Welcome to my blog on healthy eating and food safety. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information. This blog will be updated on a regular basis.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Enjoy Heart Healthy and Great Tasting Walnuts

Enjoy Heart Healthy and Great Tasting Walnuts
Many of us have made New Year’s resolutions to make healthy food choices.  One of those great choices is walnuts.  Walnuts have many health benefits.

Walnuts offer a variety of antioxidants. According to an evidence-based review, antioxidants help to protect from certain chronic diseases of aging, including cardiovascular, neurological and anticarcinogenic ailments due to their ability to control free radicals, known to negatively influence healthy aging.

In addition to antioxidants and essential ALA/omega-3 fatty acids, an ounce of walnuts provides a convenient source of protein (4 grams) and fiber (2 grams). Most Americans don't get enough dietary fiber which promotes healthy bowel function and helps you feel full — a key component in maintaining a healthy weight. Walnuts are also a good source of magnesium (44 mg/oz) and phosphorus (98 mg/oz) – both important minerals involved in the body's processes and necessary for achieving optimal wellness.

In-shell walnuts are available in bags and in bulk bins, typically in the produce section. Buy for holiday decorating, festive snacking, and for social after-meal cracking sessions. Most readily available during the fall and winter months, so if you like to have in-shell walnuts on hand throughout the year, be sure to stock up in the fall!

Shelled walnuts are available in bags and in bulk bins. Look for them in the produce section, snacking and baking aisles at your local supermarket. Sold as halves, halves and pieces, pieces and chopped, among other forms. Shelled walnuts are available in supermarkets and club stores year-round.

The fresh taste of walnuts can be maintained by keeping them cold. Walnuts go rancid when exposed to warm temperatures for long periods of time. Heat causes the fat in walnuts to change structure, which creates off odors and flavors. Fresh walnuts smell mildly nutty and taste sweet. If your walnuts smell like paint thinner, you know they’re rancid. And if they’re rancid, you should throw them away!

When bringing walnuts home from the store, the best place to store them is in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on when you’re going to use them. If you’re going to use the walnuts right away, place them in your refrigerator. If you’ll be storing them for a month or longer, store them in your freezer.

If walnuts are in sealed packaging, store in their original packaging. Once the bag is open, transfer the walnuts to an airtight container to maintain freshness. If walnuts are bought in bulk, either in-shell or shelled, place the walnuts in an airtight container for long-term cold storage.

When storing walnuts in your refrigerator, store them away from foods with strong odors (e.g. fish, cabbage, onions). Walnuts can absorb the flavors of other foods.

Wait to shell or chop walnuts until you’re ready to use them. The same applies for ground walnut meal; don’t grind walnuts until you’re ready to add the walnut meal to your recipe. This will help maintain great flavor.

Source: California Walnut Website

 

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