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Cooking For Health - Nuts

( Originally Published 1927 )

Nuts are a clean, concentrated food. When well masticated and rightly eaten they are easy to digest, but when swallowed in big pieces they can hardly be digested.

Nuts should not be eaten at the end of a hearty meal. They should form the main part of the meal. The ordinary nuts may be eaten in place of meat or fish or eggs in any of the menus given in this book.

Blanching: When the nut kernels are covered with a thick membrane, like the almond, they should be blanched. Pour boiling water over the kernels, allow them to stand three or four minutes and then pop the meats out of the skins by pressing with the fingers. Almonds may be blanched by soaking the kernels seven or eight hours in cold water and then popping them out. Brazil nuts and cocoanuts have to be peeled.

Roasting: Place shelled, and if necessary blanched, nuts in pan in moderate oven and keep them there, shaking or stirring frequently, until they suit taste, but do not burn them.

Salted nuts Same as roasted nuts, except that salt is sprinkled on the kernels when they are placed in oven.

Nut butters: Blanch the nut meats and grind fine. If the ground meat is too oily, press some of the oil out. If the pulp is too dry, add some water or oil, or add water and oil. Make only a small amount and keep in cool place, for nut butters soon turn rancid. These butters may be salted or unsalted.

Brazil nut butter is made of the raw nut kernel. Peel off the brown skin, being careful not to soil the meats, and grind the kernels.

Almond butter is made of the almond kernel after it has been dried in the oven, but do not keep the nuts in the oven until the kernels turn brown.

The nut butters may be used in place of other fatty foods.

Nut oils: They are good foods and may be used in place of other fatty foods. May be used in place of olive oil for salads.

Nut milk: Shake finely ground nut meats in water. Make the consistency to suit taste by using more or less ground nuts. For adults and robust children who are past the age of four or five this may be used in place of other milk.

Nut breads: Add broken nut meats to dough and treat like other dough. Nut breads are good, and more nourishing than other breads, so be careful to avoid overeating; masticate extra well.

Cocoanuts: They contain much fat and are very nutritious. Two or three ounces of cocoa-nut meat with fruit make a good meal.

Natural cocoanut milk is the clear, sweet liquid that comes from the fresh cocoanut. It is a good drink, containing some nourishment.

Artificial cocoanut milk: Take average-sized fresh cocoanut, peel and grate. Pour from pint to pint and one-half of boiling water over the grated cocoanut meat. Put aside until cool and then strain. Use instead of cow's milk.

Cocoanut cream is obtained by allowing the milk just described to stand until the fat comes to the top. Skim off and use instead of other cream.

Cocoanut butter may be purchased on the market. It is the extracted, refined fat of the cocoanut. May be used in place of other fats. It is not the same as cocoa butter, for the cocoa butter is made of the fat of the cocoa bean. Those who like it may eat it instead of other fat.

Copra is the dried cocoanut meats.

Chestnuts are very starchy. Instead of using chestnuts to replace meat, fish or eggs, use them to take the place of other starches, such as bread and potatoes. Chestnuts are about three times as starchy as potatoes and contain more starch than bread.

The ripe raw American chestnut, which is a small variety, may be eaten without any preparation. Masticate well.

Boiled chestnuts are prepared in two ways :

1. Take the whole chestnut, put into boiling water and let boil about twenty minutes.

2. Remove shell and skin from the kernels and boil them about twenty minutes. Water may be unsalted or slightly salted.

Roasted chestnuts: Cut through the chestnut shells on the flat side, making a cross. Put into skillet over hot fire, shaking from time to time. Takes about twenty minutes.

Pistachios (nuts with green kernels) are roasted in the shell.

Cashew nuts are poisonous when raw, but roasting destroys the poison. They are delicious, but not very plentiful.

The lichi nut is a curiosity. The flesh is sweet, somewhat like a raisin, and it is surrounded by a thin shell. Sometimes called Chinese nuts.

Almonds, Brazil nuts, filberts (hazel nuts), pecans and walnuts are the ones we most commonly use. The pignolia, or Spanish pine nut, is good. Eat any of the nuts that you relish. Most of them are so delicious in their natural state that they can not be improved upon. Roasting is good for some nuts.

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