduced before peanuts. Keep in mind that cashews and peanuts are actually legumes (who knew!) and should only be soaked for 6 hours.
P.S. If you are worried your child has nut allergies it is recommended you have them checked out by a professional before allowing them to consume nuts. There are great tests and measures that can be put in place to help your child overcome food allergies!
Yours in health x