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Working with Nuts

You can save, shell, and toast nuts easily in your own home, all without buying any specialized tools.

Some nuts are cheaper at certain times of the year, and it's always nice to stock up when things are on sale, but you don't want them to go bad before you can use them. Did you know you can store nuts in your freezer? They will keep for up to a year in the freezer if you put them in a clean coffee can with a plastic lid. When you want nuts for baking or nibbling, just remove some from the freezer and leave them at room temperature for a few hours.

Chestnuts roasting in the microwave... Well, it's not the stuff songs are made of, but it does help their skins fall right off. Here's how:

  1. Make a small slit in the round end of each of several chestnuts.
  2. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl of half full of water.
  3. Heat the bowl on high for three to four minutes or until boiling.
  4. Allow the water to boil for another minute, then turn off the microwave.
  5. Let the bowl cool for five to ten minutes.
  6. When the water is cool enough, remove one chestnut at a time and peel. The water will keep the others soft until you get to them.

Warning: Always be extra cautious when you are heating liquids in the microwave!

You don't need to use a sledgehammer—or even a hefty nutcracker—to break hard nuts open. There's an easier way. Put nuts like walnuts, Brazil nuts, and pecans in a microwave-safe bowl of water and cover. Heat on high until the water boils. Let the bowl stand in your microwave until it cools a bit, then drain. You should now be able to open the shells easily. Crack them over the bowl or sink to catch excess water.

Did you know that you can also toast nuts and seeds quickly in your microwave? All you need to do is coat a microwavable plate with a thin layer of oil or butter. Cooking spray works well. Scatter your seeds or nuts on the plate and microwave on high for three or four minutes. Stir every minute or so. When they begin to turn brown, they're toasted.

 

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