Are you nuts about nuts? Think you know everything? Here are eight fun facts about nuts you may not know, such as the best way to crack walnuts and mash nuts without a mess.
The easiest way to shell pecans, walnuts, and other nuts? Freeze them first. This shrinks the nut away from the shell and makes the job a breeze. Another easy way to shell nuts is to soak them in boiling water for 15 minutes. If you can't open a pistachio, use the half-shell of an already-open nut to pry it open.
De-salt Your Nuts
Your recipe for peanut butter cookies calls for unsalted nuts, but you only have a can of the salted variety. Make them unsalted by placing them in boiling water for a minute or two, then draining. To eliminate any remaining moisture, spread the nuts on a cookie sheet and bake in a 225°F oven until they’re dry, about five minutes. Cool, and then use your newly unsalted nuts in your recipe.
Dust Your Nuts
Nuts and dried fruit are the perfect addition to muffins, breads, and other baked goods. But sometimes, after you pour the batter into the pan, they sink to the bottom. To keep this from happening, dredge the mix-ins in flour before stirring them into the batter. That way, they’ll stay suspended in the cake and won’t all end up at the bottom of the finished product.
Need to crack a lot of walnuts? Soak them overnight in salted water and they’ll open more easily.
Chopping nuts in a blender? Try adding a small amount of sugar, which will keep the nut pieces from sticking together.
The quickest way to “chop” nuts is to place them in a sealed plastic bag, then roll over them with a rolling pin. This is also a clean, easy way to break up graham crackers or vanilla wafers to make a pie crust.
If you’re chopping nuts in a food processor, more oil is released than when you chop by hand, and you’ll wind up with a sticky mess. To avoid this, simply add a bit of flour to the nuts before hitting “pulse.”
There’s nothing better than fresh coconut, and nothing worse than trying to crack it open. Make the process a little easier by sticking the entire coconut in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes. Remove it, and allow it to cool for a few minutes before tapping on it with a hammer until it cracks open.