10 Tips|How to Buy, Eat, Store & Love Nuts & Seeds
Savvy Veg is Crazy About Nuts (and seeds) and You Should Be Too!
Tips on soaking nuts, soaking seeds, how to roast nuts, how to store nuts. Nutritional information for almonds and sunflower seeds included.
If you happen to be allergic to one or more nuts or seeds, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t eat some of the other varieties. Check with your doctor.
Some people object that nuts are fattening – and of course they are if you eat them all day long. 1/2 oz is a serving. That’s 12 almonds, or a small handful, or 1 Tbsp
Nuts and seeds have healthy mono-unsatured fats that your body needs, so you’re better off eating a few nuts and reducing fat elsewhere in your diet.
Plus, nuts and seeds are so nutritious that you don’t need to eat more than a handful or two every day. For instance:
A serving of almonds (1/2 oz or about 12 almonds) has 81 calories, 7 g fat (11% DV), 3 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber, 3.5% DV calcium & iron, 0 cholesterol, 0 sodium, 0 glycemic load, 0 gluten, is a good source of Riboflavin, Magnesium & Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin E.
A serving of sunflower seeds (1/2 oz or 1 Tbsp seeds) has 82 calories, 7 g fat (11% DV), 3 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4% DV iron, 1.5 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol, 0 glycemic load, 0 gluten, is a good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Manganese and Selenium, and a very good source of Vitamin E.
According to Dr. Michael Greger, Nuts may even help you live longer!
10 Ways to Buy, Store, and LOVE Nuts & Seeds!
1. Buy nuts & seeds as fresh as possible and in small amounts that you can use up fairly quickly. Because of their high oil content, nuts and seeds go rancid easily, so if possible test one before you buy. If it tastes anything but fresh and delicious, don’t buy.
2. Bulk bins in a busy natural food store are often a good source for nuts and seeds because they move quickly. Farmers markets and CSAs are a good bet too, because the nuts come direct from farm to you. But again, test before you buy if possible, or at least find out how long they’ve been on the shelf or in the bin.
3. Don’t eat rancid nuts – they can make you quite sick. If you get your nuts or seeds home, and then discover that they’re rancid, don’t hesitate to return them and get your money back. If you’ve had some nuts or seeds around for a while, and they’ve gone off, throw them out.
4. Buy raw unsalted nuts – roasting hastens decomposition, and salt often conceals rancidity.
5. The best way to store nuts and seeds is in the fridge or other cool place, in a tightly sealed glass jar or other container. Store them in the freezer for up to 3 months if you won’t be using them up within a month.
6. Soak Them: Nuts and seeds are usually dried during processing to extend their shelf life. So, ideally, they should be soaked before eating to soften and make them easier to digest, to bring out the full flavor and nutrition, and to reduce bitterness from tannic acid in the outer skin or coating.
7. Always soak nuts in the fridge or other cool place to prevent them going rancid. How long to soak depends on the nut. Hard nuts with tough skins like almonds or hazelnuts should be soaked 24 hours.
Walnuts, which are soft but have a very bitter coating, should be soaked 12 – 24 hours, changing the water once or twice. Cashews, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds need just a few hours of soaking. Very soft nuts like macadamias or pine nuts may not need soaking. Discard the soaking water before eating.
8. Soak only as much as you can use up quickly. But don’t worry if you don’t use them all right away. Just drain, rinse, add fresh water, cover and put them back in the fridge until you’re ready for them.
9. Roast Them: Nuts and seeds are delicious roasted in a pan on the stove, or in the oven. Roast at a low temperature (275 – 300 degrees F) for 10 – 15 minutes, stir as needed, and watch carefully so they don’t burn. Burnt nuts taste awful!
10. There is almost no end to the ways you can love nuts and seeds.
10 Nutty Ideas:
- Eat nuts & seeds raw right out of your hand
- Eat nut or seed butters as spreads or in sauces e.g in Asian Dipping Sauce with Spring Rolls from Robin Robertson
- Combine nuts and seeds with dried fruit in a trail mix to eat on the go
- Make a pie or tart crust with nuts
- Add them (soaked or roasted or not) to salads, casseroles, stir fries, veggie burgers or cereal
- Grind or chop nuts and seeds, add to breads, cookies, bars, muffins, toppings, sauces, dips, dressings, pesto, spreads and cereal
- Make non-dairy milk or cream with almonds, hazel nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, hemp seeds. Soak until soft, blend with water and strain if you like.
- Make your own homemade sour cream, cashew mayo, yogurt or cream cheese with nuts
- Egg Replacer: Combine 1 Tbsp ground flax or chia seeds with 1/4 cup water to replace 2 eggs
- Check out our delicious recipes using nuts and seeds!