News from the Nuttery

The Joys of Houston

Well, the floods aren't on the list.

But whether it's flooding or drought, we are survivors.  And there are so many things we love about Houston.  We have the most wonderful restaurants anywhere, many of which we supply, and many of our customers are creative entrepreneurs, starting businesses that blossom even in our not-so-robust economy.  It's fun to see, and we look forward to planning for our next Christmas season, as we start to do about this time every year.

But what we love most is our retail customers.  People stop by all day long to run in, get a quick quarter-pound fix of their favorite nut mix or chocolate goodies, or order a slew of custom-packed tins for all kinds of events.  And they chat, and we love it.  Folksy makes our day.  

So if you're in Houston, barreling down the Westpark Tollway, look for the Squirrel.  And stop by - chances are we're roasting, and it's worth coming in just for the aroma.

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The Amazing Brazil Nut

Brazil Nuts 

These mild-flavored nuts are rich in nutrients such as selenium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper.  They are grown in the rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Peru.  The trees often reach 160 feet, which makes the 5-pound pods reach a velocity of 50 mph on their descent.  Each pod can contain from 10 to 20 nuts, and each tree can produce as much as 250 lbs. of nuts.  They are cultivated in the wild and are naturally organic.

Significance to Humans: 

Brazil nuts, shelledBrazil nuts are one of the most valuable non-timber products found in the Amazon, usually harvested from the wild by local people. They are used as a protein-rich food source, and their extracted oils are a popular ingredient in many natural beauty products. The collection and sale of Brazil nuts and their offshoots also provides an important source of income for many forest-based communities. 

Did You Know?

Through projects like the Initiative for Conservation of the Andean Amazon, the Rainforest Alliance works with local communities to diversify their sources of income with non-timber forest products, like the Brazil nut.  If properly managed, non-timber forest products provide income for communities living in and around tropical forests. In addition, they provide these communities with an economic incentive to conserve existing forest and reforest degraded forests.  Brazil nut trees are sensitive to deforestation, and only seem to produce fruit in undisturbed forest.  They depend on a rodent called agoutis for seed dispersal (they have sharp teeth that can open a pod), bees for pollination and other plants in the rainforest for their continued survival. If these other species disappear, so will the Brazil nut tree.



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Great Recipe from!

Add a Cool Nutty Touch to Summer’s Bounty

It’s the season where farmers’ markets pop up on every street corner, and the sun-kissed flavors make food so much more enjoyable. Tree nuts can add not only a delightful crunch and toasty flavor to the plate, they bring greater satiety and nutritional value, meaning you’ll want to snack less throughout the day--a win-win!  We all know how wonderful it is to sprinkle your favorite nuts on a salad, but here are some other ideas for incorporating tree nuts into summer meals:

  • Asparagus and any nut is a partnership made in heaven – the French and Italians love it with hazelnuts and almonds, but the plump spears are also marvelous with pecans, pistachios and walnuts.  Try grilling, roasting or blanching asparagus and then adding a crumble of goat cheese or ricotta and some roasted tree nuts. Or, for a main dish, add to pasta or risotto with roughly chopped nuts, basil, lemon and olive oil.
  • Artichokes make a delightful summer dip for vegetable crudités; add nuts such as pistachios and almonds to the mix with lemon and herbs. Puree cucumber, kefir, mint and green grapes along with almonds, cashews, pecans and pine nuts for a rich and creamy chilled soup without the saturated fat (see recipe below).
  • Those plump baby beets are divine served with crumbled walnuts or pecans, and perhaps some Greek yogurt. And, finely shaved radishes over fresh summer greens make a lovely salad with any kind of nut.  My favorites are hazelnuts, pine nuts and pistachios for a lovely mix of color, flavor and texture.
  • Try a warm salad of steamed garden peas and fava beans with mint, a squeeze of Meyer lemon and crumbled cashews, macadamias and hazelnuts.  And for the main scene? Rhubarb stalks – diced and sautéed with walnuts over a grilled chicken breast.   

Finally, for a perfect finish you can’t beat cut up fresh stone fruit, melons and ruby grapefruit with a scattering of nuts and a spoon of Greek yogurt for a tasty treat!

Summer is for fun, so have some of your own with tree nuts!      Bon-appétit from the Nutty Chef!


Chilled Cucumber and Tree Nut Soup

   2 slices ciabatta bread, crusts removed and diced

   1 1/2 cups diced cucumber, Persian, Lemon and English are great

   2 cups green grapes

   ½ cup tree nuts of choice

   2-3 teaspoons sherry or wine vinegar

   2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

   8-10 leaves mint

   ¼ - ½ cup kefir* or plain yogurt

  2. Cover the bread in iced water and soak 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess water. 
  3. Place bread in a blender with the cucumber, grapes, tree nuts, vinegar, oil and mint.
  4. Puree, adding kefir in a steady stream until desired consistency.  Season to taste, adding more vinegar if not “punchy” enough.
  5. Chill 30 minutes before serving.  (Some people like to strain the soup, but I prefer the fiber and texture as it is.)


*Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to liquid yogurt

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