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The New Walnut

I suppose there isn’t a wrong way to eat a walnut. What. You chew and swallow.

But there is a better way.

For years we were satisfied to buy the Costco-sized bag of walnuts and chomp our way through them, one mealy bite at a time. Which was fine. Then. We conquered lots of bags that way. But, in memory, we never looked forward to a handful of walnuts the way we do now.

Because now…

We soak and dehydrate our nuts before we eat them.

And here’s why we bother.

When nuts and seeds are soaked (overnight) in fresh water and kosher salt, the soaking releases the phytic acid contained in the outer casing of the nut or seed. Why this matters is because it is the phytic acid that makes it more difficult on our gut to digest nuts and seeds. And it’s the phytic acid that ultimately results in a bit of a gas problem. Think beans.

But soaking for the sake of removing phytic acid alone, might not have been enough to keep us at the soaking. Because it takes forethought. If we want a nut supply in a day or two, we’ve gotta get soaking now.

So what keeps us soaking and dehydrating our nuts is the taste. A bitter, straight-out-of-the-bag walnut has nothing on a salted, toasted one. Not in texture. Not in taste. Not in health.

Here’s how we begin.

We soak six cups of walnuts at a time. That’s half a Costco-sized bag.

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Then to those six cups of nuts, we add 3 generous Tablespoons of Kosher salt.

You could do the math this way: For every two cups of nuts, add one tablespoon of kosher salt.

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Then we cover the nuts with filtered water…

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Give ’em a stir…

And forget about them for at least 12 hours.

Here they are at about eight in the morning.

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And here they are at 8:00 p.m.

Still nuts. Just soggier

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Now we drain them.

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And ever-so-briefly, we give them a rinse.

We want to swirl the water in and around them. But we don’t want to steal all the salt.

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If you’ve got little helper-hands pawing at you, this is a nice job for them. And if not, you’ll simply get those nuts on the dehydrator racks before the rest of us.

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We just want to spread the nuts around evenly on two or three trays…

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Plug the dehydrator in…

And then walk away until morning.

Depending on the newness or not of your dehydrator, there will or won’t be a temperature guide to dehydrating certain foods. On our dehydrator, nuts are suggested at dehydrating at 115 degrees. I am less patient than 115 degrees, and turn our knob to 135 degrees.

As well, if you do not have a dehydrator but do have an oven, dehydrating your nuts will still work. But much more quickly, as the lowest oven temps will still be near 170 degrees.

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Then–some 12-16 hours later–it’s these: warm, lightly salted and toasted walnuts.

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Utterly worth the wait.

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Try it for yourself.

The New Walnut

Ingredients:Walnuts, Water, Kosher Salt
Equipment: Food dehydrator

Directions: Pour walnuts into a large bowl. For every two cups of walnuts, sprinkle atop one Tablespoon kosher salt. Cover walnuts completely with filtered water. Let soak for 12 hours or overnight. Drain walnuts and rinse lightly. Place walnuts evenly on dehydrator racks and allow to dry for 12-16 hours. Smell. Taste. Chomp. And…Wonder why you didn’t try this sooner!

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