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Walnuts

What can you say about a nut that bears uncanny resemblance to our inner brain? That they are perhaps the healthiest of all nuts out there and are very beneficial to the human kind. So what? So nothing, give them their due respect.

Origins of walnuts

Walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man as it was being consumed as far back as 7000 B.C.

It is difficult to trace where the walnut tree originated but ancient Romans believe that it originated from Persia and then spread from southeastern Europe to Asia Minor to the Himalayas. Greeks used walnut oil as far back as 4th century B.C., nearly a century before the Romans.

How to store

Walnuts are known to go rancid quite easily, which means that it is very important to store it under right conditions. The ideal temperature for optimal storage of the walnut seeds is -3° C to 0oC with low humidity but since such refrigeration technologies are difficult to avail they are best stored below 25oC with low humidity.

Nutritional benefits

Researchers are convinced about the nutritional benefits of walnuts when consumed in whole form, including the skin. Nearly 90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin, including key phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids.

The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is unusual but very beneficial especially for the cardiovascular health of men.

Walnuts are part of the tree nut family. This food family includes Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts (filberts), macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.

The phytonutrient content of these nuts have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits especially for people suffering from metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes. It is also believed that consumption of walnuts can decrease the risk of certain cancers like prostate cancer and breast cancer. 

Culinary uses

Walnuts are extremely versatile in the kitchen and can be used to good effect as a condiment, in various appetizers, main courses and desserts.It is extensively used in baking, being second only to almond. It is either ground or chopped as an ingredient or used halved as a decoration.

Walnuts are used in many world cuisines, from Middle Eastern chicken entrees, to Asian dishes and Italian pesto. 

Walnut oil, however, has a strong flavour and is not suitable for preparing certain foods, such as mayonnaise. Furthermore, it is more expensive than extra virgin olive oil, but like olive oil can be used to dress salads. Walnut leaves are used for wrapping cheese and tea since they contain antibiotic substances. The husks of the walnuts are used for a French liqueur known as brou de noix and also there are walnut flavoured wines.