Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pecan Cashew Peanut Butter - a Delicious Compromise (GAPS-legal, gluten- and grain-free)

In our house, everyone loves peanut butter.  However, peanut butter from the store is not a very nourishing food.  I do not have a local source for raw peanuts that aren't stored in bins, so I haven't gotten around to making my own peanut butter yet.  All nuts have phytic acid, which blocks absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium.  Additionally, nuts have enzyme inhibitors which make them hard to digest.  Phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors can be reduced by soaking nuts in salt water and cooking them. (For more information, see this great article at Natural Bias.)

Of course, peanut butter from the store is not made with soaked nuts, but I do make sure that the type I buy is made with roasted peanuts. As a compromise to make the peanut butter more nourishing, I blend in some crispy nuts (recipe follows) and a touch of coconut oil using the food processor. The addition of coconut oil keeps the nut butter from separating. The results have the great creaminess of peanut butter, plus a flavor boost from the other nuts. It is delicious!   

Pecan Cashew Peanut Butter
3/4 cup crispy pecans (recipe follows)
3/4 cup crispy cashews (recipe follows)
2 Tb unrefined coconut oil
2 Tb raw honey
3/4 tsp celtic sea salt
1 cup store-bought natural organic peanut butter

Blend crispy pecans, crispy cashews, coconut oil, honey, and salt in food processor until well combined.  Add peanut butter and mix until smooth.  Store in the refrigerator.

Crispy Nuts (recipe adapted from Nourishing Traditions)
4 cups nuts*
Filtered water
2 tsp celtic sea salt

Cover nuts with filtered water, and stir in sea salt.  Allow nuts to soak for 12-24 hours (the exception is cashews; make sure they soak for only 6-7 hours or they will get slimy).  Drain and rinse the nuts, then spread them onto dehydrator trays or sheet pans. Dry the nuts in the dehydrator or oven until completely dry and crisp.  In my Nesco dehydrator, it takes about 20-24 hours at 155 degrees F; in the oven you'll want to use the lowest temperature possible (150 degrees) and you'll probably need to stir them a couple times.

Crispy nuts are great for snacking, and can be used in lots of grain-free baking recipes.  To make the nuts extra tasty for snacking, combine them with a little bit of peanut oil and then sprinkle with sea salt.  Beware, they will be addicting!

*Any type of nuts can be used; I typically keep crispy almonds, pecans, and cashews on hand. I periodically make a large batch of crispy nuts, and grind some into flour that is stored in the freezer.

This post is part of Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet!

23 comments:

beth@redandhoney said...

Hi! Nice to find your blog. We're doing GAPS too, so I'm enjoying checking out all your recipes :) I buy my peanut butter from the store - the natural stuff that contains "just peanuts" - no other ingredients at all. It's not made with soaked nuts I suppose, but it doesn't seem to bother my digestion at all (whereas unsoaked nuts and seeds in granola gave me bad cramps and other issues).

Lisa said...

sounds yum- I love a good compromise! :)

Bonny said...

Hi Sarah,

I have a question about crispy nuts. I have my first batch dehydrating in the Nesco right now. I know you say here that you do not have a source for raw peanuts not sold in bins. Why is it important that the peanuts be raw (and not in bins)? Will soaking and dehydrating nuts that are not raw not work? Thanks!

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Bonny,
The nuts should be raw because, as I understand it, soaking the nuts basically starts the germination process, and this is what makes the nuts more digestible and with more available nutrients. If the nuts have already been roasted, the germination process cannot begin.

I try to avoid buying nuts (and grains when we were eating them) from bulk bins because they are exposed to air and light which means they are oxidizing while they are in the bins. Exposure to both light and oxygen makes foods go rancid quicker. But this really depends on what type of bins are used at the store and the turnover rate of the foods in the bins.

hellaD said...

Wow, yum this recipe is fantastic and a great way to make a peanut butter that is more gut friendly. Thanks for sharing with grain-free tuesdays bloghop! I just wanted to say sorry that I missed the past couple weeks, but hope to see you back this week with more of your tasty treats :)

Anonymous said...

Is peanut oil gaps friendly? Also whey?

Sarah Smith said...

Yes, peanuts and whey are both legal for the Full GAPS diet. They are not allowed initially on the intro, though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah, I can't seem to make my own comment as I keep getting on to a blogging site each time I start to type - no idea what I am doing. I just wanted to ask you about bicarb soda and GAPS. I am on GAPS and I don't know why we can't have bicarb soda. I can understand why we wouldn't eat it straight but the reason we use it in cooking is because of the following neutralisation and decomposition reaction: NaHCO3 + HCl--->NaCl + CO2 +H2O. We want the bubbles of CO2 that are given off to raise our food. It only occurs when the bicarb reacts with the acids in the food. As soon as a base interacts with an acid they start to react. Bicarb is not a particularly strong base and you can tell if there is too much and it is left over in the baking as you taste it. Even if a small amount was there - the pH of the HCl in the stomach is not likely to even change one point scale with it. Each increase in pH means there is 10 times more hydrogen ions, and the pH of the gut HCl is supposedly between 1.5 and 3. But even if the persons health is compromised the tiny amount in food would really account for very little change. What are your thoughts?
Sarah, Tasmania

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to mention that all of the products of the reaction, Carbon dioxide, salt and water have a neutral pH.
:-)

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Sarah,
I know there is lots on confusion about baking soda. I originally thought baking soda was not GAPS-legal, but then found out: in the latest version of the GAPS book (10th edition), it lists "pure sodium of bicarbonate" on the allowed list.

Wow, the information you listed makes sense as well!

Sarah

Anonymous said...

hi, i've ate raw almond butter for years thinking i was doing something good but since i started having stomach issues and researching i see i've got alot to change. just wanted to clarify that i buy raw nuts to soak and the peanuts are roasted? thank you, Chesna

Sarah Smith said...

Yes, the best is to buy the nuts raw, soak them in water with a bit of salt, and then dry them at low temp. Unfortunately, you can no longer buy raw almonds at the store. Even the ones labeled as raw have already been pasteurized (usually either with steam or irradiated). The only way to get raw almonds is to buy them direct from a farmer. As far as I know, other nuts labeled as raw are actually raw (except cashews).

Anonymous said...

Are 'blanched' nuts considered crisped? The nuts and their flours I use in Canada are typically blanched so I'm wandering? Gisele

Sarah Smith said...

Blanched nuts aren't the same as crispy nuts, as blanched nuts are soaked in hot water for a brief time only. But I think blanched nuts would still be better nutritionally than raw nuts.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,
When you soak nuts do you leave them on the counter overnight or in the fridge? Thanks!

Sarah Smith said...

On the counter.

GEMsMommy said...

How do you grind soaked nuts into flour?

Sarah Smith said...

I put them in the dehydrator for a day after soaking them. Then let them cool completely before grinding them in my food processor.

Anonymous said...

Can you just use almond flour instead of the crispy nut flour?

Sarah Smith said...

Yes, that should be fine.

Anonymous said...

If I don't have a dehydrator, how do I go about using an oven instead?

Sarah Smith said...

You can use your oven set at the lowest possible temperature. You will need to watch the nuts much more closely in the oven, as they can get overcooked if you're not careful. Stir them periodically.

Earthen Delight said...

there is SO much different things said about sprouting!! I just started sprouting my raw almonds last night after soaking them 8 hours and left them rinsed out over night.Almond Exporter