Walnuts – The Healthiest Food Around?

There are a good number of people who have come to think that walnuts are the healthiest food around, and who knows, they just may be right.  There are so many health benefits associated with eating walnuts as part of your regular diet, yet there are way to many to list; the biggest health benefits from walnuts are that they are good for your heart, they are loaded with minerals and vitamins, they are loaded with antioxidants and help prevent cancer and heart disease, and they are full of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Walnuts are also very rich in phenols, and about 90% of those phenols are found in the skin.  Phenols are found in a wide variety of medicines.  Walnuts are used in many different ways.  Obviously, they are used as food and are used in a multitude of ways in the kitchen.   But they are also used for making medicine, shelter, dyes and lamp oil.

Walnuts are grown all over the world and there are many different varieties.  The biggest walnut producer in the world is China, producing about 360,000 metric tons per year, with California as a distant second, producing about 240,000 metric tons per year.  Most of the walnuts grown in the United States come from either the Central Mississippi Valley and Appalachian areas or the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys of California.  Walnuts have been around for 1000’s of years.  They were introduced to many different European countries by the Ancient Romans in the 4th century.  Though there are many different types of walnuts, there are really only three types that are predominately eaten.  They are the English or Persian, the black and the white varieties.  Each of these have many different varieties and variations within as well.

As much as I love learning about these other uses for walnuts, for now, I really only know how to cook with them.  After all, I know about food and cooking is what I do.  I made a tasty spinach and pear salad with a walnut dressing, using my Organic Walnut Butter from Living Tree Community Foods.  A Delicious Relationship   I served it as a side salad with the rest of our dinner, but if you would like to make it a main meal, you can add the protein of your choice.  Chicken would be a great addition to the salad.

I made two slightly different versions for this salad.  I am not a big cheese eater, so I rarely use a lot of cheese for my meals.  My husband, on the other hand, loves cheese.  So his salad has bleu cheese crumbles and mine does not.  My salad has dried cranberries and his does not.

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Spinach Salad with Pears

 

about 2-2 1/2 cups baby spinach, stems removed

1 pear, sliced thin

1/3 cup green onions, sliced thin

1/2 cup candied walnuts

bleu cheese crumbles

Craisins, or dried cranberries

walnut dressing

 

Toss all the ingredients together, unless making different variations, then leave the bleu cheese crumbles and the dried cranberries out and top the the salads with those individually.

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Candied Walnuts

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1 cup walnuts

1/3 cup Living Tree Community Foods Organic Walnut Butter

2 tsp Sweet and Spicy Rub from Pod & Bean

1-2 TBSP honey

1/3 cup butter

Mix everything together and cook in a hot skillet for about 5-7 minutes, or until most of the butter has been absorbed into the nuts and spices, stirring constantly.

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Once the nuts are ready, cool them on parchment paper.

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Walnut Dressing

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1/3 cup Living Tree Community Foods Organic Walnut Butter

2 TBSP rice vinegar

2 TBSP lime juice

3 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP soy sauce

2 TBSP honey

2-3 TBSP sugar

1 TBSP garlic

1 TBSP ginger

dash of salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

 

Combine all the ingredients together and mix well.  Chill before serving, then right before serving, shake well.

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***You can learn more about Living Tree Community Foods and their products by checking out their website at http://www.livingtreefoods.com and Pod & Bean products by checking out their website at http://www.cocoaexchange.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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