Caveman Cuisine: Better Almond Butter

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High in mono-unsaturated fats, protein, and vitamin E, almonds are almost universally regarded as a "health food".  Although we call them "nuts", almonds are actually the innermost seed kernel of a stone fruit in the same family as peaches and plums.  Since the goal of a seed is to become a new plant, plants invest a lot in making sure that their baby has plenty of nutrients essential for growth.

One such nutrient, phosphorous, is stored in the form of a compound called phytic acid that is concentrated in the skins (bran) of seeds.  When consumed by animals, however, this plant nutrient bonds to other essential nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc in a process called chelation.  It is because of this bonding action that phytic acid is considered an anti-nutrient.  Fortunately, traditional cooking practices have already established ways to reduce reduce the amount of anti-nutrients while simultaneously increasing the digestibility and nutrient availability of seeds. 

It is said that the ancient Aztecs would soak pumpkin seeds in sea water, afterwards drying them in the sun.  We are going to do just about the same thing.  Keep in mind that this process can be applied to other seeds like walnuts, cashews, and hazelnuts with similarly beneficial results.

What you will need:

A large bowl or measuring cup
Filtered or distilled water
Raw almonds
Sea Salt
Food dehydrator or oven
Food processor or grinder

Step 1: Salt Soak

Simply dissolve a few teaspoons of sea salt into a container full of warm filtered water.  Add your almonds and cover with a towel.  Put the container in a warm place (on top of a refrigerator works well) and let them sit overnight.

Step 2: Dry

After your almonds have finished soaking.  Put them in a food dehydrator or oven set to 150 degrees.  If your oven doesn't go down to 150, open the door partway so that heat can escape.  It might take an hour or more and you may want to allow the almonds to sit in the oven after it has been turned off so that they completely dry, otherwise you'll be inviting moisture loving organisms like mold to the party.


Step 3: Grind 

In a food processor, grind your almonds to the desired consistency.  I like to add coconut oil to the mix to help get it going.   The saturated fat in the coconut oil will also help the fats in the almond butter to resist oxidation keeping them healthy and allowing the butter to keep longer without going rancid.


Step 4: Store 

Keep your almond butter in a sealed jar in the refrigerator until ready for use.  As one would imagine, an old almond butter jar works quite well for this purpose.

For more information about traditional cooking practices, check out Sally Fallon's book "Nourishing Traditions." 
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About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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