They really are so good. Super crunchy. Great almond flavor. No weird mouth reactions. (I get that sometimes with raw nuts, and I don't think I'm the only one.) And if you have a way of making them at home then it's so much less expensive than the ones at the store. I bought 1 pound of raw almonds for $5 and did the sprouting/dehydrating at home. If I had bought the finished product at the store it would have been $17/pound. Ye-ouch!
There are two versions of almonds called "sprouted almonds". The raw food community considers sprouted almonds to be made from true raw almonds which are apparently illegal in the US due to the occasional presence of a fungus. So, most almonds you can buy marked "raw" have actually been steam-pasteurized and therefore won't grow or "sprout". The sprouted almonds that the raw foodies eat are soaked and literally grow sprouts. They have increased vitamin and mineral content and are eaten wet, so to speak.
The sprouted almonds that I've been making - like the ones that are sold in the stores - have been soaked and then dried in a dehydrator. The nutrition content is comparable to the original raw almond, but there's one big difference. An enzyme process has been triggered by the soaking so these sprouted almonds are actually easier to digest. I think that's the reason I don't experience the same allergic mouth reaction as I get with the raw ones.
Anywho, the process takes a couple days, but the end result is so good. Here's what I do:
1. Rinse 1-2 pounds of "raw" almonds to get off most of the dust and loose skins.
2. Place them in a bowl on the counter and soak the almonds in cold water with a teaspoon or so of salt dissolved in it. Soak for 24-36 hours changing the water/salt a couple of times during this process.
3. Drain almonds and arrange evenly on the racks of a food dehydrator.
4. Dehydrate at 145F for 16-20 hours. I like mine nice and dry, crispy, crunchy. I think it took 16 hours for 1 pound and 18 hours when I did 2 pounds at once.
4. Store in an airtight container. So far we've eaten what I've made pretty quickly, so I just leave them in a jar on the counter. You may decide to refrigerate them.
5. Enjoy. Share. Feel good.
I've tried to find trusted instructions online for drying them in an oven, but haven't really found much. We bought our dehydrator last summer for $60 then proceeded to use it a ton for blueberries, cherries, pears, figs, apples, grapes, and now almonds. It was a good investment, so I'd recommend just getting one if it's in your budget. Certainly, $17/pound almonds were not in ours, so the dehydrator makes me smile.
Sunday, March 07, 2010