Ingredient Guide: Nuts & Seeds
Full of healthy fats as well as protein and fiber, nuts and seeds serve as a great addition to many dishes and can also be enjoyed on their own as a satisfying snack.
These versatile nuts, rich in vitamin E, add delicate flavor and crunch to a variety of dishes and can be found throughout the year. Their sweet flavor is also highlighted in almond extract and almond paste.
These kidney-shaped nuts come from the bottom of a cashew apple. They are sweet in flavor and have a high fat content. Because of large amounts of oleic acid, cashews will last longer than other nuts but are best kept in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator to prevent rancidity.
Full of smokey, sweet flavor, hazelnuts are the key ingredient in nutty spreads and can also be enjoyed roasted in their whole form. They are also called filberts and are grown in temperate climates. To easily remove the skins, bake them for 10 to 15 minutes at 350° and then rub them vigorously with a towel.
Due to their high fat content, these buttery-rich nuts should be properly stored to avoid rancidity. Unopened nuts can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months or frozen for up to 1 year.
These common nuts are actually legumes and are widely grown throughout the South. About half of the crop is used to produce peanut butter. The most common varieties are Virginia peanuts and Spanish peanuts. Raw peanuts can be boiled in the shell, or shelled nuts can be roasted and salted. Shelled peanuts should not be chopped until right before consumption to guarantee freshness.
These native nuts can be found year-round, with their peak season in autumn. They are widely grown throughout the South, and whether chopped, halved, or whole, they add rich, buttery flavor to both sweet and savory dishes.
Also known as pumpkin seeds, this favorite fall snack can be roasted at home and enhanced with sweet or salty flavor. After scooping the seeds from the pumpkin, make sure to boil them for 10 minutes before toasting in the oven. This will further remove any pumpkin membrane still attached. You may also purchase them hulled at many supermarkets year-round.
This essential ingredient in pesto comes from several varieties of pine trees. Pine nuts can be toasted in the oven to bring out their natural flavor. Like macadamia nuts, they have a high fat content and should be stored in an airtight container.
These popular green-colored nuts are available in many forms–roasted, salted, shelled, and unshelled. When purchasing unshelled pistachios, be sure that the shells are slightly opened, indicating that they are mature. They can be stored for up to 3 months in the refrigerator and can be toasted in the oven to restore crispness.
These nuts are made from soaked soybeans that have been baked until crispy. They have a similar taste and texture to peanuts but contain less fat and more protein.
These seeds, rich in polyunsaturated oils and iron, are encased by a hard black and white shell and are harvested from the bold black centers of the sunflower. They can be eaten alone or as an ingredient in many savory dishes. While they are best stored in the refrigerator, they should not be frozen, as it will affect their flavor.
The two most common varieties of this tree nut are the English walnut and the black walnut. They are available year-round and come in three sizes: large, medium, and baby. Unshelled nuts may be stored in a cool, dry place, while shelled nuts should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
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