Whenever we have a hankering for a snack, our favourite thing to reach for is a handful of humble nuts. Before recently, it was as simple as grabbing some raw nuts from the bag, but anyone who inhabits the Twittersphere would know that nuts just got a little more complicated. What started out as a harmless story in the Sunday Telegraph blew up into a trending hash tag mocking activated nuts. As the trend continued on, it became clear that very few people actually knew what activated nuts were and why people like celebrity chef Pete Evans were bothering. So we did some research for you to show you why it’s important to activate your nuts.
Simply put, activated nuts are raw nuts that have been soaked and dehydrated. The process neutralises enzyme inhibitors that are naturally occurring in all nuts and seeds. These enzyme inhibitors are what stop the nuts and seeds you buy from the grocery store from sprouting into a tree, bush or plant while they’re on the shelf. The downside is enzyme inhibitors interfere with your body’s ability to absorb the proteins and wonderful nutrients in the nuts. Further, if you eat nuts on a regular basis, the enzyme inhibitors build up in your body and can cause distress to the digestive system. By activating your nuts before eating them, you’re making it easier on your body to digest the nuts as well as increasing the density of the nutrition you receive – it’s really a win all round.
If you’re ready to jump on the activated nuts bandwagon, it couldn’t be simpler. Simply mix together a bowl of sea salt and water, and pour over the nuts of your choice, until they are covered completely. Leave them to soak for 12-24 hours (the length of time will vary, depending on the nuts you use – see this handy table for a guide). After that time drain them and place on a baking tray before popping them in the oven, on a very low temperature (49 degrees Celsius in the recommended limit). Leave them to dehydrate for up to 24 hours, it depends on how many you are activating and what nut type they are.
Dehydrated activated nuts taste similar to roasted nuts – that crispy, crunchy texture makes them extra moreish, and you can enjoy the snack, knowing that it’s packed with nutrients.
Don’t forget that it’s not just nuts that benefit from being soaked. Snacking favourites like pumpkin, flax and sunflower seeds can also increase in nutrients through activation.
If you don’t have the time to spare to activate your own nuts, you can always buy them, already activated. Most health food stores across Australia sell them – we love the flavour of Urban Remedy’s activated almonds (RRP $7.95 – available from urbanremedy.com.au) with the extra goodness of infused sea salt and apple cider vinegar.
We use our activated nuts in our favourite granola recipe from Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar E-Book, you can check it out here, seriously it’s the best we eat it with yogurt as well as an afternoon snack on its own!