For some reason nuts make us think of Autumn (even though they're available all year round!).
Walnuts and chestnuts are now perfectly in season, so we thought it was the perfect time to take a look at why we’re nuts about Autumn nuts.
Whether it’s using walnuts in a delicious slice of cake to accompany your coffee or a crunchy walnut topping on your roast beef or adding chestnuts to a delicious stir-fry or soup, these nuts are extremely versatile and tasty.
They can also be eaten on their own – try roasting the chestnuts for a real winter wonder or enjoy a handful of candied walnuts as a snack.
Better still, they are healthy and nutritious! Both scoring five stars on the health star rating (eaten in moderation of course!).
Walnuts are naturally low in sugars and sodium and are an excellent source of essential omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and B-complex groups. They are also a rich source of minerals. If you eat a handful of walnuts a day, you should be getting your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals (folate, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and copper) and plant protein.
Though walnuts have been grown in Australia since the late 1800s, it was not until over 100 years later that production of the nuts really came into its own. Harvests increased from 150 tonnes (in-shell) in 2002 to around 6000 tonnes (in-shell) in 2012.
- as a healthy snack on their own
- as a topping on yoghurts, desserts or meat
- in cakes and biscuits
- as part of a cheese platter
“When buying walnuts for a recipe, it is always a great idea to buy a handful extra so you have a healthy snack on the go,” advises Michael from 53 Degrees East.
Chestnuts stand out from other nuts when it comes to their nutritional profile. In fact, they are more comparable to sweet potato, sweetcorn and potatoes. They are high in dietary fibre, rich in minerals and folates and a good source of vitamins, including Vitamin B and the antioxidant Vitamin C. Unlike other nuts and seeds, Chestnuts are relatively low in calories and fats.
Chestnuts were introduced to Australia during the gold rush in the 1850s. Popular in Asia and Europe they continue to gain popularity here as migrants and tourism increase demand.
“Roasting chestnuts over charcoal makes them taste even more delicious. Just throw them straight onto the coals. I had them for the first time in Italy many years ago and now it’s how we roast them at home,” said Frank of F&J Fruiterers.
- eaten on their own boiled or roasted
- as part of a stir-fry or gnocchi dish
- in your favourite roast turkey stuffing
- as a buttercream
Pro Tip: As with all nuts, store your walnuts and chestnuts in a cool, dry place. Nuts keep for longer when kept in their shell but you can keep shelled nuts in the freezer for up to six months to stop them going rancid. Take out the quantity you need and defrost for around 30 minutes prior to use.