Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where to Buy Nuts

Nuts! I keep a lot of nuts in my fridge. The healthy oils in nuts will cause them to go rancid, so storing them away from light and heat is key. The freezer works, too, especially for longer-term storage.

Out of the fridge, it's really important to toast them. Even a scant five minutes in a preheated oven will release some of the oils and flavor. And don't assume that just because you're baking that banana bread that you don't need to toast the pecans before adding them to the batter. Toast, gentle reader, and your banana bread will be that much better.

Most of my nuts come from Trader Joe's. The biggest surprise is the quality of the big bags of Kirkland walnuts and pecans at Costco. But you really need to be going thru lots of nuts to bother - they're three-pound bags. Here's where I do my nut shopping:

Almonds, whole, unsalted - Whole Foods
Almonds, whole, reduced sodium - Trader Joe's
Almonds, sliced - Trader Joe's. I love sliced almonds on my cereal, in granola, on quinoa, and of course, the almond croissant.
Almond meal - Trader Joe's
Pecans, halves and pieces - Trader Joe's or, during the fall/holiday season where I use many, many pecans, Costco. The large bags of pecans are some of the best tasting nuts around, and make for an amazing pecan pie.
Walnuts - Costco, in the large bag.
Hazelnuts - Trader Joe's. I buy the raw ones, then roast them and rub them between my hands to remove the skins before making biscotti or tea cakes.
Pine nuts, a/k/a pignoli - Trader Joe's. I get the raw ones and toast them myself for about 2 minutes in the toaster oven before tossing them in the Cuisinart to make pesto.

Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds - I find the best price and quality at Trader Joe's. Both seeds are essential to Granola.
Peanuts in the Shell - I like the Cubs ones they sell at Dominick's. The Planters ones are horrid.
Cocktail Peanuts - We always have these around for GORP, the world's best snack. I get Planter's low sodium cocktail peanuts at Target.
Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds - These are a serious treat. I hardly want to even get anyone else hooked on them. The damage was done when Costco carried them. Since the little cans just won't do, I pick up one-pound packages at Walgreen's.


Erika said...

I love nuts so much -- thanks for the buying guide. I wish we got those Cubs peanuts out here in California. It's one of the things I love most about going to Wrigley Field! I have to tell you that your broccoli and shrimp recipe has become a standard in our house! Thanks for helping expand our menu repertoire!

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