Nuts are a great snack that is also a very healthy snack. They provide vitamin B and are a very healthy protein. Nuts can be used for more than snacking; they are great for cooking. Cooking with nuts can be fun and exciting since they add both flavor and texture to whatever dish they are cooked in. Here are a few simple tips that will make cooking with nuts easier.
- Keep nuts on hand. Keeping different type of nuts on hand isn't hard to do and should be considered a staple in any kitchen. The secret to keeping nuts on hand is how you store them. Some nuts have a tendency to turn rancid quite fast. In order to keep the nuts fresh place them into a plastic bag and store them up to six months in the fridge or in the freezer up to one year. When using the frozen nuts all that is needed to thaw them out is to place them on top of the countertop; nuts thaw out very quickly. It really is best to store nuts in their shell, but if they are already shelled they will still stay fresh-tasting if frozen. Chopped, ground, or cut nuts do not freeze well.
- Grinding the nuts. The easiest way to grind nuts is to use either a food processor or a pestle and mortar. Nuts can also be crushed after placing them into a plastic bag and rolling a rolling pin over them. Once the nuts have been chopped, ground, or crushed, they need to be used right away. Nuts will lose their flavor and pick up other flavors after they have been cut into.
- Toasted nuts. A lot of recipes call for toasted nuts. You don't have to pay extra to buy the nuts already toasted. It is something that can be done at home very easily. Nuts can be toasted in either an oven or on top of the stove. When toasting in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the nuts onto a cookie sheet and place into the oven for three to five minutes. Watch very closely; once the nuts start to brown they toast very quickly. If toasting the nuts on top of the stove, place them into a skillet and cook them over medium heat. Toasting the nuts on top of the stove can take up to ten minutes. Once they start to brown, stir occasionally so they won't burn.
- Removing the skins from the nuts. Certain recipes call for the skins to be removed from the nuts; this can be done fairly quickly with this little tip: Wrap the nuts up in a kitchen towel. Steam them for about five minutes. Then roll the nuts around in the towel for a couple of minutes. The skins come right off.
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