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Roasting Your Own Nuts

We always roast our own nuts: it guarantees they'll be fresh and tasty, and the aroma that will fill your kitchen and whole house is divine. There's not a simpler way to make a convenient, delicious, healthy snack than roasting your own nuts. You can roast your own almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds—just about any nut, really. You can even roast your own peanuts if you can find a source of raw peanuts.

Did you know that most roasted nuts aren't roasted?

When you buy roast nuts in the store, take a look at the ingredient label. Why is oil the second ingredient in roast nuts? Because they're fried. That's right—it's perfectly legal for food manufacturers to take a food that is 60% fat, fry it in oil, and call it roasted. Although the fat in nuts is healthy fat, the oil they're fried in is probably very low quality. And often, by the time the nuts gets to you, the oil and the nuts are rancid. Any nut that lists oil in the ingredient panel has been fried in that oil, and that includes all the major brands you can think of.

You can buy true roasted nuts by purchasing dry roasted nuts—you'll notice the ingredient label on these never lists oil. But even these often taste old and rancid. But you can guarantee the freshness of roasted nuts by doing the nut roasting yourself.

Make sure you buy raw nuts, and the best source is a store that has a lot of turnover, which makes it much more likely you'll be getting fresh nuts. Old nuts taste bad, and they contain unhealthy rancid oil. Two great sources of fresh raw nuts are Trader Joe's and Costco, but any store that does a brisk business will suffice.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Roasted Nuts

Ingredients:
Raw Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, and/or Peanuts

Directions:
Read this entire recipe before you begin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Layer bottom of a baking pan or toaster oven pan with nuts so that there is less than two layers of nuts on bottom of pan, but more than one layer. There is a lot of latitude here: don't worry too much about the exact amount of nuts you roast at once, as long as it is between 1-2 layers of nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for eight minutes, monitoring regularly to make sure they don't burn.  As mentioned below in the notes, some nuts roast more quickly than others.

Once the nuts begin to brown, or you can smell to wonderful aroma of the roasted nuts, take the nuts out of the oven and leave them out to cool for 45 minutes, or until cooled.

Notes:
The heat of your oven will affect cooking time, as will the size and sugar content of the nuts you're roasting. Cashews and pecans cook faster because they're sweeter; sunflower seeds and pine nuts also roast quickly because they have so much surface area.
After removing the nuts from the oven, you will hear them continue to crackle and pop. This is normal and a result of expansion and contraction as they cool.
Some people prefer lighter or darker roasts. Over time, you can discover your personal preferences as well as how your toaster oven or oven heat, and base cooking times and settings on those factors.

Variations:
As soon as you pull the nuts from the oven, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce over them, and then stir to help the liquid distribute evenly, evaporate, and absorb into the nut meat.
Sprinkle hot nuts with 1/4 teaspoon sea or mineral bed salt.
For a spicy variation, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce over nuts as soon as you pull them from oven. Stir them as with soy sauce variation above.

Benefits: Nuts are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and plant sterols. Depending on the nut, they contain omega 3 fats, vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, and other minerals. Nuts have been found to lower cholesterol and to be one of nature's healthier foods.

Fresh roasted nuts that you make yourself are superior in taste and nutritional quality to conventional roasted (fried) nuts and to store-bought dry-roasted nuts, which are often old and rancid.

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Principal Author: Daniel J. Heller, N.D.
Last Modified: December 13, 2011

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