(Excerpts from Hooked on Raw by Rhio)
Almonds are one of the nuts which have an alkaline reaction in the body. Many nuts produce an acid reaction in the body, which is not to say we can’t use them, but we must be aware of the 80/20 principle. Try to have your diet composed of 80% alkaline producing foods and 20% acid producing foods. (Some authorities recommend 70/30.)
Since 2009, almonds in the US are required by law to be either pasteurized or treated with a toxic fumigant called propylene oxide. Truly raw almonds can only be purchased at a farmer’s market or directly at the farm.
When sprouting almonds, soak overnight, and sprout for 1 or 2 days. You will not be able to see the actual sprout unless you remove the skin, and then you will see it very clearly. Store them in the refrigerator in filtered water and change the water every two days to prevent fermentation. Keeps for up to a week.
DEHYDRATED ALMOND SPROUTS:
Soak and sprout almonds, then blanch (see below). Put the blanched almonds into the food dehydrator, set to 95° F, until they are thoroughly dry, approximately 2 days. These can be used as a “crunchy” snack, also try the Too Much Crunch recipe.
To blanch almonds (without cooking them), first prepare a large bowl of cold water into which you have added two trays of ice cubes. Then heat up some other water to a boil, turn off the flame, and put in the sprouted almonds for 7 seconds. Time the 7 seconds, while stirring, and stay with the pot. If you move away to do something else, you might not come back to your almonds in 7 seconds, and then you will have cooked them. Drain the almonds quickly through a strainer and plunge the strainer into the ice water. This stops the process of cooking immediately. The almond skins will then pop off easily when you push them between your thumb and forefinger.*
*If you find that the almond skins pop, after just soaking them, then you can be sure that you, unfortunately, have purchased treated almonds.
WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO REMOVE ALMOND SKINS?
Almond skins have a high concentration of tannic acid. Research has indicated that tannic acid may interfere with the body’s uptake of iron. When you eat a lot of almonds, it might be a good idea to remove the skins. (If you are just having a handful, then you don’t need to skin them.) The Merck Index states that tannic acid is highly soluble in water. Once the almonds have been soaked, I suspect a lot of the acid is leached out, but I have not had my theory tested.
REMOVING ALMOND SKINS WITHOUT BLANCHING
Almond skins can also be removed, without blanching, by peeling sprouted almonds with your thumb nail. This is a tedious process which most people will probably not do; however, this is the way it’s done at the Ann Wigmore Institute. If you’re going to remove the skins this way, a tip is to soak the sprouted almonds in filtered water for 24 hours (in the refrigerator). This loosens the skins and makes the job a little easier.
Botanically, buckwheat is not a cereal grain because it belongs to a different family (Polygonaceae instead of Gramineae). Practically though, it’s considered to be in the grain category because it looks like a grain, it tastes like a grain, and it can be used like a grain. When you buy buckwheat, look for raw buckwheat groats or whole buckwheat groats. Buckwheat that has been roasted is known as Kasha.
Carob, sometimes called St. John’s Bread, is the fruit of an evergreen tree which can grow to heights of almost 50 feet. Straight from the tree, the fruit looks like a big brown pod. After harvest, it is dried and powdered. Be careful to purchase it raw, because it is generally roasted. Carob has a flavor similar to chocolate, but without all the negative effects of chocolate. Of course, chocolate aficionados are not going to be convinced, but if you want to switch, this is a good substitute and you can learn to like it very much. Carob contains Vitamin A and B-complex, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates. Raw carob is not generally available in health food stores so you must send for it by mail. Sunorganic Farm carries it (see Source Index).
Celtic Sea Salt (pronounced Keltic)
This salt is harvested from the ocean in a 9,000-acre pristine area of Brittany, in northwestern France. The area has been protected by the French government as a historical site so that the ancient traditions can be preserved for future generations.
