When people think of real nuts, they think about acorns, hazelnuts and chestnuts – each of which are considered the real thing. However, Brazils, almonds, macadamias, cashew nuts, pecan, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts and pine nuts can also be grouped as nuts even though these are really seeds. In modern thinking, seeds are also now considered as being nuts.
Nuts – how are they obtained?
Howsoever one many think of them, nuts are obtained as fruits from a tree or bush. These fruits are edible and are normally enclosed in shells which are hard and which help to provide protection from various predators. Within the shell of each nut lies a single kernel that is edible by nature. Their outer skins are quite bitter and so need to be removed through toasting and/or blanching. When toasted in ovens, the taste turns more buttery and the color turns to a golden brown and there is added crunchiness to the nuts as well.
They can also be toasted in which case they need to be spread on baking sheets and baked at temperatures of about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. They need to be toasted for between eight and twenty minutes and you can stop the toasting as soon as you notice the color turning to a light golden brown and when you can smell their fragrance.
Shelled and unshelled
Depending on the size as well as variety of the nut, you will want to vary their toasting time. Today, they are being sold in many different forms including shelled as well as unshelled. They are also available as raw and toasted as well as toasted and salted varieties. Then, there are smoked varieties, candied as well as with different flavors. They are also available as whole and chopped as well as ground varieties.
If you wish to purchase the unshelled varieties then you need to look for those that do not have any blemishes and which are absolutely smooth. They should also be slightly heavy for their size and must not rattle if shaken (peanuts are an exception). The rattling sound will indicate that the nut-meal has aged.
Shelled varieties must possess uniformity of color and size and they should also look quite plum as well. If the nuts look shriveled or discolored then that would indicate that they have become too old. It is also a good idea to purchase them from a vendor that enjoys a high turnover. It is also a good idea to purchase them in the fall season when they are going to be harvested.
As for the health benefits, nuts provide a number of them. So, not only are they very tasty but they contain some very desirable nutrients such as healthy fats which are required by the human body. They have high amount of calories but at the same time they offer some excellent nutrients. Eating nuts can help to reduce risk of heart ailments, and they provide plenty of proteins.
Nuts can help to reduce your blood pressure and they help to strengthen the bones as well as contain plenty of fiber. All in all, nuts are a good choice for those who want to provide their bodies with proper nutrition