Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sprouted, Dehydrated Raw Almonds

Sprouted, Dehydrated Raw Almonds are one of the most nutritious snacks around. They have a satisfying "pop" when you crunch into them. Raw almonds that haven't been sprouted just don't have that "pop."

Start by finding some raw, unpasteurized almonds. You can get these from your own trees or from almonds growers directly.  You are not getting unpasteurized almonds at your local health food store or at Costco. They can sell them as raw, but do to government regulations, they have been pasteurized. Since pasteurization kills the living "seed", you can not sprout pasteurized almonds. Look for almond growers at your local farmer's market.

Soak 1 part almonds to 4 parts of water overnight (12 hours). Drain water and rinse soaked almonds.
Put your soaked almonds into a sprouter or mason jar, rinsing 2-3 times during the day. Rinse again and leave to sprout overnight. The almonds will have a tiny bulge at the narrow end. That is the sprout. These are ready to dehydrate or use to make almond milk.

Dehydrate for 12-24 hours at 105*F. This will dry the almonds but they will still be a living plant. I store my sprouted, dehydrated almonds in ziplock bags or mason jars with lids until I am ready to use them.

For almonds milk, use 1 cup of freshly sprouted almonds and 4 cups of water. Blend thoroughly in your vitamix or other blender. Strain in a nut milk bag, squeezing all of the nut milk out. I use a jelly strainer bag. They are inexpensive, and you can buy them online or at your local kitchen center.

Sprouting nuts, seeds and grains is beneficial.  The nutrition makeup changes once the stored energy source (seed, nut or grain) changes to that of a plant (sprout) in its initial stages of growth. The carbohydrate and fat decreases, and the vitamin and mineral content increases.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Today's Harvest: Lettuce, Tomatoes and Swiss Chard

I love going out to the garden every morning to see what is ready to harvest. Pictured below is one of the cherry tomato plants that I got this year at Costco. They are about 3 feet tall now, and the tomatoes have slowly been ripening the past 2 weeks.

Cherry Tomato Plant in container
Today I was really pleased to be able to harvest some lettuce (black seeded Simpson lettuce). Those plants just keep on giving! I've been harvesting some every week.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
I washed it all and gave it a spin in my salad spinner. I had enough to fill a gallon ziplock bag.
Isn't it beautiful? It will be perfect for green smoothies (this variety has a sweet taste) and for salads. Next, I took the scissors to a pot of Swiss chard.....

Swiss Chard growing in a pot
After cutting off the stems (I use the stems in smoothies and stirfry), I washed it and spun it dry (lettuce spinner, again!) and had enough to fill a gallon size ziplock bag. There is such a feeling of satisfaction being able to harvest product from your own garden. I grow everything organically; no pesticides.
Swiss Chard
OK, and then on to my mini harvest of tomatoes...

Red Cherry and Yellow Pear Tomatoes
Don't these look delicious! I remember the first time I picked a cherry tomato. It was in our neighbor's garden in Escondido, California. I was 4 or 5 years old, and our neighbor let us come over and pick some to snack on. I will never forget how good those cherry tomatoes tasted. My lifelong love of gardening started right then! Anyway, there is nothing better than popping a cherry tomato fresh off of the plant into your mouth. Heaven! I did just that while picking these and I can say that these are fantastic.
I also have some sprouts growing. I usually have 3-4 different sprouts going on the counter every week. This week I sprouted lentils, peas, garbanzos and broccoli. Here is a picture of the broccoli sprouts....

We've been eating sprouts at every meal this week. Great taste, nutritious and a perfect addition to whatever we're eating. This particular broccoli seed has been some of the best I've ever sprouted. You can order some at .  Click here for the broccoli seed page.