A Guide to Buying and Cooking Wild for Walnuts
Autumn is nut time, and walnuts provide a rich, earthy flavor to a wide variety of dishes, from desserts to main courses. Walnuts are also part of a good diet; they are plentiful in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that eating a handful of walnuts every day can even lower cholesterol. Walnuts are also a terrific source of zinc, thiamin, phosphorus and a good source of potassium and iron.
The best part is, walnuts taste great, too, and are relatively easy to add to your cooking repertoire. Check out Our Deer’s walnut recipes, then read on for other creative uses of fall’s walnut harvest.
How to Buy Walnuts
Never buy shriveled or rubbery shelled walnuts; they are old and will soon turn rancid. Instead, shelled walnuts should snap easily between the fingers, and be plump and meaty. Shelled walnuts go bad quickly, so if you buy them sans shells, use them promptly.
Whole walnuts shouldn’t have holes or cracks in their shells.
How to Store Walnuts
It’s best to store walnuts in the refrigerator in an airtight plastic container or sealable bag. Walnuts still in their shell will last longest, up to 3 months. Or place them in the freezer for up to a year.
How to Cook with Walnuts
While chopped walnuts are a common addition to baked goods, you can also put walnuts in a blender until they nearly become a paste, then substitute the ground nut for about 1/8 or ¼ of the flour the recipe calls for. (To keep the ground nut from clumping, add a tablespoon of cornstarch.)
Other ideas include using minced walnuts in a savory chicken sauce, in pesto, for stuffing squash, in pilaf, on pate, in a stew, mixed in with green beans, in puddings, or in casseroles.
Roasting walnuts gives them stronger flavor and makes them more appealing for snacking. To roast walnuts, place whole or chopped nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees F. Chopped walnuts should bake for about 10 minutes and whole nuts for about 15.
You can also roast walnuts in a cast iron pan. Do not add any oils or fats to the pan, and cook on medium high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often.
Check out the video version of this article on YouTube : Cooking Wild for Walnuts