Sunday, May 18, 2008

word of the day

Apropos of nothing –today’s word from the kitchen is…



nuts.

We get through a stack of them here at chez-food nazi.

Here are some thoughts on the subject:

While toasting/roasting your nuts heightens the flavour, the health obsessed part of me cautions to do this a little as possible. The good oil in nuts is denatured by heat, turning all that wonderful anti-inflammatory action into quite the opposite.

On that subject, general exposure to light and heat will speed up a nut’s journey to rancidity. That is when the oil has turned (as above) and the flavour goes from healthy sweetness, to bitterness of the wrong kind. To avoid this buy nuts in small batches from suppliers with a high turn over and keep in a dark place. Even better if you have the space, refrigerate them.

Almonds are my favourite nut. They contain a significant amount of calcium, magnesium, potassium, folate and Vitamin E – making them a very healthy snack.

Raw nuts contain “good oils” – omega 3’s and other clever constituents in nuts like almonds can actually lower LDL cholesterol. Walnuts are cited as playing a role in the “French Paradox” – where beneficial aspects of a diet can negate some of the coronary causing, harmful ones. Strangely people are quick to slug down the red wine in the name of science but have forgotten about the nuts and bitter leafy greens that were considered equally as important.

Peanuts are actually legumes, growing under ground rather than as fruits on trees. Peanuts are highly prone to being contaminated with aflatoxins, a potentially carcinogenic mold. I prefer other nut pastes, like almond, pistachio or macadamias to peanut butter any day. For a nutty satay sauce try substituting peanuts with cashew nuts.

I fell in love with Pistachios a couple of spring detox’s ago when parsley pesto become my new best friend. They blend well with a variety of fresh green herbs to make a spread or pesto.

When grinding nuts, do it in short bursts. A couple of seconds can be the difference between an almond meal and almond butter!

What’s your favourite nut?

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7 Comments:

Blogger docwitch said...

we too are avid nutters in my household. For me it's a toss-up between almonds and macadamias. I adore that buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture of the macas. But I tend to use almonds more (and they're a bit less expensive).

11:07 am  
Blogger Johanna said...

I love nuts - especially in a nut roast as I am sure you are aware! I generally prefer them roasted. I am not sure I have a favourite nut - although cashew might be it if I had to choose but I am aware of an inner sanctum of nuts in our place - almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts. But some other nuts like brazils get sadly neglected for no good reason other than getting into a rut!

But nuts go in and out of favour with me and I wish I had some nice jars like yours rather than stashing them in odd jars and bags in my pantry and then forgetting about them.

5:10 pm  
Anonymous Zoe said...

I'm quite partial to a pecan.

8:22 pm  
Blogger Lucy said...

Love a pecan, adore a macadamia, but almonds and super fresh walnuts do it for me.

1:44 pm  
Anonymous kitchen hand said...

Traditionally, walnuts; but macadamias are threatening. I love the soft bite of the walnut. Cooked walnuts are sublime.

6:35 pm  
Blogger Wendy said...

I'm curious. What exactly do you do when you detox? How does it make you feel? And what are the benefits? Sorry for all the questions!

5:20 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Wendy, in essence we are detoxing everytime we breath. However, each spring I take about 10 days to go on an extremely healthy diet - no caffeine, alcohol etc. Basically fruit and veg, then add in some whole grains and legumes. Eat less, read less, breath more, calm my head.

8:33 am  

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