Tag Archives: Soaked nuts

Can the impending zombie apocalypse makes for good eating habits today?

   I’m surrounded by science geeks. I know this, because every once in a while I see a coworker wearing a lab coat. Of course, I probably don’t need the visual confirmation, since I have the pleasure of overhearing conversations in the lunch room that go like this:
 
  Normal person 1:    “Would you like one of my sodas?”
  Normal person 2:    “No, I stay away from caffeine. Sodas are not very good for you anyway.”
  Normal person 1:    “Yeah they might take years off your life, but I figure it’s best to live while you’re young.”
  Normal person 2:    “And there’s always the zombie apocalypse.” Normal person 2 is now Geek 2
  Normal person 1:    “That’s true, it could happen any day. How does not drinking soda help?” Normal person 1 = Geek 1.
  Geek 2:    “Well, the first 48 hours are critical. I want to be able to stay alert and awake, which will be a lot harder if my
  body is already used to caffeine. So, if I avoid caffeine for now, I’ll be in better shape when the zombies come.”
  Geek 1:    “Ah, that makes sense!”
 
   So, at least in this case, one positive outcome of the impending zombie apocalypse is good nutrition decisions. It remains to be seen if this kind of good sense will catch on, but we can always hope. Maybe I could start a rumor about soaked dried nuts being a good emergency food to have on hand…

Walnuts

For those of you who grew up in the South, the mental picture of a walnut is not what is found in the aisle of the grocery store. No, in their natural form, walnuts do not look like tiny brains. In fact, to a 10 year old boy, they look like hand grenades. Ok, a small, puny, hand grenade. (An M67, internal-serrated-coil, fragmentation grenade, in case nomenclature is important to you).


Not only are these hard, green, balls a useful substitute for explosives in (pretend) war, they actually contain food. I have never attempted to obtain the food part of a wild walnut, but friends have told me it is quite a chore. And it turns your hands completely black. The complete walnut is about 2-3 inches in diameter, with a green outer rind. Inside the rind, is the pear-shaped nut, and inside that shell is the meat.

Once the meat is extracted, it is usually dried before eating. According to our trusting cooking guide, the nuts must also be soaked, and then dried. The reason is obvious to any person who has attempted to replace all the protein in their diet with nut protein from un-soaked nuts. (Page 513, sidebar). What? You haven’t tried that yet? Well, let me give it to you in a nutshell:

The story boils down to Enzymes. A really snazzy word conjured up by biologist with too much time on their hands, Enzymes refer to confused proteins. These proteins actually think they are catalysts. Fortunately, your body uses them the same as catalysts, so all is well. Enzymes are responsible for most of the really tough digestion. Water, alcohol, and a handful of other small substances pass through the stomach lining, but other, more complex items must wait until the small intestine to be handed over to the blood stream. This hand off must follow proper procedure, with correct labelling of products, and due inspection from the Intestine Wall Duty Officer. Anything else just passes along until it reaches a good end. In the case of Walnuts, or any other nuts for that matter, the enzymes break off appropriate chunks of nutritional goodness, and package them properly to get past the Duty Officer. And here is where you and I get stuck. Our enzymes are idiots. They always fill out the forms wrong, or try to carry more than $10,000 worth of nutrition through, that sort of thing. So, that’s why I hire mercenary enzymes. These guys are actually sitting around in the nuts, just waiting for a job. Plus, they’re cheap: a little salt, some water, and they’ll put my nutrients in good order.

The process.

Hiring you’re own mercenary enzymes is outlined (in somewhat different words) on page 512 and 513.

Ingredients: Your nuts, some salt, filtered water. (The book claims 4 c. nuts, 2 tsp. salt).

Mix nuts with water and salt, leave in warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight. Drain. Spread on baking pan and place in warm oven for 12-24 hours until crisp.

The friendly little enzymes unlocked by the soaking have now made every bite of delicious Walnut digestible, even to the strictest Intestine Wall Duty Officer.

And now you have soaked your nuts!


Help

When I was a wee lad, I used to love honey roasted peanuts. I suspect that those delicious little guys had more corn syrup (not real honey) than peanut in each bite. Now, approximately 2 decades later, I enjoy the sugar-free, home roasted goodness of the Sally Fallon inspired soaked nuts, which my wife lovingly creates in our tiny condo’s kitchen. Well, I think enjoy may be overstating the feeling by a little, but some of the more well-toasted (technically called ‘nearly burnt’) are rather nice.

‘But why’, I imagine a totally moronic person might ask, ‘would your wife put nuts in water for 12 hours, and leave them in the oven on the lowest possible temperature overnight?’

Idiot. Hasn’t this man (only the male of the species could be so uninformed) ever read a book? Or, to be specific, hasn’t he read Nourishing Traditions?

Nourishing Traditions claims, on the back cover, to put the ‘Diet dictocrats’ on their head. Indeed it does, those fools never saw it coming. He he he. But after accomplishing this rout, a new set of diet rules has taken the wives of this country (perhaps world?) by storm.

My objective for you, my friend, is simple:  Help.  I mean it- help me make sense of this brand new world of food, with it’s quirky, old-fashioned cooking techniques, and join with me in the adventure of making the ‘truly healthy food’ our wives desire.

With this bold plan in place, let us eat.