Walnuts: Our Ingredient of the Week

Kim Conte

walnutsEach week in Food and Party, we'll be featuring an "Ingredient of the Week"—paying homage to some of our favorite ingredients all week long with buying and storage tips, recipes, and other useful information.

This week's special ingredient is: Walnuts.

The walnut may seem like an odd choice for our Ingredient of the Week. But I think it's high time we give it the attention and praise it deserves. After all, how many ingredients can you have for breakfast (banana-walnut panacakes); lunch (walnut and apple salad); and dinner (walnut pesto pasta)?

In my house, not only do we use walnuts in every day cooking, but we like to keep them on hand as a healthy, protein-packed snack. And because walnuts can keep for many, many months (especially if you store them in the freezer), we buy them in bulk to save money.

Speaking of saving money: Walnut pieces and halves are always cheaper than buying whole walnuts. (If you've ever shelled a walnut, you know why -- it's almost impossible to shell a walnut completely without breaking it). Another money-saving tip? In our grocery store, walnuts are kept in multiple sections. Walnuts in the baking aisles for some reason tend to be more expensive, while those in the produce section are usually cheaper on a per ounce basis.

Like anything else, moderation is key. Compared to other popular nuts like peanuts and almonds, walnuts have more fat -- about 19 grams per ounce. Still they're an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and may help increase good cholesterol. My rule of thumb? Only consume the number of nuts that fit in the palm of your hand.

Stay tuned all this week for delicious walnut recipes and tips!

Do you have any walnut recipes to share?

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