Walnuts: A Great Fall Food

I’m glad to see the walnut getting its due attention In this recent New York Times article (which also includes a delicious recipe for Bulgarian Cucumber Soup With Walnuts!). In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), walnuts have a multitude of health benefits. They tonify the kidneys which, according to TCM, are responsible for maintaining brain functioning. Walnuts strengthen muscles by nourishing the blood, relieve asthma by warming the lungs, aid in digestion and have sweet and warming properties, which means they are great for this season!

Nutritionally, walnuts provide a lot micronutrients: potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, zinc, copper, vitamins B9, B6, E, A and substantial amounts of dietary fiber, which eases constipation. They are also full of essential fatty acids like linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid.

How to Eat More Walnuts: Freshly shelled walnuts taste great eaten raw or cooked. Add raw walnuts to salads. Chop them up small and eat with a baked apple or pear or add them to your baked goods – breads, muffins, and cookies. Roast them as an appetizer or add them to a grain dish – like rice, quinoa or pasta.

How to roast walnuts? Spread them onto a baking sheet and place them in the oven for a few minutes (until lightly brown).
To toast them, place them in a skillet with a little bit of oil.

Walnut oil is another way to get the essential fatty acids (but not the fiber). Walnut oil is wonderful in salad but does not react well to heating so it’s not recommended for cooking.

A Note About Storage
: Because of their high fat content, walnuts turn rancid quickly. Chopped or ground walnuts turn rancid more easily than walnuts in the shell. 
 If they are stored in a cool place in the shell, you can keep them for up to a year. 
If you prefer to buy them unshelled, store them in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place. You do not want to keep them for more than a month.

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