To activate nuts means to soak and dehydrate them, releasing the enzyme inhibitors and naturally occurring chemicals that protect the nut from animals, bacteria, viruses and weather. This compound, called phytic acid, is the principle storage form of phosphorous in plant tissues, especially found in bran, nuts and seeds. Phytate, as it’s called in salt form, is not digestible to humans or non-ruminate animals because we lack the enzyme phytase that is required to the remove phosphates. When we consume phytic acid, it makes essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron unabsorbable in our bodies.
So simply said: we want to soak, activate and sprout nuts and seeds for optimal nutrition. Each nut, seed and grain has a different length of time that it should be soaked or sprouted. This Soak + Sprout guide shows the different times:
Soaking and sprouting mimics germination, essentially waking up the nut or seed so that we can absorb the highest amount of nutrition it has to offer. By soaking with just a little bit of lemon juice, it helps neutralize the phytic acid. When making activated almonds, you can soak and dehydrate several cups of nuts at one time for a large batch, then freeze what you don’t use in an airtight container to always have some on hand when making milks, flours or snacks.
ACTIVATED ALMOND MILK
1 cup activated almonds
4 cups filtered water
pinch Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
1 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 tsp rosewater
To Activate Almonds, place 2 cups of unroasted, unsalted raw almonds in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice and cover with purified water. Soak for 8 hours. Drain and rinse well. If you’re in a hurry, it’s okay to go ahead and use the nuts now for milks or other recipes. If you want to go the next step to “activate” then you’ll proceed to dry them out again. If you own a dehydrator, spread on your dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 12-24 hours to dry. Otherwise, spread thin on a baking sheet and cover with a porous cloth to allow air in while drying.
To Make Milk, place 1 cup activated almonds, water and your flavors of choice into a high-speed blender. Blend smooth and frothy. Pour through a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or other fine mesh strainer to separate the pulp from the liquid. Store the milk in an airtight container in your fridge for 3-5 days.
To Make Almond Flour, save your pulp to make almond flour by spreading thin on a teflex sheet and dehydrating for 6-8 hours. Once dry, add the pulp back into your blender or food processor and grind into a fine powder. Store in an airtight container in your freezer. If you don’t have a dehydrator, spread thin on a baking sheet and place in oven on lowest temp for 10-15 minutes, checking frequently to ensure it does not burn. Baking it in the oven isn’t truly “raw status”, but it still provides you with homemade almond flour that’s great for making gluten-free treats.
Note: After soaking the almonds, removing the skins makes them more digestible and easier on pitta.