Nuts: health benefits and cooking ideas


I love gathering nuts in the fall.

When I was a child, the whole family went out into the hills around our small town to gather hickory nuts and butternuts.  Black walnuts were everywhere…. but only my older brother could tolerate their strong taste.

Now I have my own trees: walnuts (English) and hazelnuts.



They’re just now starting to fall, so every day the dogs and I do the rounds.  I want to get them before the local critters do.

I keep a big basket of nuts on the counter for snacking.  It’s a healthy alternative to processed snack foods, and if one has to crack the nut and pick out the meat it tends to prevent over-indulgence….
Or, at least, slow it down.

According to the Mayo Clinic website all nuts have at least some of these heart-healthy substances:

Unsaturated fats – works to raise the good cholesterhol and lower the bad

Omega-3 fatty acids – a healthy form of
fatty acids that are particularly good for the heart

L-arginine –  good for the artery walls, making them flexible and less prone to blood

Fiber – ’nuff said.  You know you need fiber

Vitamin E – may help stop the
development of plaques  in the arteries

Plant sterols – can help lower your cholesterol

There is even some evidence that eating nuts can help control or even reduce weight.

Of course, one has to remember that they are full of fat (the good kind) which (still) means calories.  But just adding 1.5oz (45gr) of nuts to your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Plus, they add a lot of flavor and crunch to other dishes.

Here are some of mine:

I love pairing winter squash with nuts in the fall, like these toasted walnuts in my Autumn Pastry:

Butternut Squash Pastry

or with pecans in this lighter version, with out the crust:

Butternut Squash with Pecans and Mushrooms

Dates, goat cheese and a handful of mixed nuts make a perfect fall salad…. with a few greens, if you like:

Goat Cheese with Dates and Nuts

Or just put a chopped apple, some walnuts, a bit of cinnamon, dash of nutmeg in a bowl with yogurt for a quick lunch or healthy dessert:

Apple Salad

You can throw a few almonds in with a stir-fry, finish a stew with some chopped walnuts, coat fish or chicken in finely chopped hazelnuts or serve Chestnut Soup as a first course during the winter holidays (recipe coming).


Go a little nuts – it’s good for you!

6 thoughts on “Nuts: health benefits and cooking ideas”

  1. When I was a kid, we had a huge walnut tree. We were inundated with walnuts, so one of the things my mom would do is pickle them. They were delicious – wish I knew what kind of recipe she used! Have you ever had pickled walnuts?

  2. Nancy, I love having them…. makes me feel so self-sufficient
    Pam, I grew up having nuts as snacks… love them
    manningroad, oh, an almond tree…. lovely. Too far north here.
    Inam I’ve heard about pickled walnuts… maybe next year I’ll try them.
    Zoomie, oh, looks delicious. Love nut cakes!

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