Information about walnuts plus Walnut Recipes
Walnuts origins uses recipes
are the fruit of a large deciduous tree belonging to the family
Of the 60 varieties about 20 are edible. They are unique amongst
nuts because most of the fat in walnuts is polyunsaturated which are
said to lower cholesterol.
and History of Walnuts
specieis Juglans regia, also known as the English,
Persian or Common Walnut
the species most often cultivated for culinary use. It originates in
eastern Europe and eastward to the Himalayan mountains, although
there are other Juglans native
to the Americas and Asia.
earliest records of the
growing of orchards of walnut trees date back to the classical Greek and Roman
times although in the Périgord region
in Southwest France, excavations have revealed
fossilised shells of the nuts which were roasted during the Neolithic
period, more than eight thousand years ago.
Latin name Juglans Regia is derived from the name
glans which translates to
“Jupiter’s Acorn”. This description comes from the classical golden
age when it was said that while ordinary men lived on Acorns, Jupiter and his
fellow gods feasted on walnuts. The modern name however comes from the German Wallnuss
which means “foreign nut”.
growing of walnut groves in Europe took off
in the 1500's however they are now grown worldwide with California being
the largest producer.
Processing and Storage of Walnuts
trees thrive in temperate zones and require deep but well drained alluvial type
soils. After an orchard is planted,
it takes approximately seven years before its first yield however, once
established it will continue to bear quality fruit for as long as 100 years.
main harvesting of the mature fruit (nuts)
takes place in the autumn but the immature green fruit can also be
harvested in the summer before the hard shell has formed. These soft fruit are
processed by soaking in a strong brine solution then dried until they turn
black. They are then pickled in vinegar and are excellent served with cold meats
and cheeses and are especially good with cold roast turkey and ham. They have
the added benefit of keeping for several years if stored in an air-tight jar.
Harvesting of the matured
nuts begins when the protective green hulls containing the brown nut split. A
mechanical shaker is used commercially and once shaken to the ground, mechanical
harvesters pick them up for cleaning and hulling.
They are then transferred into a hopper where they are air-dried to 8%
moisture level. This prevents deterioration of the nut and protects its quality
during storage. Before modern mechanization they were dried in the sun.
nuts are then either sold as they are or mechanically cracked and shelled then
packaged. They are also processed
into oil. Walnut Oil has a strong nutty flavour which is excellent when drizzled
over fish, steaks, pasta
and salad leaves as well as in salad dressings.
It is not suitable as a cooking oil: not only is it expensive but high
temperatures destroy its flavour and can make it taste bitter.
walnuts should be kept refrigerated in an airtight container when they will last
for a few weeks. They can also be frozen up to a year. For long-term
storage, it's best to buy unshelled nuts and store them in the refrigerator for
2 to 3 months or freeze up to one year.
Walnuts in cooking
can be used in a variety of sweet
and savoury recipes including cakes and breads and are especially good with
cheeses. They make a decorative garnish and are a reasonable substitute for
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