Fermented Raw Nut Cheese & Wild Spices


Shelling Pinyon Pine Nuts

My fermented raw nut cheeses have been quite a crowd pleaser (for vegans and non-vegans alike, which is a total win!) and with so many requests for the recipe and process, here it is! My first go at this I used some wild harvested pinyon pine nuts which, let me tell you, was the most laborious adventure I’ve encountered yet. Those things are challenging to shell by hand… especially when you need TWO cups full. Ok, if I didn’t live in the modern world, that would just be life and that’s how you eat.

Here’s the process… and you can replace the cashews/pine nuts with your nut or seed of choice, such as almond, pumpkin or sunflower seed, macadamia, walnut, etc. One of my favorite things about gourmet raw food recipes is that they are so flexible so that modify to your taste or the seasons! If you’re a forager, by all means, try it with pinyon pine nuts… the flavor is incomparable!

Fermented Cashew & Pine Nut Garlic Cheese with Wild Sage Spices

1 cup pine nuts
1 cup cashews
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup spring water
2 tablespoons avocado oil (or substitute your favorite oil)
Probiotic powder or water kefir
Salt to taste

Wild Sage Spices

1 tsp dried white sage
1 tsp dried black sage
2 tsp dried garlic
Salt to taste

Soak the nuts in filtered or spring water for 2-3 hours. Drain and rinse.

Combine all the ingredients for the cheese in a food processor, but ideally a high speed blender will achieve a beautiful, silky smooth texture. Adjust salt if needed.

Next, drain the cheese. Use a cheesecloth to line a colander that fits inside of a bowl to catch the liquid and pour the cheese into the cheesecloth and cover. The excess liquid will seep through the cloth in order to create a thicker, more solid cheese.

Allow this to sit in a warm area for about 2 days in order to ferment. Transfer to the fridge on day 3. On day 4, transfer to a plate and dehydrate (or put into a low temp oven) for a few hours in order to form a nice crust.

Mix ingredients of spice blend with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Sprinkle on top of cheese and enjoy with crisp raw veggies or crackers. Yum!


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About Jess

Jess Starwood

Jess Starwood is an established author, chef, herbalist and educator. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine and Holistic Nutrition. In 2021, she wrote and photographed her first book, Mushroom Wanderland: A Forager’s Guide to Finding, Identifying and Using More Than 25 Wild Fungi.

She also writes regularly for Edible Ojai & Ventura County, Edible San Fernando magazines and The Mycophile—the publication of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA).

Jess founded The Wild Path School where she teaches foraging, wild foods, herbalism and nature education classes for adults and children. She is a member of the Culinary Committee for NAMA and is on the board of directors for the Arizona Mushroom Society and the newsletter editor for the Los Angeles Mycological Society. She has also worked as a wild food consultant and forager for Michelin starred chefs Niki Nakayama and Aitor Zabala. Jess has been featured in National Geographic, The Guardian, and the Orange County Register.

Classes and workshops for adults and children are held regularly in the Greater Los Angeles area and west coast. Weekend and week-long wild food adventures are also occasionally available. Be sure to check out the event calendar or join the mailing list to be notified first of openings and availability.