Nuts are great for you, they’re a good source of protein, good fats, fibre, magnesium, vitamin E, the list goes on. But not all nuts are equal when it comes to nutrition and nuts come with their very own self-defence mechanism- phytic acid!
What is phytic acid?
Nuts are seeds, and they contain an enzyme known as phytic acid. Phytic acid is known as an “anti-nutrient”, in that it blocks the absorption of minerals and nutrients during digestion. Consuming too much phytic acid can irritate and inflame the gut. It is thought that plants developed this as a strategy to stop all the nuts being eaten by predators so some would germinate.
When the seed begins to germinate, the phytic acid in the seed breaks down.
What is activating?
Activating is the process of waking the seed up, or, as I like to put it, “tricking” the seed into starting the germinating process. This breaks the phytic acid down, making the nutrition within the nuts easier to absorb.
It sounds complicated but it’s really quite a simple process and many cultures and civilisations all over the world have been doing it for centuries and perhaps millennia.
All you have to do is soak the seed for a period of time, preferably overnight, to begin this process.
As well as making the nut more digestible, the taste is also altered to be less astringent and the texture changes slightly.
Once the nut has been soaked and activated, unless you are going to eat them there and then, you have to take the moisture back out, to preserve. You can do this at home by popping them in the oven on it’s lowest setting for a few hours.
We use our state of the art drying chamber to gently dehydrate our nuts at temperatures below 47 degrees centigrade. This keeps the nut fresh, preserves the nutritional content and gives them a satisfyingly crisp crunch!