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Roasted or toasted, fragrant nuts can add crunch and goodness to so many recipes, or seriously satisfy as a snack on the go. Fran Abdallaoui cracks open their secrets.
top tips for buying, storing and roasting nuts
Buy nuts from places with a high turnover. While supermarkets do have high turnover, long warehouse storage can lessen this advantage. Seek out organic or health food stores, as they have an appreciation for freshness. Or keep an eye out for nuts at your farmers market. Buy them in smaller quantities more frequently.
Nuts are high in oils, which makes them prone to rancidity. Store in airtight containers in the freezer to prevent the oils going “off”.
Roasting accentuates the flavour and hides any staleness, especially when they’ve been kept frozen. With the exception of pine nuts, it is better to roast them in the oven as opposed to the stove top, as it’s harder to heat the nuts through sufficiently without scorching the exterior first. Most nuts will take 8 minutes in a 180°C oven. If the nuts are baked on the top of a dish, they will roast in the cooking time so there’s no need to pre-roast them.
Nuts for health
Most nuts predominantly contain monounsaturated fat similar to that in extra virgin olive oil so are considered healthy fats when consumed in moderation. Nuts are also rich in fibre, protein and valuable antioxidants, which contribute to heart health. Almonds are particularly high in vitamin E, so a handful is all you need for your daily quota.