News from the Nuttery

How to Store Nuts

Nuts are pricey these days, so you need to make sure you're storing them correctly for lasting freshness. Glass, plastic containers and our heavy, reclosable ziplock bags are good for storage. Metallic containers, light, moisture and heat will all conspire to spoil nuts more quickly.  Light can cause the nuts to go rancid at a quicker pace, so you're better off storing them in a cabinet. Nuts also have a tendency to absorb odors from their immediate environment, so keeping them separate from other foods is wise.  We have learned not to pack mints in the same gift packs with nuts!

Certain nuts will expire more quickly than others. Peanuts, pecans and walnuts are some of the first to go, with almonds and cashews being the most hardy. Nuts become chewy and soggy as they begin to turn and will eventually become rancid. To freshen the nuts you can bake them in the oven on 350 degrees for ten minutes.


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The Best Way to Toast Nuts? It May Be the Microwave

Toasting nuts enhances their flavor.  There are three ways to toast nuts: Oven, Stove Top, or Microwave.  We don't generally recommend the stove top method, since your chances of burning them are greater.  For either the oven or microwave method, we recommend tossing the nuts first with a light layer of oil.  This allows for more even toasting and better flavor.

1. Oven - Spread nuts in a single layer and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven.  (8 to 10 minutes for walnuts and pecans, 12 minutes for blanched, sliced or slivered almonds; 15 minutes for whole almonds and hazelnuts.)

2. Microwave - Add a half teaspoon of vegetable oil to a cup of nuts and spread in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate.  Microwave the nuts at one-minute intervals, stirring in between.  Depending on the amount and type of nuts, this can take between three and eight minutes.  Microwaving the nuts allows for even cooking from all directions, and cooks the inside and outside of the nuts at basically the same rate. Your kitchen should fill with deliciously nutty aroma.  Enjoy!  

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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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