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Walnuts – the queen of nuts

When the weather turns cold, people feel like eating nuts. Walnuts are popular for their delicate and slightly bitter aroma. Walnuts have a high energy content – 63% fat and 670 calories per 100 grams. On the other hand, they’re also very healthy with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid. They also supply minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and phosphorus as well as B group vitamins and vitamin E.

The perfect snack

Eat walnuts regularly, but in moderation – as a snack, in a salad or pesto, in a sweet pastry, in jam or as part of a dessert. The fine taste of walnuts harmonizes well with cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate and marzipan, as well as with fruit such as bananas and grapes. Is there any cake more delicious than a coffee and walnut sponge? And what about walnut ice cream, or walnut chocolates? Cold-pressed walnut oil is a high-quality oil and ideal for salads.

The original walnut trees came from Asia. Today walnut trees, which can grow up to 25 m high, is cultivated worldwide in countries with a temperate climate. The shape of the nut depends on the variety; it varies from heart-shaped to ovate, oblong to round. Walnut kernels have a fascinatingly wrinkled and folded shape and look highly decorative.

Buying the best quality or harvesting your own

October to January is the main season for walnuts in their shells, with the main suppliers being the USA and France. Choose whole nuts with an undamaged shell that feel heavy for their size. In Europe, walnuts ripen in September and October. You may be able to buy locally-sourced, freshly harvested walnuts on farmers’ markets or in specialty shops. If you have a walnut tree in your own garden, you should pick up the fallen nuts regularly. Processing them is a rather time-consuming process. The nuts must be washed, dried and turned several times a day to prevent fungal infestation. After about two weeks, they will be ready to be eaten. They can then be hung in portions in nets. In a dry, airy place they will keep several months.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.bzfe.de