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Walnuts are a delicious way to add extra nutrition, flavor and crunch to a meal. It is a great source of those all-important omega-3 fatty acids. It is no surprise that the regal and delicious walnut comes from an ornamental tree that is highly prized for its beauty. The walnut kernel consists of two bumpy lobes that look like abstract butterflies. The lobes are off white in color and covered by a thin, light brown skin. They are partially attached to each other. The kernels are enclosed in round or oblong shells that are brown in color and very hard.
Walnuts can be chopped horizontally or vertically, with a sharp knife. It can be stored in a tight jar and refrigerated. It comes handy to use whenever required.
Walnuts can be crushed partially or finely as desired. It can be done with either using a mortar and pestle or a grinder. This can be a great addition to any sweet or savoury food items.
Walnuts can be finely powdered in a grinder. This powder can be sprinkled on any sweet preparation.
Toasting nut, in the oven or in the microwave is one of the good ways to avoid addition of fat. There's nothing like the taste of freshly roasted Walnuts. While we love raw and unsalted Walnuts, especially for cooking, roasted and salted make a delightful snacking experience. The sweetness of the nut is enhanced by roasting and a light sprinkling of salt. Roasted Walnuts are widely available, both salted and unsalted, whole or in pieces.
How to Select
Also called as Natural Halves - Walnuts Kernels broken evenly into 2 parts are less expensive than wholes. They are used in economy packs and also for candy bars, sweets and pastry. Splits are crisper than wholes and sometimes preferred for that reason.
While walnuts are harvested in December, they are available year round. When purchasing whole walnuts that have not been shelled, choose those that feel heavy for their size. Their shells should not be cracked, pierced or stained, as this is oftentimes a sign of mold development on the nutmeat, which renders it unsafe for consumption.
Shelled walnuts are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the walnuts are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Whether purchasing walnuts in bulk or in a packaged container, avoid those that look rubbery or shriveled. If it is possible to smell the walnuts, do so in order to ensure that they are not rancid.Culinary Uses
· Mix crushed walnuts into plain yogurt and top with maple syrup.
· Add walnuts to healthy sautéed vegetables.
· Walnuts are great in baked goods and breakfast treats. Some of our favorites include zucchini walnut bread, carrot walnut muffins and apple walnut pancakes.
· Purée walnuts, cooked lentils and your favorite herbs and spices in a food processor. Add enough olive or flax oil so that it achieves a dip-like consistency.
· Sprinkle walnuts onto salads.
· Add walnuts to your favorite stuffing recipe.
· To roast walnuts at home, do so gently-in a 160-170°F (about 75°C) oven for 15-20 minutes-to preserve the healthy oils.
· Make homemade walnut granola: Mix together approximately 1/2 cup of honey, 3 to 4 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses, a tablespoon of vanilla, a dash of salt, and a teaspoon each of your favorite spices, such as cinnamon, ginger and/or nutmeg. Place 6-8 cups of rolled oats in a large bowl and toss to coat with the honey-blackstrap mixture. Then spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 275°F (135°C) for 45 minutes. Cool and mix in 1/2 to 1 cup of walnuts.
· Add a handful of chopped walnuts or almonds to your morning cereal.
· Tossed on to cold cereal or mixed in with hot oatmeal, or other hot cooked cereals, these nuts add crunch, taste and, of course, walnuts and almonds nutrition.
· Make up small bags of walnuts and keep them handy to reach for as a snack.How to Store
Due to their high polyunsaturated fat content, walnuts are extremely perishable and care should be taken in their storage. Shelled walnuts should be stored in an airtight container and placed in the refrigerator, where they will keep for six months, or the freezer, where they will last for one year. Unshelled walnuts should preferably be stored in the refrigerator, although as long as you keep them in a cool, dry, dark place they will stay fresh for up to six months. Health Benefits
· Walnuts are also a very good source of the manganese and a good source of copper.
· They are also a nice source of protein.
· A good source of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) which has favorable effects on helping reduce high cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular wellness.
· Contain relatively high levels of l-arginine, an essential amino acid, which is converted into nitric oxide, a chemical that helps keep the inner walls of blood vessels smooth and allows blood vessels to relax thus helping relieve hypertension issues.
· Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, a special type of fat that is essential for our bodies, but that the body cannot produce.
· Walnuts are also a very good source of monounsaturated fats.
· Walnuts contain many powerful antioxidants and vitamin E.
· The minerals copper and manganese are also found in abundance in these tasty nuts.
· The cholesterol lowering ability of walnuts is also due to the amount of antioxidants, phenols, vitamin E, ellagic acid and gallic acid found in this nut.
· The monounsaturated fat in walnuts has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health and is associated with a reduced risk for heart disease.
· The Omega-3 essential fatty acids in walnuts also provide anti-inflammatory benefits and are helpful if you suffer from asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema or psoriasis.
· Walnuts may be very helpful in preventing gallstones.
· That's a big nutritional bang for a little nut.
· Is considered "brain food" due to its high levels of omega-3.