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All about nuts

 

Research shows that eating nuts and seeds has many health benefits. Nuts can help keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure low. They may protect you against some cancers and improve your bowel health.   Read on to learn more about using nuts.

For more on the health benefits of nuts read Choose Nuts and Seeds More Often.

 

 



Buying nuts

Try to buy nuts from a busy store. That way the stock is often refilled and the nuts don’t go bad. Most nuts should not be stored in bulk bins for more than 1 month because they can go bad quickly. If you can, buy nuts that are still in their shells because they will last longer.

Choose nuts that look fresh. Avoid those that are shriveled, moldy, bruised or give off a bad smell. Nuts that give off an unpleasant odour may be rancid (rotten). 

Choose plain unsalted nuts most often. You’ll get the great flavour of nuts without added sugar or sodium.


Storing nuts

The best way to store nuts is in an airtight container in a cool dry place, like the refrigerator. If storing at room temperature, store away from direct heat or light. 

You can also freeze nuts. When freezing, use an airtight container or heavy duty freezer bag. If nuts develop an off flavour, bad smell or grow mold, throw them out.


Storage times for nuts (without their shell)

Type

Pantry

Fridge

Freezer

Almonds

Keep refrigerated

 

9 months

12 months

Brazils

Keep refrigerated

 

Up to 9 months

Up to 12 months

Cashews

Keep refrigerated

 

6 months

12 months

Chestnuts

Keep refrigerated

4-5 days

9-12 months

Macadamia

Keep refrigerated

 6 months

 9-12 months

Peanuts

Keep refrigerated

3 months

9-12 months

Pecans

Keep refrigerated

9 months

2 years

Pine nuts

2-3 months

Up to 12 months

Up to 12 months

Pistachios

Keep refrigerated

3 months

12 months

Walnuts

Keep refrigerated

6 months

12 months


Using nuts

Nuts come in a variety of forms. You can find them whole, chopped, flaked, dry roasted, oil roasted, salted, spiced, sugared, ground into flour, pastes and butters, and even made into milk. As a result, there are many ways to add them to your meals. Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy the great taste of nuts and seeds more often.

*Remember, that while nuts are nutritious they do have a lot of fat and calories. Some varieties will also have added sugar and salt. Choose most often plain unsalted nuts. A Canada’s Food Guide serving of nuts is 60 mL (1/4 cup). This is about the amount that can fit into the palm of your hand.  


BREAKFAST:

  • Try almond, cashew or sesame butter (tahini) instead of peanut butter on your toast. 
  • Add unsalted chopped nuts to hot or cold cereal, yogurt, smoothies and muffins. 

Recipes:

Canadiana Yogurt

Tropical Walnut Smoothie, Heart and Stroke Foundation

Pumpkin Seed and Walnut Porridge, Heart and Stroke Foundation


LUNCH: 

  • Add crunch to sandwiches with dry roasted unsalted peanuts or pistachios. (Crush or chop the nuts so they don’t roll out when you take a bite.)
  • Top salads and soups with unsalted walnuts or almonds. (Increase the flavour of nuts by lightly toasting them. Place nuts in a dry frying pan over medium to high heat for 3-5 minutes. Nuts can burn quickly, so watch them carefully).

Recipes:

Bagel Crunch

Carrot and Apple Salad

Oriental-Style Chicken, Veggie and Cashew Salad


DINNER:

  • Try to eat one vegetarian dinner each week and use nuts as your protein source.
  • Add unsalted nuts to stir fries, noodles, rice or vegetable dishes.
  • Use ground nuts for coating chicken or fish instead of flour.

Recipes:

Chicken in Mexican Mole

Italian Vegetable Bake with Lentils and Pine Nuts, Heart and Stroke Foundation

Broccoli Cashew Stir-fry, Heart and Stroke Foundation

Halibut with Cilantro Pesto, Heart and Stroke Foundation


SNACKS:

  • Keep unsalted nuts in your desk drawer, car, or knapsack to grab while on the go. (Don’t forget to mark the bag or container with the date, so you know how long they’ve been there. Remember to follow the storage recommendations for safe and proper handling. ) 
  • Substitute ground nuts (nut meal) for wheat flour in baked goods. This will change the texture, so limit to ¼ cup substitution.   

Recipes:

Oatmeal Blueberry Walnut Muffins, Heart and Stroke Foundation

Fibre-Power Biscotti, Dietitians of Canada

You may also be interested in:

Your challenge – choose nuts and seeds more often!

Vegetarianism FAQs

Introduction to protein

 

Copyright © Dietitians of Canada 2016. All rights reserved.

Dietitians of Canada acknowledges the financial support of EatRight Ontario by the Ontario government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.