Sprouting Seeds, July 18
This month's theme was sprouting seeds. Sprouting seeds is an important step when you're eating any kind of seed, nut or grain. It involves a period of soaking, followed by a cycle of thorough rinsing and draining. The idea is that prior to soaking, seeds are hard to digest because they require extra energy to break down. By sprouting them you're waking them up and priming them for optimal digestion. Check out this soaking wheel that tells you how long to soak and sprout certain seeds. Also Sprout People is an extremely useful resource and guide.
On to the fun part...what to do with all these soaked nuts? For an hour we became mad scientists and experimented with different nuts, sweeteners and spices. Chocolate hazelnut and almond milk, anyone? We learned you don't need to add much sweetener, a bit of salt is great for balancing flavours, and it's really fun squeezing out your own milk. Most of all, we learned what it felt like to far exceed one's daily caloric intake with that much nut milk after a potluck.
Taste verdict: Homemade over supermarket any day - it actually tastes like the nut. You think duh, but now I realize that Almond Breeze doesn't taste like anything, what with the other added stuff in it. Just like all tasty homemade things however, nut milk's shelf life is not long. Mine only lasted for 3 days before it became a gross snot-like texture. If you're keen on having it regularly with your cereal, you'll have to develop a routine of sprouting and milking.
Cost: It turned out to be about the same depending on the type of nut or deal you get. I found $5.50/lb for hazelnuts at Ayoub's on west 4th and Arbutus, $5/lb for almonds and $6/lb for cashews at the Persian grocery store on Broadway and Macdonald.
Which leads me to ask: Where do you find the cheapest nuts in the city?