Walnuts are part of my childhood. Every year around September my family (as well as many others) gather and go collect walnuts from trees that grow nearby. It has become tradition for us and even though, I am not part of this anymore, I often go back in my memories (especially around the harvest time) and think how fun it was for us kids. Climbing the trees, shaking the branches (not that we-kids managed to shake much out of them) and then collecting them (actually more like looking for them as mostly there was high grass + a lot of nettles growing around the trees) in large burlap sacks. Then, when the adults were happy with the amount harvested, we would go back to my grandparents’ and would take them out, clear them from the thick green husks – now this was the messiest part as if you didn’t use thick gloves for this, you ended up having black hands for many many days. So if you meet people with black hands around this time of the year, you know what they’ve been up to ?. Once the walnut shells were ”freed” from the husks, they needed to be dried. We use some old large, small (or any really) wired frames where we put them and air-dry them. Then with the winter approaching I would find my granddad many weekend evenings sitting in the kitchen cracking the shells so we would have nuts to take home with us.
I don’t remember eating many of them back then, though. I have to say, I preferred the fresh ones, the ones that are still white and have this very thin skin on which is very bitter and sometimes impossible to take off. But those are the real deal. I don’t know, if it is actually possible to buy the fresh ones as I have never seen it so far. But as a kid I would just sit next to anyone who was clearing them from husks and with a stone I would crack it open to get the white fresh parts –kernels. Like I’ve said, the skin was bitter and there was no other way to get the delicious kernel than simply taking your time and peeling it off. But it was worth it! It was like a treat, better than sweets! Would you believe this?
So here I am now, reminiscing while eating walnuts from the same trees (I was so lucky to get a new supply from home). As I have received quite a good portion of them, I have been using them in baking a lot lately. And, well, they are good for you.
So why are walnuts good for you?
- Great source of energy
- Contain Omega 3 fatty acids
- Cholesterol free
- Rich in minerals (magnesium, iron, manganese), antioxidants, vitamins
- Good source of Vitamin E, B-complex (good for brain and nerves)
Where to use walnuts:
- Breakfast – Roughly chopped and accompanied with grapes are perfect with Greek yogurt
- Lunch – Toss some of them into your salad (Try our zucchini & walnut salad)
- Dinner – Try adding them to your stir-fry
- Snacks – They are delicious on their own or try combination banana with walnuts
- Dessert – There are many desserts using walnuts, simply add them to your cakes or pies ( Vanilla & Walnut crescent cookies)
Walnuts in shells should be stored in a dark, dry place. They can keep up to a year. When buying these, make sure to check for mould, cracks and their color.
Walnuts without shells (kernels) go off way faster and that is why they should be stored in an airtight container in a fridge. There is nothing worse than walnuts gone rancid. Also, walnuts are good at absorbing smells, so make sure the container is really airtight.
So here it is – my walnut story and some fact that you could find helpful!
Have a nice day!
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