Awe Nuts!

A squirrel bounces across the front yard, pauses and digs for a moment, then continues on with the retrieved nut it buried months ago. The squirrel's meal is well-preserved & nutritious with lots of calories to keep our furry friend active. Nuts have also been part of people's diets since ancient times - from the native peoples of North & South America to the tribes of the Middle East. They are a high protein food, rich in B vitamins & minerals. No vegetable can compare with nuts in the amount of protein they provide. Black walnuts are 28% protein compared to lean beef at 22% protein.

Nuts are high in fat which is not the best news for dieters yet they are mostly unsaturated fats and often contain a high level of linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is beneficial in reducing serum cholesterol and unsaturated fats help prevent and combat cancer, heart infarction (an area of tissue death due to circulation blockage) and diabetes.

Nuts can be bought in a variety of ways - whole in the shell, shelled, raw or roasted and as nut butters. There's more to life than just PB&J for lunch. Try an AB&J (almond butter), CB&J (cashew butter) or for a real treat, PiB&J (pistachio butter). Or trade out the J (jam) for thin slices of apple or banana. Ahh! the gourmet sack lunch.

And now for a few words from our sponsors:
Almonds: Often referred to as the "king of nuts", grown primarily in Spain and California. During the great famine of Old Testament days, Jacob sent almonds to his son Joseph in Egypt. They are high in potassium, magnesium and phosphorous and 1/5 of their weight consists of protein. Almond butter is a creamy, subtly sweet nut butter.

Brazil Nuts: These are housed in a large coconut-type shell weighing up to 4 lb. The seeds (what we call nuts) are neatly wedged inside. The tree they grow on can reach heights of 150 ft.. The nuts drop to the ground when ripe, but collecting can still be risky business as high winds can hurl them earthbound with the force of cannon balls. The nut gatherers wear protective head gear. Brazil nuts should be eaten in moderation as they are naturally radioactive due to the soil they are grown in.

Cashews: The cashew is actually the fruit of a tropical tree native to Brazil. South American Indians called it "acajú", the Portuguese heard "cajú", leading up to "cashew." The swollen pedicle the cashew is mounted on is called an 'apple' and many Brazilians eat the 'apple' instead of the nut. Cashews are high in potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and vitamin A.

Filberts & Hazelnuts: All are closely related members of the Corylus family of small trees which grow wild wherever the climate suits their fancy in Europe, North America, Asia, & the Middle East. The nuts produced vary according to the climate they grow in - hazelnuts are more common in the U.K., filberts more common in the U.S. In fact, 99% of U.S. commercial filbert trees grow in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. They were first brought here by an English sailor before the turn of the century. They have a mild flavor and often accompany vegetable and grain dishes.

Peanuts: The peanut is actually a legume, not a nut at all. They originated in South America where recognizable peanuts have been found in Peruvian tombs dating back from 950 B.C. Pound for pound peanuts have more protein than beef liver; more fat than heavy cream (though it is primarily mono-unsaturated); and more food energy than sugar. Unfortunately since they are a legume, raw peanuts can be hard to digest.

Pecans & Hickory Nuts: They come from the same family of trees and were a staple in the diet of many Native American people before the arrival of the Europeans. Pecans are generally considered superior and are indigenous to the southern states, now cultivated mostly in Texas & Oklahoma. Hickory nuts grow wild in the northern states.

Pine Nuts: These trees grow in many parts of the world from the U.S. to all around the Mediterranean coast. They are especially popular in Italian foods, such as pesto. Soft, chewy and sweet, they go well in stuffings, sweet & sour dishes, salads and rice casseroles.

Pistachios: A native of Syria, this small nut has a sweet, mild flavor and delicate green color that enhances such delicacies as halva or locoum (Turkish Delight) as well as ice cream, puddings & cookies. They are also a great snack straight out of the bag. Domestic cultivation only began in 1976, yet has grown rapidly.

Walnuts: The English walnut is light brown and grows all over Europe. It contains more fat & less protein than the black walnut which is native to North America. They are high in potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and vitamin A. They are a popular addition to confectionery and are often used as a topping in Western dishes.

Try this recipe for a delicious nutty main dish at your next meal and begin exploring the wonderful world of nuts.

Savory Nut Loaf
  1. Pound or coarsely grind 1/3 cup of cashews and 1/3 cup of peanuts. Steam one bunch well washed spinach and 1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley until tender.
  2. Pureé the spinach and parsley until smooth and beat with one egg or egg substitute in a bowl. Add the ground nuts to the mixture along with 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1 large finely chopped onion, 1/4 tsp. thyme, and 1/4 tsp. sage. Shape into an oiled loaf pan and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake in a 350° oven for about 25 minutes. For additional protein, sprinkle with cheese during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Serves 4.
Return to Nutrition Index

Copyright © 1995 Sundance Natural Foods, Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail to:(

This page built by Ray Neff andDavid ResSeguie Last update: May 23, 1996