Kitchen Hints and Tips - Nuts

Revive stale shelled nuts by placing in a flat foil pan and putting in a 300 degree F oven for ten minutes.

Shelling nuts a day before using them will give air a chance to bring out the oil and moistness, improving their flavor.

When grinding in a blender or food processor, add a tablespoon of sugar or flour to each 1/2 cup of nuts to keep them from "clumping" or forming a paste.

To quickly crack open a large amount of nuts, put them in a bag and gently hammer until they are cracked open, then remove nutmeats with a pick.

To bring out the wonderful nutty flavor, toast nuts before using in cakes or pies. Spread the ground or whole nuts in a jellyroll pan. Toast at 350 degrees F for 10 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring occasionally for even browning.

One method of roasting and salting nuts is to lightly whip an egg white in a large bowl. Pour the nuts into it and shake them around. Scoop them out of the egg white and scatter on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse or kosher salt and bake at 300 degrees F until the nuts are golden brown.

Toast raw nuts by placing them on a cookie sheet and brushing lightly with a mild cooking oil. Place in a 350 degree F oven and turn the nuts from time to time until they are uniformly golden brown. Sprinkle with salt after toasting if desired.

Nuts can be chopped in a blender successfully by adding about a tablespoon of flour to the nuts before you grind them.

To prevent nuts from sinking to the bottom of a baked dish, mix them with some of the flour called for in the recipe before stirring them into the batter.

Almonds
To blanch almonds, bring to a rolling boil enough water to cover about a half cup of nuts. Drop the nuts in the water, remove from heat and allow the nuts to stay in the hot water for about a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Use a paring knife to assist the nut out of the skin.

Brazil Nuts
To remove Brazil nuts, bake them at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or freeze. Crack and shell.

Coconut
To open a coconut, puncture the eyes with an ice pick and drain out the coconut water. Place coconut in a shallow pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the shell begins to crack. Cool it enough to handle, than tap it smartly with a hammer. The shell will almost spring apart. Pry out the meat with a knife.

To shred coconut, peel off brown skin with a swivel-blade peeler or paring knife. Place pieces of coconut in blender with some of the coconut water (or the liquid called for in the recipe). Process until fine; pour out and continue with the remaining coconut. This short-shredded coconut is suitable for use in pie fillings, batters, and fruit desserts.

Hickory Nuts
To remove hickory nuts in one piece from their shells, hold the nut between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, stem end to the right. Place the narrow side of the nut against a brick, and sharply tap the nut with a hammer at a point one-third the length of the nut from the steam end. With a little practice, you'll soon be turning out more whole nutmeats and fewer fragments.

Pecans
Pecans will come out of their shells in one piece if cooked first in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Walnuts
If it's important to get the walnut meat out whole, soak overnight in salt water before cracking gently.