Why should I toast my nuts?

Sometimes you don’t. In my recent travels, I was given a bag of nuts and dried fruit. Yummy! I only recently discovered that I really actually like nuts! My memories go back to sitting next to Dad in “his chair” as I would eagerly help him crack the shells and pass him the freshly-exposed nuts as he would munch away. I never cared for them, only the attention. Over the last year, though, I’ve really been enjoying a variety of walnuts, pecans and almonds in many recipes! So, when I dug into the bag of dried fruit and nuts, I couldn’t imagine that I wouldn’t enjoy it at all? The nuts were awful.

As I pondered this, I thought comparatively to why I would like nuts at home and not elsewhere? Could it be quality? Perhaps, but to me, these nuts lacked flavor. Aha! I always toast my nuts first. I had read somewhere at somepoint that roasting [in the oven] or toasting [in a dry skillet on the stovetop] brings out the flavor in the nuts. For me, that’s how I always prepare them at home. No wonder these bagged nuts were awful—they were raw!

I toast nuts before using them at all–right before, though, mind you. To top pancakes, as a cake decoration, an accessory on a salad. All of them should be roasted or toasted! To roast in the oven, simply pre-heat your oven to 350º and place the nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheat. Roast for five minutes, or so, until slightly browned. As garlic, you will smell when they are done. To toast on the stove top, place skillet on medium heat and add nuts to dry skilled. Flipping nuts often, toast for five minutes.

The flavor difference you receive from the raw nut to the toasted nut is amazing. It takes your chocolate-pecan cake from homemade to “where did you buy this??” You’ll be the hit of your town!! :) While we’re at it – I suggest buying your nuts whole (shelled, but whole) instead of already chopped into pieces. Once chopped, they’ve already started to lose their natural oils and can go stale quite quickly. In fact, all nuts should be stored in the freezer for prolonged life.

So, next time you feel like a nut – toast it.

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