The Weston A. Price Way

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh, Nuts!

Soaked, dried pecans. ~Wonderful taste!
I could eat pecans till the cows come home...and since I'm fresh out of bovine beauties, that could be a really long time. The usual 'nut fare', (besides me), around here are the less expensive walnuts. They give a good taste to foods as well as a crunchy texture. Soaked as directed in Nourishing Traditions, the bar on taste and texture is raised, making our walnuts beyond the norm for a really good nut choice.
But for me, nothing beats a pecan. Perhaps that has something to do with being raised in a Southern home with three pecan trees on our property. Every fall, 'the boys', (my brothers), and I had the job of picking up the pecans that fell from the tree. One year our parents gave us these really neat gadgets on the end of a stick, like a broom handle, that captured the nuts in a metal basket when pressed over the nut on the ground. We put the pecans in brown paper bags from the grocery store...and always, there were bags and bags of them. We never hurt for pecans and when we played survival games, we'd sometimes climb the trees, crack some nuts and eat them 'to survive'. Or throw them at one another as our games turned into games of battle...depending on how things developed.
When it came close to holiday baking time, Mom laid newspapers all over the den floor-always on a Saturday-and we cracked and picked pecans from after breakfast into the afternoon. It went by pretty fast most of the time, while watching the Roadrunner with Wile E.Coyote and similar classic cartoons. Of course, we ate nearly as many nuts as we picked-Mom didn't seem to mind too much as long as she had what she needed in the end.
So, I guess my great love for pecans could have something to do with happy memories.
And in a way, that's really too bad. I wish I did have the same love for walnuts today, because almost always, they're cheaper. Recently, however, the Commissary sold them at under $6.00 per pound. After seeing them and struggling with whether to pay $12.00 per pound at another location, (I declined), I was ecstatic.
I am currently in the process of soaking both pecans and walnuts so I'll have plenty ready for the upcoming season. I've thought of mixing them together in recipes to give my goodies that rich pecan flavor along with the crunch afforded by both types of nuts.
Soaking nuts does so much for them in regard to taste and nutrition! I give all the reasons for soaking nuts, as well as the 'how-to's', HERE at "The Easy Art of Soaking Nuts", so take a look if you're new to the idea. To whet your appetite, let me tell you that soaking and drying is how nuts are made more digestible*, how they can be crunchy without cooking**, and how the nutrients within the nuts are heightened and best assimilated by the body. Remember, eating 'real food'/'traditional food' is about retaining or increasing the nutrient density of unprocessed real, or whole, foods. Ideally, this makes them as good as they can possibly be for our overall health. (Although I do occasionally veer a little to the left or right on this blog, nutrient density is what it's about...generally.)
I have a niece who's boyfriend calls nutrient-dense food, 'hippie food'. This immediately tells us that he's far too young to know what a real hippie is...or rather...was. In the day of the real 'hippies', they were better known for singing songs about being 'natural' among unnatural 'family members', while filling their lungs and veins with unnatural substances like narcotics and opiates and generally any other thing that gave a 'high'. Were all that way? Of course not...some just dressed the role, as the style became quite popular. Those who lived the real 'hippie life', often ended up like Forrest Gump's girlfriend. Many, much faster. It was not a healthy lifestyle. But if this generation wants to call this way of eating, due to misconceptions, 'hippie food', then I'm thinking that's okay. I guess I could change the name of this blog to "The Happy Hippie", "The Healthy Hippie", "Hip-Hippie Hooray!", or how about "The Hippie Grannie"? Anyway, it's funny how the word 'natural' can be so misrepresented...Which turns my mind towards thoughts of how our food is labeled 'natural' when 'natural' can mean just about anything...
Oh, nuts. There I go chasing rabbit trails again...
Back to the actual nuts...I have some pictures for you of today's final bounty...They are so amazingly delicious, I just wish you could taste them, too!

When the nuts are done, (no moisture, and slightly crispy is my preference), I put them in a jar. I don't put the lid on until they're completely cool.

Our 'good old stand-bys', crispy walnuts.

Because walnuts cost less, I soaked and dried three trays this time around, while I only did two trays of pecans...That's all my dehydrator holds. I will make another batch tomorrow. After they're done, they may be stored in a jar as show at the top of the page, or they may be frozen if they're not going to be used soon.

~Happy soaking!

*When nuts are soaked and then dehydrated at around 118 degrees, (higher temps not recommended as the higher the temp, the more enzymes are killed), they retain their enzymes, which are specific to that particular nut in helping our body to break it down. (I never get tired of telling about this...EVERY food we eat has it's own specific enzyme, uniquely designed into that food alone, so we are able to better digest it...How amazing is that?)
**Enzymes are killed above 118 degrees, so the less we have to cook/bake many foods, the more digestible and beneficial they'll be. For a variety of reasons, this isn't true for every food...some are actually better for us cooked...but if it's a grain, nut, bean, or legume, soaking is always best.

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