Keeping Seeds and Nuts Fresh

People don’t eat enough seeds and nuts, so most of us are missing out on all those great, polyunsaturated oils. In my practice, I often remind my clients to take their calcium supplements with some kind of fat like the fat in nuts or nut butters. These fats help calcium absorb into the system and get utilized by the bones better.

Pumpkin seeds are also best stored in the freezer. Pumpkin seeds are one of nature’s hormone stabilizers. Components within this seed bind the harmful breakdown products of testosterone which cause benign prostate hyperplasia. Just two tablespoons each day are what people usually need.

Sesame seeds are wonderful for alleviating Seasonal Affective Disorder. I use lots of sesame seeds in my granola recipe and on sautéed or steamed vegetables. Again. . .about two tablespoons per day, especially during the winter months will alleviate those winter blues. You can also eat tahini or halvah at half the dose and get the same results. Many a client has thanked me profusely for this particular tip. Remember to eat nuts as fresh as possible–about four tablespoons/day.

More nut and seed tips:

Nuts are freshest in the shell. When possible, shell just before using. Unopened packages of shelled nuts have a shelf life of up to one year. Open packages of shelled nuts or chopped nuts can be refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container and kept for six months.

The best way to open an in-shell nut is to place the nutcracker at right angles to the shell’s seam and crack.

To chop whole nuts, use a butcher knife or food processor. Make sure nuts are at room temperature before grinding in a processor, or their natural oils will make the nuts soften to a paste. Hmm. Maybe that would be great if you want a nut butter!

To blanch walnuts, pecans, and almonds, add shelled nuts to boiling water. Take the pot off the heat and let the nuts stand for two minutes. (Some recipes call for blanching to make the nuts flavor a little milder.)

To toast nuts, and bring out their full, rich flavor, place them on baking sheets, spray with nonfat cooking spray or add a dash of vegetable oil and bake in a 375˚ F oven for 8-10 minutes, tossing occasionally during baking. I toast almonds for 10-20 minutes then leave them in the warm turned-off oven with the door closed overnight to make them extra crispy.

Nut allergies: Pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts all contain picric acid in them. People who are allergic to bee stings, scorpion bites and spider bites may also be allergic to these particular nuts. The venom in these insects is the same as in the nuts (picric acid.)

For roasted nut recipe ideas, go to: