Nuts are one of my favorite snacks. Some folks think I’m nuts. Wait – does that make me a cannibal? Nevermind…you need to make these Rosemary Walnuts for your next party or even for your family just because you want them to feel special. Aromatic rosemary complements the rich, toasted walnuts perfectly, and a touch of ground cayenne pepper kicks it up a bit. You can use more or less depending on the strength of your cayenne. Rosemary Walnuts are meant to be a savory snack, not a HOT & SPICY one – the pepper is just there to enhance the flavor. If you know you’ve got super hot cayenne, halve the amount used. If you have found yourself avoiding nuts because they’re hard to digest, you’ll want to keep reading after the recipe for a way around that issue.
Rosemary Walnuts Recipe
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons dried whole rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or 3/4 teaspoon white table salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 2 cups walnut halves (soaked and dried, if desired. See below.)
Put the butter and seasonings in a heavy pan, and warm over low heat until the butter melts. Leave it on the heat for a couple minutes longer to allow the rosemary to permeate the butter. Add the walnuts, stirring until all the nut halves are well-coated with the seasoned butter. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake at 350F. Bake for 10 minutes if using nuts that have been previously soaked and dried. Otherwise, bake about 15 minutes. Allow to cool before tasting, no matter how tempting they smell, or you will burn the dickens out of your mouth. (I learn these things the hard way so you don’t have to. It’s a public service I perform unintentionally.) Serve at room temperature. Store leftover nuts in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
Making Nuts More Digestible
Walnuts and other tree nuts, like all “seed foods” contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. The enzyme inhibitors, which prevent seeds from germinating until they are planted, can affect the ability of enzymes in your digestive system to properly digest the nuts or seeds. You can simulate the effect of planting by soaking the nuts, which will neutralize the enzyme inhibitors. They can be used in this soaked state, if desired, or dried at very low heat in an oven or by using a dehydrator.
The phytic acid in seeds, grains, legumes and nuts has a chelating effect in the body. It reduces the bioavailability of minerals in the food you eat — and NOT ONLY the minerals in the seed food, but in the other food that is in your digestive system at the same time. In the intestinal tract, the phytic acid in seed foods will bind with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc, blocking its absorption. So, while the minerals may exist in the food you consume, it’s changed into a form that your body cannot use, and they are eliminated with wastes. If your diet consists largely of seed foods that have not been properly prepared, deficiencies may develop over time, possibly leading to health issues.
In a 2 quart bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of sea salt in water. Add 4 cups of walnut halves, then enough water to cover the nuts by a few inches. Leave the bowl in a warm place for 7 to 8 hours, or overnight. The water will be cloudy in the morning. Drain off the water, rinse the nuts well a few times until water runs clear. Spread nuts in a stainless steel baking dish or cookie sheet, and dry in an oven set at no more than 150F. A dehydrator set at 150F may be used instead. Time to dry will be 12 to 24 hours — until they are dry and quite crisp.
This same procedure can be used for pecans or almonds, however for almonds, the salt should be increased to 1 tablespoon for 4 cups of nuts.
Bobbie Laughman is an elder caregiver, writer and Slightly Nuts Person, who lives in Gettysburg, PA. You can contact her with questions or feedback at Bobbie@home-ec101.com