Learn About Walnuts

Author: Chef Sydney

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What are Walnuts?

A walnut is a fruit grown on a specific family of trees.  Despite being a fruit, we classify a walnut as a nut.  Walnuts have a bumpy and ridged texture, similar to the look of a brain, with thin brown skin and white interior.  Quality walnuts feel somewhat brittle.  They may come whole, halved, or chopped and may or may not have their shells.  If a walnut still has its shell, use a nutcracker to split the shell open.

What Do Walnuts Taste Like?

Walnuts taste earthy and slightly bitter.  They also have a rich flavor.

Walnuts
Walnuts in their shells.

How Do You Eat Walnuts?

Eat walnuts raw or cooked.  Make sure to remove and discard the shell before eating them.  Many people prefer to use walnuts due to their texture.  Walnuts work well in a variety of breakfast foods such as oatmeal, granola, and banana bread.  Apple crisp, chocolate chip cookies, and fudgy brownies benefit from the use of walnuts.  In savory applications, use walnuts to top salads, crust salmon, or add crunch to quinoa.  Some people enjoy walnuts candied or seasoned as a savory snack.

Where Can You Buy Walnuts?

Look for walnuts in the baking aisle of the grocery store.  Some grocery stores may carry walnuts in the produce section, the health food aisle, or the bulk foods aisle.

How Do You Store Walnuts?

Store walnuts in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from light.  To extend their shelf life, store walnuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Fun Facts About Walnuts

Walnuts have a history of being used to treat medical ailments.

Did You Know?

While we love eating walnuts, many people use wood from the walnut tree to make different kinds of furniture.  Its hardness makes it a popular woodworking staple.

Recipes Using Walnuts

Granola

Make chewy granola perfect for breakfast or snacking. Combine rolled oats and walnuts with maple syrup and cinnamon. Spread ingredients in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown. Serve granola on its own, over yogurt, or in oatmeal.

Walnut Rice

Create a tasty side dish using ingredients you may have on hand. Prepare white rice in vegetable broth. Stir in chopped walnuts and dried cranberries or golden raisins.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This sweet side dish will add flair to your next meal. Prepare the sweet potato filling and scoop it into the bottom of a large baking dish. For the topping, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and butter. Sprinkle the walnut mixture over the top of the casserole and bake.

Candied Walnuts

Serve walnuts as a sweet snack. Toss walnuts in maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract. Spread the walnuts in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake until they become slightly crunchy.

Herb Roasted Walnuts

Toss walnuts in olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, onion powder, and paprika. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake until walnuts become slightly crispy.


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