acorns, chestnuts and hazelnuts are the only "true" nuts. Almonds, brazils,
cashews, macadamias, peanuts, pecans, pinenuts, pistachios and walnuts are
"seeds". The term "nut" has now been broadened to include the seeds.
Nuts are the edible
fruit from trees or bushes that are enclosed in a shell, of varying degrees of
hardness, which serves as a protective coating from predators. Inside the shell
of each nut is one edible kernel. The outer skin of the nuts is usually bitter
but can be removed by blanching or toasting. Toasting the nuts in the oven
also enhances the nut's buttery flavor and gives them a golden color with added
the nuts, spread on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F (180 degree C)
oven for anywhere between 8-20 minutes. The nuts are done when they are light
golden-brown in color and
The baking time depends on the type and size of the nut. Nuts
can be toasted in advance and stored at room temperature in airtight containers
or plastic bags for up to a week.
sold in various forms: shelled and unshelled; raw, toasted, toasted and salted,
smoked, candied and with various flavorings. Nuts also come whole, chopped, or
ground. When buying unshelled nuts look for nuts that are smooth and
unblemished, heavy for their size, and do not rattle when shaken (except for
peanuts), as rattling indicates the nutmeat is old. Shelled nuts should be
uniform in color and size, and plump looking. Discolored or shriveled nuts
means they are old. Always buy nuts from a place where you know there is a
high turnover rate. Most nuts are at their best in the fall, when they are
Nuts are high in
fat and natural oils which causes them to turn rancid quickly. Store unshelled
nuts in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Shelled nuts are best stored in
the refrigerator or freezer in airtight containers or plastic bags.
made from nuts are flours, nut butters, pastes and oils.
contain a high percentage of fats, mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
TIP: Toasted nuts are less likely
to sink in cakes, quick breads and other baking. Another way to stop nuts from
sinking in batters is to take 1-2 tablespoons (10-20 grams) of flour called for
in the recipe and toss the nuts in it.
TIP: Warm nuts are easier to
TIP: When a recipe calls for
"coarsely" chopped nuts, cut into large pea-size pieces.
TIP: Freshly shelled nuts have
the best flavor but for convenience shelled canned nuts can be used.
TIP: Unsalted nuts have a longer
shelf life than salted ones.
TIP: Chopping nuts by hand
ensures uniformity as opposed to using a food processor.
TIP: If you have bits and pieces
of shell in your shelled nuts, place the nuts in a large bowl of cold water.
The shells will float to the surface and can be skimmed off.