What are Walnuts?
The walnut is the nut from any tree in the genus Juglans.
A walnut is not a true botanical nut as it has the seeds of a drupe, a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone containing the seed just like a plum or cherry.
The walnut is probably one of the oldest tree foods around with evidence dating back as far as 7000 B.C. The Romans used to call the walnut Juglans regia, which means “Jupiter’s royal acorn.”
Walnuts are grown on large trees that can grow up to 35 meters or 120 feet! It has a trunk that is up to 2 meters or 6 feet in diameter.
Walnuts continue to be widely eaten nut because they are not only delicious but also nutritious. Rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, they are great for improving metabolism, controlling diabetes, weight loss, and a bit of a mood booster.
Which Walnut Is Best?
We consume 2 main types of walnuts.
The first being the English walnut which hails from ancient Persia. Back in the day, walnuts in Persia were only ever reserved for royalty. They are also widely known as the Persian walnut, which is by far the most popular of the 2 varieties.
The other type of walnut is the black walnut which is predominantly grown in North America. Black walnuts have a thick shell which is hard to crack open, and the nuts are bolder and much more earthy in flavour.
English or Persian walnuts have a much milder flavour and seems to be much more popular with everyday consumers.
Why Walnut Is Bitter?
Eating walnuts give you a bitter after taste, and this is entirely caused by the paper-thin skins that envelop it.
Therefore, to reduce the bitterness, it would be prudent to remove the skin. The best way to do this would be to roast them in the oven and then using a towel, rub the walnuts so that the skin flakes off.
It won’t remove the bitterness in its entirety, but it will reduce it substantially. It’s a taste that is synonymous with walnuts and why people like it in the first place.
How to Store Walnuts?
Walnuts have a fantastic shelf life.
If they are still in their shell, it can last up to 3 months if stored in a cool, dry place.
If the nuts are out of its shell, place them in an airtight container and put them in the fridge and it will last for about 2-3 months. If you put it in the freezer, it can last up to a year.
What Do Walnuts Taste Like?
Flavour: Walnuts are earthy and buttery with hints of astringency. As mentioned above the skin of the walnut causes the bitterness. To reduce how bitter it is, it is best to remove the skin.
Texture: Walnuts have a rich buttery texture due to the high levels of polyunsaturated fat it contains. As expected, they are crunchy and nutty.
What Goes Well with Walnut?
Fruit and Vegetables
Apple, apricot, asparagus, banana, beetroot, brussels sprouts, orange, peach, persimmon, carrot, cauliflower, pumpkin, radicchio, chilli, fig, grape, horseradish, kiwi, dates, radish, strawberry, sugar snap peas, sweet potato.
Herbs, Nuts and Spices
Cayenne pepper, chestnut, cinnamon, cloves.
Protein and Other
Buffalo mozzarella, bulgur, caramel, chocolate, coffee, duck, lentil, miso, sesame seeds, sriracha, vanilla, wild rice.
How to Use Walnuts in Salads?
If you’ve purchased roasted walnuts, they can just be added as it is into your salads. You can add them whole or crushed.
Raw walnuts can also be added to the salad as it is but if you prefer them roasted they will need to go in the oven or even dry toasted on a fry pan.
Salad Recipes with Walnuts
Sweet maple roasted Brussels sprouts and Dutch carrots salad, what’s not to love? Along with the nutty texture of freekeh balanced with freshness of peas and rounded off with creamy goat cheese, our warm Brussels sprouts salad is insanely flavoursome.
Our Summer Strawberry Salad is perfect for outdoor barbeques and a stunner to serve at Christmas celebrations as well. The sweetness of strawberries matched with creamy bocconcini and drizzled with tangy aged balsamic vinegar is a match made in heaven.
Sweet balsamic roasted figs layered over a bed of crispy halloumi cheese is a fantastic way to start any meal and get the taste buds salivating.
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