It may not be on your calendar, but National Nut Day is October 22. Nuts are harvested in the fall, so it’s appropriate to observe the goodness of these nutrient-rich nuggets. It’s also the reason this month’s theme from TheRecipeRedux is all about nuts and the reason I’m making Chai Walnuts. The fragrance alone make these worth making!
But that’s not the the sole reason for this post – I love nuts – in all forms. I eat a peanut butter (crunchy!) sandwich several times per week. I use peanut butter in a cold peanut noodle dish. I add chopped nuts to granola, popcorn, breads and cookies, toast them to add to salads or eat for a snack, stir them into ice cream, and sprinkle them over oatmeal and yogurt. Just like this photo. 😉
Like all nuts, walnuts are rich in fat. To keep the fat from becoming rancid, cold storage is best. Shelled walnuts will beep up to a year in the refrigerator or up to 2 years in the freezer. I use them so often that I can’t attest to the 2-year shelf life. I’ve never been able to keep them that long! When you do store them, pack in tightly sealed containers because shelled nuts absorb moisture and flavors from other foods.
Here are a few reasons why walnuts fit into a LiveBest lifestyle…
Walnuts are unique because they are the only nut with a significant amount of the health promoting Omega-3 fats. Omega-3s are heart and brain friendly. Flax and canola oil are other good plant sources of these fats. Of course, walnuts alone don’t keep your brain in tiptop condition – all the foods on your fork impact health, but a handful a day can’t hurt. A serving of nuts is not much more than a handful – just 14 halves or 1/4 cup chopped.
I appreciate shelled walnuts! According to the California Walnut Board, California walnuts account for 99 percent of the commercial US supply and three-quarters of world trade. Growing up in central California, my mom took advantage of the local food. She would bring home a large burlap sack filled with nuts, then assign walnut shelling to me and my sister. It was probably one of her tactics to keep us occupied. We’d sit on the newspaper-lined garage floor and tap, tap, tap with a hammer. The goal was to pull out a perfect half. I’m sure we ate more than we gathered. Still today, I love a perfect walnut half.
Since I’m nutty about nuts, I regularly play around with different spices and herbs to flavor walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds.
These Chai Walnuts are almost always in my kitchen. I developed this recipe as a topping for oatmeal and yogurt. More spicy than sweet, it delivers flavor and crunch. Besides the healthy fats, walnuts provide protein and fiber, so these make every spoonful of breakfast a healthier bite that gives me a lasting energy boost. But don’t stop with breakfast. Serve them as a cocktail snack, on a cheese board, over ice cream or fro yo, as trail mix, and as a hostess gift. Let me know if you like them.Print
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- dash salt
- 3 cups walnuts
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl stir together oil, brown sugar, and spices. Add walnuts. Stir to coat. Spread in single layer on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, stir. Bake 10 minutes more, until nuts are toasted.
Check out what my RecipeRedux bloggers are doing with nuts: whole nuts, chopped nuts, ground nuts, nut butter and/or nut flour. It’s crazy! Er…it’s nuts!