The joy of walnuts is thought to have originated in Persia, spreading eastward and westward from there during the Stone Age. Their hard shells protected the nuts from light, heat and moisture – preserving them, then as now, for their long journeys.
Eventually the peripatetic walnut found its perfect climate in north-central California where fully two-thirds of the world’s supply of walnuts in now grown.
Creative cooks from many countries have taught us to enjoy walnuts in everything from soups to desserts and cordials. Even the unripe green walnut is completely edible. Its tangy sour flavour makes it an exotic addition to pickles and marmalades.
If you think you don’t like walnuts try buying the larger pieces – smaller pieces are always less fresh because chopping immediately exposes more area to spoilage. Our walnuts are always California-grown and sumptuous in flavour. Use your hands to break them into recipes that call for chopped walnuts and you too may be converted into a walnut-lover.
Walnut trees and their fruit (nuts) have been variously considered both fortuitous and sinister. In the French countryside it was traditional to hang a bag of walnuts- in-the-shell from a beam in the kitchen to represent abundance… but a less happy superstition warns not to try to grow anything near the walnut tree because it contains evil or poison.
From early times herbalists prescribed walnut to calm hysteria, eliminate morning sickness, expel parasites and strengthen the constitution.
Walnuts are densely packed with nutrition – high in fats, but abundant in Omega-3 fatty acids. One quarter-cup contains 180 calories, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, 2 grams of fibre and only 7 grams of carbohydrates… plus a healthy compliment of B-vitamins, Vitamin E-tocopherols, and other vitamins and minerals.
So… go nuts!