PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Prospecting

Master Food Preservers: Nuts!

By From page B5 | October 19, 2011

Nuts, nuts and more nuts!

Nuts in bags on the counters, nuts on shelves in the pantry, nuts in the corner waiting for someone to come to the rescue. The neighbors have been very generous in sharing the bounty from the trees this year, so something must be done with all the nuts, before someone goes nuts.

Hurrah for the Master Food Preservers of El Dorado County. The last free public education class for this year will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. in the county ag building, comes to the rescue.

The class, “Persimmons, Kiwi and Nuts” features seasoned MFP volunteers demonstrating preserving techniques and giving great advice on just what to do with all those nuts (and persimmons and kiwi).

The volunteer instructors will make several of the recipes from the class handouts.

Turns out that most of the nuts waiting in the kitchen for processing seem to be walnuts. These hearty nuts might keep your heart healthy, too.

The California Walnut Board and Commission reports that “Just a handful of walnuts provides 2 grams of ALA, the plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acid, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 10 percent of your daily value of magnesium and phosphorus.”

In addition, walnuts contain several types of antioxidants. Go, walnuts.

The experts at Penn State Extension say, “The best way to store nuts is to freeze them with minimal exposure to light and oxygen. After the kernels have been removed, place them in a plastic bag and store in the freezer. The nut meats will keep almost indefinitely when stored in the freezer. Kernels can be stored for short periods in the refrigerator.”

For more information on how to harvest, handle and store nuts safely, visit the MFP Food Safety site at ucanr.org/mfpfoodsafety.

A portion of the nuts in the kitchen definitely will be placed in cold storage, but some of these delicious, crunchy tidbits when toasted make nuts even more desirable.

Try the following recipe for an easy and nutritious addition to any salad.

Toasted walnuts

California walnuts toast easily. Drop the kernels into rapidly boiling water. Boil for 3 minutes. Drain well. Spread kernels in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees F until walnuts are golden, stirring often.

While kernels are still hot, brush lightly with butter and sprinkle with salt, seasoned salt or garlic salt. Serve hot or cold.

May be used in moist mixtures such as gelatins, dressings and sauces that benefit from the special crispy texture.

Try using toasted walnuts as a topping for soup and as croutons in tossed vegetable salads.

(Source: El Dorado Master Food Preservers files)

Do you have questions about safe home food preservation? Call the Master Food Preservers and leave a message at 530-621-5506. A Master Food Preserver will return the call.

The Master Food Preservers are also available free of charge to speak to organizations and clubs about food safety or food preservation topics. Just call the number above to arrange for a speaker for small or large groups.

For more information go to the Master Food Preserver Website at cecentralsierra.ucanr.org/Master_Food_Preservers/. Sign up for the new online eNewsletter at ucanr.org/mfpenews.

Ora Emmerich

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