Dec 03 2008

‘Tis the Season for Nutshells

I love the nuts in the shell that the stores start putting out this time of year. Some places have them year round now, but I like to save them for winter like we did when I was a kid. Since they’re still in the shell, they’re about as fresh as can be, and not roasted in nasty hydrogenated oil or coated with sugar or any of that nonsense. The pecans at County Market are even fairly local, coming from somewhere in Missouri. Cracking them open slows me down, so I can’t gorge myself on them until I’m sick like I can with canned nuts.

The only downside is the nutshells. It’s impossible to crack these things without pieces of shell occasionally flying away. It’s just a given that we’re going to sweep some up this time of year, and eating them in bed is a very bad idea. They’re worth putting up with the shells, though. I like them all, even the Brazil nuts, which can be a bear to crack open. Sort of takes me back to those childhood Christmas mornings when we woke up to find presents under the treeā€”and nuts, malted milk balls, hard candy, and my mom’s peanut brittle in bowls on the table. I can’t really eat the other stuff now, but I can still have the nuts. They were always my favorite anyway.

To me, the best tasting ones are black walnuts, which we harvest at least every other year, but for those you need more than a standard one-handed nutcracker. For those, you need a hammer, a brick, or an industrial-sized cracker. Then the pieces of shell are really flying. They sure taste great, though, and they’re full of nutrition. I need to try to work some into a low-carb cheesecake somehow; that’s sounding very good right now.

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