To produce the salt, ocean water is channeled into a series of shallow ponds. The sun and wind evaporate the water, leaving a mineral-rich brine. The salt farmers (known as paludiers) then hand rake the brine with wooden tools, and within hours, crystals form and are gathered by hand. The method used for the whole process is a 2000-year-old tradition in Brittany. This salt is unheated and unrefined. It is light gray in color and moist to the touch. It consists of 14% trace mineral elements and 84% sodium chloride. Refined table salt by contrast contains 97.5% sodium chloride and no trace minerals.
There are three Celtic salts available. The Light Grey Celtic salt (also called Celtic Grey Sea Minerals) and the Flower of the Ocean are sun-dried and unheated. Caution: The Fine Ground Celtic sea salt has been heated to 200° F before grinding on natural granite stones. I would not recommend this one. The Light Grey Celtic sea salt can be put into a coffee/nut grinder to grind it. Of course, it will not pour, but we can accustom ourselves to the difference. You could measure out what you want with a spoon or take a pinch between your fingers to sprinkle. (See “The Grain & Salt Society” in the Source Index.)
When you eat seaweed, there is sea salt in it. I believe that using very small quantities of Celtic sea salt, since it is unrefined, would be OK. Individualities come into play here and some people cannot handle any salt, unrefined or not. (It is best not to use salt if you have a health “challenge.”) Celtic salt is the only sea salt I have researched at this time. Great care is taken in its production. There are other sea salts around, but I would not use them. First, I do not know how they are produced and secondly, they are very white, which makes me suspicious.
The Champion juicer is a piece of equipment which is very versatile for this type of cuisine. First, of course, it makes juice. It is a masticating type juicer, which automatically expels the pulp, while continuously juicing. No intermittent cleaning is required, as with the centrifugal type juicers. After juicing, I usually put the pulp through again to extract more juice.
It also has a blank screen (homogenizer) that you can install to make patés, nut butters, ice creams, and sherbets, and it will shred vegetables, such as carrots, beets and coconut, if you remove the blank.
In addition, there is an attachment you can purchase separately to grind grain. The grain grinder, however, is made with aluminum parts and so is not recommended by this writer.
The company that makes the Champion has been in business for almost 50 years. It is an American product, and I have found it to be well-made and durable. The Champion juicer is available in two types: a home model and a heavy-duty industrial model. The difference in price between the two is very small ($30-50). I would recommend the industrial model, although I’ve had both models and they are both very good and last for years.
Green Power Juicer
The Green Power juicer is the first significant advancement in juicing technology in a very long time. This juicer has a number of advantages over the Champion. Like the Champion, it can juice fruits and vegetables. Unlike the Champion, it can also juice herbs, leafy greens and wheatgrass. (The Champion can juice some leafy vegetables, if they are put through along with harder vegetables.) The Green Power has a unique twin-gear triturating extraction system. It operates at a low speed of 90 rpm. Because of this slow speed, there is less chance of the juicer heating up and damaging enzymes and other nutrients in the juice. Independent laboratory tests provided by the company show that the nutrient value of juice made in the Green Power is comparable to that of the Norwalk, which is the best (and most expensive) juicer on the market.
With the Green Power, you can create patés, sherbets, ice creams, nut butters, doughs (for Essene breads) and pretzels. It also includes attachments for making pasta. In experimenting with it, however, I was never able to create a pasta using sprouted grains because the pasta holes were too small and the raw ingredients gave too much resistance. (They don’t go through easily.) This attachment was obviously designed for making pasta from cooked grains.
The Green Power is also the only juicer on the market with magnetic rollers which magnetize the juice (or food), to delay oxidation. This is a revolutionary feature, which the company claims allows the juice to be stored for two or three days. Even so, I do not recommend storing juices more than one day, unless you are using a Norwalk. Another feature that I particularly like is that the Green Power operates quietly.
An organic, unpasteurized soy sauce, sold under the Ohsawa brand. It is generally available in health food stores. Even though this sauce is unpasteurized, initially the soybeans are cooked before they are allowed to ferment. After the fermentation process they are not cooked again, thus the claim that it is unpasteurized.
