Walnuts – Origin and Nutritious Value of the Tree Nut

The term for walnut varies regionally. In Austria the nut is commonly termed “Welschnuss”, but here in Switzerland “Baumnuss”, which means tree nut, is the prevalent name, as walnuts grow on trees rather than shrubs. The walnut tree is part of the beech tree family and can grow up to 15 to 30 metres depending on location. After the Ice Age it first occurred in Syria and Anatolia. The deciduous tree blooms from April to June and the nuts are then harvested from September to October.

Food Facts Food Facts

Walnuts

Class

Walnuts (Juglans)

Calories

745 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

7g carbohydrates, 6.7g fibre, 70.8g fat, 15.9g protein per 100 g

Season

Mid-September to October, imported year-round

Storage store dry and dark at 10 to 17°C room temperature

Shelf life

several months

Walnuts – A Californian Nut

Walnuts are widely distributed nowadays, but the biggest reserve of walnuts is found in California. The state is one of the biggest producers and distributers of the tree nut worldwide. The walnuts found on the shelves of Swiss supermarkets are predominantly domestically cultivated or from France. Botanists thought the walnut was a stone fruit for a long time and they are in fact part of the nut fruit family. Ripe walnuts drop from the tree by themselves and should then be consumed as quickly as possible so they don’t mould.

Walnuts – How to Store Them Properly

Walnuts should always be stored in their peel where possible, as they keep for longer that way and retain their flavour better. The ideal place to store walnuts is usually in the cellar, provided it isn’t too damp. Already peeled or cracked walnuts only keep for around four weeks. In an air-tight container walnuts can be stored in the fridge or in the freezer for up to a year.

Walnuts – The Shake Test

You can recognise mouldy walnuts either by their shrivelled, black skin or by shaking it and listening out for the rattling sound of the nut inside the peel. If you can hear it, the nut is likely already dried up.

Walnuts – A Flavourful Addition to Sweet or Savoury

Of course, the most tried-and-tested method of preventing walnuts from moulding is simply to eat them. Not only do they taste great by themselves, but also on bread, in muesli, in cake or biscuits and in savoury dishes like in a nut crust for meat or in a walnut pesto for pasta. Walnut pesto is easy to prepare – using walnut oil as a base, mix a handful of walnuts with any herbs of your choice, for example parsley. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste and a little cheese like pecorino or parmesan. You can also roast walnuts – without oil in a coated pan – and sprinkle them over salad.

Walnuts – How to Crack Them

To get to the tasty nut inside the peel, use a nutcracker to open the hard shell. If you don’t have a nutcracker or want to prevent shell and nut from splintering into a million small pieces, there is a more elegant solution. Walnuts usually have a pointy, hard end and a blunt, soft end. If you pierce the soft end with a knife, the peel can be pried open and separated into two halves.

Walnuts – Healthy Food for Head and Heart

Walnuts consist of almost 65% fat, which doesn’t necessarily mean they will cause you to gain weight. For example, 30 grams of walnuts provide 200 calories, but also contain valuable omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Our body only receives these unsaturated fats from food and they contribute to lowering cholesterol.

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