Nuts can be an excellent addition to one’s diet, providing healthy fats, protein, vitamin E, minerals and phytonutrients. They add richness and crunch to many types of dishes and can be used in almost any meal. Cashews are amazing when blended into a wonderful cream sauce or soup. Nuts provide texture to vegan main dishes and are a natural in breakfast with fruit and whole grains to help keep you going until lunchtime. Walnuts are great in salads and, of course, all nuts can be used in healthy desserts and snacks.

Summer, however, is perhaps not the best time for nuts. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and others are harvested from August through October and when you buy them in summer, you are getting a crop that is almost a year old. The healthful polyunsaturated oils contained in nuts do not hold up well and go rancid when exposed to heat, oxygen and light.

Everyone has tasted rancid nuts in baked goods, or actually purchased a bag of nuts with the date not yet expired only to have it taste and smell terrible. That bad smell is rancid oil and if you discover it in nuts or other oil-containing foods take it back to the store. To safely store nuts and other oil-containing foods at home keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or, better yet, the freezer.



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