SPROUTED ALMONDS, SPROUTED ALMOND BUTTER
(& a bonus smoothie)
Ever since I got my hands on a Vitamix I’ve been eager to use it to make almond butter. Almonds are a favorite snack of mine; they’re incredibly healthy and nutrient-dense, but I always prefer to eat soaked or sprouted nuts, as they’re easier to digest once the natural enzyme inhibitors are broken down by this traditional process. Some natural foods stores sell sprouted almonds, though they’re much more expensive than regular organic raw almonds. Fortunately, it’s very easy to do this step yourself!
Start with 3 c of raw almonds; if they’re not raw it will be impossible to sprout them. Soak the almonds in filtered water overnight; leave plenty of room, as they’ll expand significantly. In the morning, drain the almonds and lay them out on a baking tray. Twice a day, rinse the almonds until they develop tiny white tails. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this will take 2-4 days. Once the almonds have sprouted, lay them out on dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 100 degrees until they’re crisp again. (If you don’t have a dehydrator you can do this in your oven on the lowest setting - usually 150-170. The almonds will no longer be raw, however, the enzyme inhibitors have already been released during sprouting, so some benefit remains.)
It’s worth noting here that Vitamix claims you must add some liquid oil when making almond butter to ensure proper blending. Needless to say, this is an idea that doesn’t much appeal to me. Well, au contraire, Vitamix - I’ve made beautifully successful almond butter using sprouted almonds and nary a trace of added oil.
Once you have dry, sprouted almonds, whether by your own devises or store-bought, place them in the blender. Add 1/2 t salt if you like. Start with the Vitamix on speed 1, immediately move it to 10, then to high, and mash the nuts into the blade, using the tamper continuously. After two minutes or so, you should have perfectly creamy almond butter. Transfer the almond butter to a jar, then load up the Vitamix with almond-butter friendly smoothie ingredients for easier, tastier clean-up. I recommend a frozen banana, some blueberries, an apple, several kale leaves, and some yogurt for a healthy, pb&j-inspired smoothie that prevents any of the almond butter from going to waste.