Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nut Soaking (almond milk)

Been soaking mad nuts this week. I've been waiting to say that. There is so much I know about food preparation which I am not in the habit of of practicing. Nut soaking is one of them. Grain soaking is another. I know I should soak and cook my own beans, but I have a hard time finding the patience and the space on my counter. The last time I was home, my mother was making almond milk (how lucky am I?), she sent some home with me and it was so delicious, so white, sweet, and cold- I couldn't wait to make more. Part of the reason I had never made it before was because I thought it would be very expensive to make. Turns out you need many less almonds than I had anticipated.

Mad nut soaking is happening right here.

The almonds soaked over night and then I was able to remove the skins. They pop right out of their skin. The skin is an enzyme inhibitor. This means that the skin blocks the assimilation and absorption of the vitamins and minerals in the nut. Soaking the nut, brings it to life allowing it to digest easily and more completely.

To make almond milk, blend 1 1/2 cup of soaked and skinless almonds with 3 cups of water. Blend until nuts are pureed completely and then strain through a cheese cloth. Squeeze all the excess water out of the cheese cloth getting all the milk. Add honey, agave, or blended dates to sweeten the milk (straining the date debris as well). You can also add vanilla, or even nutmeg or cinnamon to create a more dessert-y beverage.

Next up walnuts. Check out these walnuts and their amazing transformation. Again, we are removing the enzyme inhibitors and in the walnuts case, what gives them their bitter flavor. I am now officially over walnut skins and no longer want to eat a walnut with its skin intact. Without the skin they are so sweet, it's a whole new nut!

Look at that hot mess (not actually "hot"-just love the saying and it certainly is a "mess"). That is walnut water after just a few hours.

Rinsed walnuts with fresh water. This piece of skin floated to the surface. It's like snakeskin.

Look at the difference! I know it looks like some kind of cheesy science project. That is not chewed gum, it is a naked nut. Suppose it is after a fresh rain, perhaps as nature intended.

So now you have naked walnuts, what do you want to do with them? Most of us don't use walnuts for much more than texture and flavor in baking. I have a feeling once you taste a raw naked walnut you'll want to find more uses. I found this amazing recipe on my friend Ali's blog. I've made it twice in the past week and a half.

Stuffed mushrooms to die for. Definitely RUN don't walk to her blog to get the recipe. To make this cleanse friendly (well my version of the cleanse-nut friendly) I substituted the cheese with some nutritional yeast and ground flax seed, then broiled them to make a yummy crispy top. Today I made it again but with the cheese, I say they are great either way, honestly.

It's a serious meal.


Patrick said...

I have been thinking lately, why don't I soak my nuts anymore. Thank you for the inspiration, and I've been wanting to make Ali's recipe, well actually I want her to make it for me, but I may have to do it!

Question, how long do you store your almond milk for, if that becomes an issue?

Hannah said...

that last one was me, didn't realize my husband was signed in

persephone said...

Hi Hannah! I had my mother's milk in the fridge for about 4 days. I think 4-5 days is the estimate. I always tend to push things. I made your protein cookies the other night! Oh my!!! Sooo good and so easy, I have to resist the urge to make them every night.

Madeline Rains said...

I've been soaking almonds (with a bit of salt)a bunch lately too and then I cook them at 150 for many hours to make "crispy nuts". This last batch I got would not let go of their coats! Just wouldn't. I am so impressed that you have the patience to pop off all the coatings with a babe. you continue to amaze. I'll be making that milk. Thanks for the inspiration.

Stacie said...

Awesome! I wondered too if it was cost effective to make my own almond milk. Now I will definitely give it a try. Thanks.

Bethany said...

This post made me laugh like 5 times.
Plus it amazed me.
That is a hot mess of mad nut soaking and it made me happy.
you're such a fun teacher.
you've REALLY found your calling.