Nuts about Nuts

Many of my favorite recipes contain nuts. From biscuits to savory bakes, nuts feature in a range of foods that we know and love. Sometimes their presence is obvious, and at others it can be surprising to learn that nuts are a part of a dish or treat that we have been eating for yours. 

In this guide, I take a look at some of the most common nuts found in cooking as well as some of the lesser-known nuts that I think you should consider including in your cooking and diet.

Peanuts

Probably the most common and widely available nut, peanuts are popular as a snack as an ingredient in spreads. 

Origin:

Peanuts are easy to grow and harvest, and can be found in abundance in warm climates such as those found in Africa, Asia and South America. Peanuts grow beneath the ground and when harvested some are taken out of their hard shell, and others sold in the shell. 

Most well-known for:

Being roasted and salted and eaten as a snack at parties or at a bar. 

Try them with:

Granola mix, added to flapjack and sprinkled in salad. 

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are a flavorful and rich nut. They are packed with vitamins and minerals and can offer a lot to a well-balanced and varied diet. 

Origin:

Hazelnuts grow on bushes in Asia, Europe and North America. They are a hardy variety of nut and grow well where they are planted. 

Most well-known for:

Being the perfect partner to chocolate. They are one of the main ingredients in Nutella. 

Try them with:

If chopped very finely, they can add taste and texture to but loaf or but blended burgers. 

Cashews

Cashews have a reputation as more expensive, and perhaps a little bland, nut. However, they take in flavors well and can also be used to make tasty and healthy nut butter when mixed with other nuts such as almonds or peanuts. 

Origin:

Cashews look somewhat beautiful as they grow. They are covered in a bright pinkish shell from which they begin to emerge as they ripen. They grow well in humid climates, and are found in Vietnam, India, Africa and other tropical countries. 

Most well-known for:

Given their origins in Asia and the tropics, it is unsurprising that cashews are the nut that we see in savory dishes from the East. Oriental cooking features cashew nuts and they often add a crunch to soups and stir fries. 

Try them with:

Cashews are great toasted with a little salt and pepper. 

Pilli Nuts

These creamy and delicious nuts are just making their way into the kitchen of the health conscious and adventurous. They are delicious eaten on their own, but are also there to be explored and experimented with as they become more popular and widespread. 

Origin:

Pilli nuts are grown in the Philippines. They are not easy to grow or to harvest. A tree needs to be five to six years old before it will produce nuts. The nuts grown in a hard shell that is difficult to break. 

Most well-known for:

Buttery and creamy flavor. They are starting to gain popularity amongst some foodies. 

Try them with:

They are prefect on their own and offer a great alternative to cashews and almonds for those who are looking for something different, or are counting the carbs.