Friday, October 22, 2010

Autumn Musings - Time for Nuts!

I can't think of anything that immediately makes me think of home, family, and holidays any more than a big bowl of fresh, unshelled nuts.  We have always bought nuts in this form, and part of the tradition of cracking them open and separating out the meats that broke from the ones that stayed whole was just a step in the process.

You see, the whole meats would be carefully placed at the bottom of the fruitcake pan so that when the batter is poured on top, it is baked, and then turned upside down, those carefully placed nuts become part of the decoration of the cake.

It didn't matter too much if the meats were broken, because we needed to chop nuts for everything else, like pies, adding them to date nut bread or pumpkin nut bread, or to our secret family fudge recipe.

My son now collects nutcrackers, mainly because I shop for one for him every Christmas.  My daughter danced in the Nutcracker ballet. Nutcrackers have always enchanted me, and I never knew if it was because they were so unique and enchanting, or because they helped to extract the nut meats from their sturdy shells. Truth be told, I never wanted to use a beautiful nutcracker to crack nuts.  I rely on the old standby, the basic metal nutcracker and pick to remove the meats from the shells.

For more detailed information about different types of nuts, go to my article "Nuts about Nuts" at Acreage Life Magazine that is linked to this posting, I have two really nice and easy recipes that you might want to try.  One is for sugared nuts that you can eat just as a sweet, or you can put them in salads.  The other is an almond and goat cheese spread that you can eat on toast or crackers, or use as a sandwich spread.

No matter how you use them, nuts are a very healthy food, and while they do contain a lot of fat, it is a good and healthy type of fat that your body will thank you for.

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