Happy National Nut Day! To celebrate, create a snack that's quick and easy to prepare: chili- and honey-infused almonds and peanuts. Watch cookbook author and aphrodisiac expert Amy Reiley whips up this sumptuous nut snack.
We've all been there: going a little bulk-bin happy and ending up with a lifetime supply of walnuts or pumpkin seeds. Months later, when you rediscover the stash, you come to the devastating realization that they've gone completely rancid, and all of that money has gone to waste! It's a challenge to know how long nuts and seeds will last, but there are tricks to buying and storing them to extend their shelf life so that you don't end up tossing the majority in the trash. Here are a few rules to live by:
- Taste-test before you buy: Nuts and seeds are expensive, but buying them in bulk is not only more economical; it also allows you to taste a few to make sure the batch is fresh and not rancid. Additionally, those from the bulk bins tend to have a higher turnover than prepackaged nuts, so there's a lower chance of rancidity.
- Only buy what you need: Ignore the special two-for-one sales, and only buy what you need for the week. It's better to replenish your nut and seed stashes frequently to ensure that you are using the freshest nuts and seeds available, rather than cashing in on deals, because chances are that, if they're on sale, the nuts and seeds are past their prime.
- Buy whole, raw nuts: Chopped, sliced, ground, or blanched nuts and seeds have a shorter shelf life than whole, raw varieties. These processed versions produce oxidize faster, because the oils inside the nuts and seeds are exposed to more air. When it makes sense for your recipes, try to avoid precut varieties.
In most cases, nuts are a good thing, especially when found in snacks. From almonds and cashews to salty peanuts, nuts and legumes are packed with protein and a dose of heart-healthy omega-3s. In fact, a recent study showed that those who ate an ounce of raw almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts a day had higher levels of feel-good hormone serotonin, which can act as an appetite suppressant. If you need anymore reasons to go nuts at your 3 p.m. snack time, here are eight nutty snacks to keep you sane — and healthy!
While I certainly enjoy digging into a store-bought bag of trail mix from time to time, more often than not, I find myself compelled to tweak and tinker in order to find the exact flavor profile I'm after. Experimentation is key, but I generally stick to a few essential guidelines when compiling a new signature blend.
- Roast your nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds shine when roasted briefly; simply preheat your oven to 350ºF, lay the nuts out on a sheet pan in a single layer, and toast for 6-10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden. Alternatively, buy them pre-roasted, or toast them on the stove.
- Don't forget the salt! Sweet flavors perk up when enhanced with a pinch of salt. Consider including at least one salty element to your trail mix, such as roasted salted peanuts, almonds, shelled pistachios, or cashews; peanut-butter-stuffed pretzel bites; pretzel M&M's; or yogurt-covered pretzels. If none of those flavors jive with your flavor profile, simply toss dried fruits with a pinch of flaky sea salt.
Enter the trail mix section at Trader Joe's: the seemingly endless shelf is packed with nearly a dozen varieties from candy-laden Peanut Butter Cups Trax Mix to healthier, nut-and-dried-fruit-studded Omega Trek Mix. Even though the immense offerings initially overwhelmed us, we were curious to learn which variety reigns supreme. In the interest of saving you from snapping up a dud, we crunched, chewed, and savored the lot. See which winners emerged.
Nuts are one of our favorite foods. Convenient for snacking, they're loaded with protein and healthy fats. But nuts are also high in calories (and some more than others), making it necessary to watch portion sizes when noshing on these nuggets of energy. From almonds to walnuts, we've created a visual breakdown of the most popular nuts so you can see just how many it takes to hit the 100-calorie mark.
Historically, walnuts haven't been an ingredient that comes to mind often when I'm cooking — I typically eat them out of my hand and in banana bread, but that's about it. But recently, I attended a seminar with cooking host Joanne Weir and the California Walnut Board and Commission, where we enjoyed a walnut-centered lunch. From that broadening meal, I learned so many new ways to incorporate the healthy and delicious nut into more recipes. A few of my favorite takeaways:
- Add chopped toasted walnuts to homemade aioli: I enjoyed a dish of roasted asparagus, boiled eggs, and homemade toasted walnut allioli (Spanish aioli) that was transformative. The chopped walnuts added great texture and crunch to the dish, and complemented the garlicky sauce perfectly.
- Top pizzas with walnuts: The Spanish pizza we enjoyed was topped with walnuts, bringing a delicious crunch and nuttiness to each bite.
- Make walnut butter: Walnut butter is straightforward and simple, and would be great atop crostini as an appetizer.
- Add them to salsa verde: Toasted walnuts bring an earthy flavor to a bright, zesty sauce such as Italian salsa verde. We enjoyed it topped on crispy roasted salmon.
Find more ideas for walnuts when you keep reading.
I have a newfound appreciation for all things almond these days. I really appreciate the texture and the flavor (not to mention the health benefits) that this oblong nut brings to recipes. On its own, it stands out as a superb snack or appetizer, but it can also add some serious crunch factor to seemingly mundane dishes. Here are five ways to eat up the almonds sitting in your pantry.
- Toss up raw, unsalted almonds with salt, black pepper, olive oil, and your favorite herbs and spices and roast them at 375° Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes for a savory snack.
- Toast almonds in a pan over medium-high heat to get maximum flavor, then add them into any salad.
- Keep a bag of sliced almonds in your freezer and add them to your morning oatmeal or sprinkle over pancakes for extra crunch and flavor.
- Make your own almond milk, dry the leftover solids, and use them in baked goods!
- If you're looking for a truly homemade challenge, grind them into a meal and use them in French macarons.
What's your favorite way to enjoy almonds?
Source: Flickr User mynameisharsha
Nuts are one of the best foods you can nosh on because they're full of healthy fats, contain protein and fiber to fill you up, are cholesterol-free, and they're a great snack you can easily pack with you wherever you go. A serving size of nuts is one ounce, which is about a handful. Considering my handful and my hubby's handful look a lot different, I thought it'd be good to go over what exactly one ounce of nuts looks like. Take this quiz to see if you know.
It's inevitable that the snack table is one of the most popular socializing zones in the house during the holiday season. Due to their close proximity to the television, treat-filled coffee tables are prime targets for unconscious nibbling — and who doesn't like snacking while watching a sporting event or a favorite Christmas movie? This year, try removing the bowls of candies and chocolates and replacing them with healthier snack options. Here are some of my favorites that are just as tasty, and your guests won't even know the difference!