Monday, June 3, 2013

Nuts - Tips (Buying, Cooking & Storing)

A variety of nuts are used in Indian cooking. Nuts can be a healthy food. Just be careful of their salt (sodium) and calories! 

A handful of nuts a day (about 1/4 cup) promote health, can improve glycemic control, lower your risk of heart disease and help prevent a heart attack. 

Nuts do not have cholesterol but they do have fat. You can count on 160 – 200 calories per one ounce of nuts. Some people object that nuts are fattening – and of course they are if you eat them all day long.

Nuts and seeds have healthy mono-unsatured fats that your body needs, so you’re better off eating  a few nuts and reducing fat elsewhere in your diet.
 
Buying tips :-
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# Unshelled nuts taste fresher, has a longer shelf life and are cheaper. Whenever possible, buy nuts with the shell casing. The shells have to be clean with no holes or cracks on it. If the nuts rattle inside, they have become dry and shriveled. 

# Crisp, plump and meaty kernels indicate high quality. Unless you plan to use kernels as a garnish, they do not need to be uniform in size.

# When you buy shelled nuts, make sure the nuts look plump and not discolored. If possible, taste some to make sure they have not gone rancid. 


# Fresh nuts should feel heavy for their size and should be plump and firm and uniform in size; they should not be shriveled, wrinkled, or discolored. 

# If purchasing nuts in the shell, look for whole, unbroken shells. Shake the shells -- if the nut is rattling around, it is probably old and dried out.

Preservation/Storage tips :-
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Nuts can be refrigerated for up to several weeks, and should be frozen if you're going to keep them for any longer than that.

# Vacuum sealed packages can of course be stored at room temperature. Unsalted nuts last longer than salted nuts. 


# Seeds and nuts, both shelled and unshelled, keep best and longest when stored in the freezer. 

# Nuts in the shell crack more easily when frozen.       

# Put a couple of cloves to the container of the dry fruits

# Store raisins in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for much longer. Pour very hot water over them if they had harden, after that drain them immediately, and spread on a paper towel to dry.

Cooking Tips :-
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# Use a food processor or mortar and pestle to grind nuts. If you don't have either, you can always place them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin, glass bottle, or meat tenderizer.
# You can chop nuts with a cutting board or place them in Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
# Before chopping nuts in a food processor, dust them with flour. This keeps the nuts from sticking to the processor. 
#  You can also chop them in a food processor. Add a little sugar to the processor, it will absorb the oil from the nut and will prevent it from turning into a paste. 

# You can crack hard shells more easily by freezing them for a few hours first. You can coax stubborn nutmeats out of the cracked shell by dropping them into water. The nuts sink to the bottom and the shell floats on top.
# Don’t eat rancid nuts – they can make you quite sick.
# Nuts and seeds are usually dried during processing to extend their shelf life. So, ideally, they should be soaked before eating to soften and make them easier to digest, to bring out the full flavor and nutrition, and to reduce bitterness from tannic acid in  the outer skin or coating.

# To bring out the flavor in raw nuts or seeds, place them in a heavy pan (such as a cast-iron skillet) and toast them over low heat until they are golden brown and fragrant.  

# Watch them carefully and shake the skillet frequently to keep them from scorching.  

# Toasted almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds add a delicious crunch to hot cereal or salads--along with some protein, fiber, and healthy fats.


More Tips !! 
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Almonds :-
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# To remove the skins of Almonds , soak almonds in hot water for 20 minutes.  The skin will peel off easily.

Hazel nut :-
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Spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them in a 350ºF oven until they are golden and fragrant (12 to 15 minutes).


*To skin hazelnuts after toasting, let them cool a bit, and then pour the nuts onto a clean kitchen towel spread out on a work surface. Gather the towel around the nuts and rub together until most of the skins have come off (don't worry about getting off every bit).

Walnuts :-
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# Walnuts which have an "old" taste can be improved in flavour by pouring boiling water over them, then spreading in a shallow pan and heating in the oven. Stir often to prevent burning.

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Related posts :- 
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Click here for more :- Tips
Click here for more :- Almond Recipes

Click here for more :- Walnut Recipes  

 
  Cheers,

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