THE ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT NUTS
1. What are the most generally used nuts in the United States?
Almonds Cocoanuts Pine nuts
Brazil Filberts Pistachio
Butternuts Hickory Walnuts (black)
Cashew Peanuts Walnuts (white)
2. Where are these nuts produced?
The peanut, white (English) walnut, pecan, almond, and filbert are produced on a fairly large sale in this country. Brazil nuts come from South America, cashews from India and chestnuts for Southern Europe.
3. Are nuts of any value nutritionally?
Nuts are a very concentrated food. Most of them contain proteins of good quality. However, because they are so rich in fat they are not entirely satisfactory as animal protein substitutes. They are a high energy food, fairly rich in phosphorus, and some contain appreciable amounts of iron. Many kinds of nuts are good sources of B-complex vitamins.
4. Why do nuts become rancid and also turn purplish in some foods?
Flavor of nuts depends on presence of various kinds of nuts, and may easily become rancid just as other fats. This accounts for the disagreeable flavor and odor of stale nuts. To prevent rancidity, nuts should be stored in air tight containers in a cool, dry fairly dark place. Store nuts in the freezer. Tannin gives nuts pucker taste and causes them to discolor certain food. English walnuts often turn purplish in nut bread or Waldorf salad. When apples are cut with a knife, the acid and enzyme act on iron to produce iron slats. When salts come in contact with tannin, a purplish color develops in nuts. Chop nuts with stainless steel or plastic knives.
5. Why are some nuts roasted?
Roasting develops the flavor of mild flavored nuts such as almonds, hickory nuts, and white walnuts. Nuts that have become soft (but not rancid) can be improved in flavor and texture by roasting or toasting. Browning in the oven, or frying in a small amount of fat, being careful to never scorch or burn the nuts, alters the raw flavor in a very pleasing way.
6. What is blanching?
Blanching is removing skin from almonds and similar smooth surfaced nuts. To blanch almonds, pour boiling water over them, simmer 2 or 3 minutes. Drain, cool. Skins then slip off easily. Spread blanched nuts on absorbent paper and allow to dry at room temperature several hours before storing.
7. What are nut butters and pastes?
Nuts are ground medium fine to make butters, and very fine for pastes. Peanut butter is usually ground roasted peanuts with nothing added except salt. Some have small bits of nuts throughout, and others are “homogenized” to a very smooth consistency. The most common paste is almond. This may be made of plain ground almonds, or it may contain other ingredients, such as sugar or flavorings. It is used for macaroons, and other baked products.
8. Is it more economical to buy shelled or unshelled nuts?
Although purchasing shelled nuts saves time and labor, nuts in the shell keep better, are less expensive and not as easily contaminated by insects. Shelled nuts are also subject to contamination by the various handlers, from the shelling process until the nuts are eaten.
9. How are chestnuts prepared?
Make slit on each side of nut with sharp pointed paring knife. Drop into enamel saucepan. Cover with boiling water, boil gently 20 minutes. Remove from heat, take one or two chestnuts at a time from water. Use knife to strip off shell and thin brown skin covering meat. Dip nut from time to time in cold water to help remove shell and skin more easily. Leaving nuts in hot water until shelled keeping shells and skins soft and cleaning job is more easily and effectively done.