Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tidbit: Are you Treating your Walnuts right?

            I learned some great info at the AADE conference from a vendor booth! Who better to give great advice about walnuts than the California Walnut Board? They want you to be happy with your walnuts and to treat your walnuts right.
As you know, any fresh food needs TLC, and walnuts are no exception.  Walnuts are heart healthy, contain omega-3 fats and are a decent snack for someone with diabetes because they do not affect blood sugar.
Walnuts contain primarily polyunsaturated fat, which makes them more susceptible to the ill effects of oxygen and heat exposure.

            I have always stored walnuts and other baking nuts in the freezer because I use them often enough for various dishes, but I don’t go through a pound bag very quickly. I detest rancid or “off” flavored nuts, and really do not like having to throw them away if they have turned rancid (but there’s no fixing the flavor once it’s gone).
            Here are tips from the California Walnut Board to keep your walnuts the most flavorful and fresh:
  • If storing for 6 months or less, keep them in the refrigerator.
  • If storing longer than 6 months, keep them in the freezer (0 degrees F).
  • Store in air-tight packaging.
  • Store away from foods with strong odors, such as cabbage and onions.
  • And, don’t chop nuts until you are ready to use them for the best flavor.

           It’s true that walnuts, like other nuts, have quite a bit of fat and calories, but they are a good snack if you can keep your portions in line. About 4 walnuts halves contain 45 calories, so an afternoon snack of 8 to 12 walnut halves can keep  your appetite at bay and maybe keep you from scrounging around for a not-as-healthful candy bar or bag of chips. 
For walnut recipes and more walnut info, check out the California Walnut Board’s site.

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