Slippery Elm Powder
First used by the American Indians, Slippery Elm powder is derived from the inner bark of an American elm tree. The powder is cream colored, mucilaginous when wet, and extremely nutritious. It is one of the best foods to administer for people who are recovering from serious illness. Many miraculous properties have been attributed to this herb. Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs & Spices (by John Heinerman, Prentice Hall 1996) has an interesting account of one such healing. Look for Slippery Elm Powder in an herb shop.
Teflex™ is a flexible sheet, made of fiberglass and coated with 6 layers of Dupont Teflon. Teflex™, because of its non-stick surface, is used in dehydrators when making fruit leathers or drying any food that is liquefied. The Teflex™ sheet is placed over the mesh dehydrator tray and the liquid is poured on. When dehydrated, the food will easily peel off the sheet. The sheet is washable and can be reused again and again.
Teflon is a toxic substance when ingested. Most of us have seen cookware where the teflon surface has flaked off. Where did it go? Hopefully, not into the food. In speaking with the producers of TeflexTM and other non-stick, flexible sheets of this type, I tried to ascertain how the teflon could migrate into the food. They told me that when you see a damaged piece of teflon cookware, it was usually damaged because somebody used an abrasive on it, either to clean it, or to scrape the food away. In the scraping process, some of the teflon is loosened. I asked how we could avoid this with the flexible sheets. Where I could elicit a thoughtful response, the answer was to clean the flexible sheet with a soft sponge only. Do not use any abrasive to clean the Teflex™ sheet. I quickly realized that I had been using the abrasive side of my two-sided sponge to clean the sheets easily. I reordered new sheets and will treat the new ones as instructed.
Why use Teflex™ at all? The alternatives are not very workable. If you try to dehydrate liquids on parchment paper, wax paper, baking paper, or plastic paper (like Saran Wrap), your final product will not peel off easily. In fact, it will be very frustrating. For foods that hold together more, like cookies and crackers, parchment paper or baking paper can be used, or you can put the food directly onto the mesh dehydrator tray.
The vanilla bean is the fruit of certain varieties of tropical orchids. It originated in Mexico, but today is also cultivated in such exotic places as Tahiti, Madagascar and Bali. Vanilla is truly an intoxicating smell and taste experience.
VANILLA POWDER: as called for in some of the recipes, is simply ground vanilla bean: Cut 3 vanilla beans into small pieces, put them into a nut (or coffee) grinder, and grind as fine as possible. Store in a small glass jar in the refrigerator, and use as needed. It keeps for months. If it develops an off smell, then discard; but I’ve never had this happen. The alternative to making the vanilla powder would be to just cut a small piece of vanilla from the pod. Cut into small pieces and blend into the recipe. Depending on the quality of your equipment, it may or may not break down completely, and get blended.
If your vanilla bean is too moist and doesn’t powder up in the nut mill, then leave the vanilla bean out at room temperature for a couple of days so that it dries a bit. Under no circumstances put the vanilla bean in a food dehydrator, because it will lose all its flavor. You could even grind up this moist vanilla bean, but it will come out like the texture of ground tobacco, instead of as a powder. This has just as much flavor and works just as well in the recipes. Store in the refrigerator.
VANILLA WATER: Cut 2 vanilla beans into pieces, grind in a nut grinder, then put the powder into the blender with 1/2 cup of filtered water and blend well. This will keep in the refrigerator for about 3-4 weeks; after that, it will ferment. You can also freeze the vanilla water in ice cube trays and pop out a cube as needed. Frozen, it keeps much longer.
Both of the above can be used as substitutes for commercial vanilla extract which, besides containing alcohol, may be extracted with solvents. Solvents have no place in a healthy diet. Commercial vanilla extract may also contain other additives.
1 I think this is why you never see vanilla sold in a powder form like other spices. Actually, I have seen vanilla powder sold in some specialty stores, but then it is usually loaded with additives and I doubt it is a natural vanilla at all