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
- 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.
- 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.
Return to Nutrition
- Serves 4.
Copyright © 1995 Sundance
Natural Foods, Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
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ResSeguie Last update: May 23, 1996