Food Topic: All about nuts
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Nuts are seeds that are covered with a hard shell. Most grow on trees, but a few grow on plants and are not strictly considered nuts except for culinary purposes.

 Nuts can be used in many ways. Whole, slivered and ground nuts and nut butters are widely available.

 Nuts can be added to sweet dishes, cakes and biscuits, salads, and nut butters can be added to soups and stews to thicken them.

Nuts in general are very nutritious, providing protein and many essential vitamins, such as A and claims of the best natural source of vit. E, minerals, such as phosphorous and potassium, and fiber. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts are also high in carbohydrates and oils, so shouldn't be eaten in excess.

 Nuts should be stored in cool, dry conditions in airtight containers away from the light. Because of their high fat content, many of them benefit from storage in the fridge or freezer to keep them from going rancid.  

 There are a lot of nuts on the market, though some technically aren’t nuts.  Coconuts and pine nuts are seeds and peanuts are legumes.  In recipes, most nuts can be used interchangeably.

 Roast nuts before using, even in baked goods for a nuttier flavor- bake @ 350°F for 10 minutes, stirring once half way through the baking time. Cool before using.

For a great salad topper- mix coarsely chopped roasted nuts with raisins and dried cranberries

 

Replace the more expensive pine nuts in pesto with roasted walnuts:

 Pesto

2 c loosely packed basil leaves
1/3 c roasted walnuts
2 cloves garlic
˝ c grated parmesan cheese
˝ c olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze in ice cube trays and thaw as needed.  Great spread on whole grain crackers and cheese or as a last minute addition to soups and stews (a nice touch to canned soup especially tomato soup)

  

 

 

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