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How To Toast and Store Walnuts

Walnuts

Though walnuts, a common ingredient in many recipes, are a source of fat and calories, they also provide omega-3 fatty acids and mostly unsaturated fat, which may help protect against heart disease. A tablespoon or two of walnuts adds just 50 to 100 calories to a meal. Make the flavor go further by toasting them.

Toasting crisps their texture and brings out their rich aroma and taste. Include toasted walnuts in your tossed green salads and fruit salads, on cereals and mixed in with rice dishes.

Here are two ways to toast them and some tips on storing them:

Oven Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toast walnuts BEFORE chopping them into smaller pieces.
  3. Place nuts in a single layer in an ungreased shallow pan or RIMMED baking sheet such as a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.

(DO NOT use a baking sheet without sides. You may have nuts all over the oven if you accidentally tip the sheet when removing it from the oven.)

4. Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until they are GOLDEN brown. A toasted walnut may look more GOLDEN than BROWN. They will continue to brown slightly after they're removed from the oven. Stir once or twice or shake the pan during toasting to aid in even browning.

5. Remove from pan to cool.

NOTE: The first time you try toasting walnuts, it's better to err on the side of under-toasting than over-toasting. As walnuts toast, you'll notice a change in their fragrance as well as their color.

Stove-top Toasting

Stove-top toasting works well for small batches of walnuts. With this method, the parts of the walnuts touching the skillet may become darkest, unlike the oven method where the walnuts become more of an overall golden color.

  1. Toast walnuts BEFORE chopping them into smaller pieces.
  2. Heat walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until they're golden brown and they give off a rich, toasty fragrance. Watch walnuts closely when using this method as it's easy to burn them.
  3. Stir or toss walnuts frequently for even toasting.
  4. Remove from pan to cool.

Storing Toasted Walnuts

Rather than toast just a handful of walnuts for yourself or a small number of people, make extra walnuts for later use. Here's a tip from Maureen Ternus for the Walnut Marketing Board on storing toasted walnuts:

"It's best to toast walnuts as close to the time of use as possible. While toasting does not change their nutritional value, it does accelerate the timeline until they lose their freshness. After toasting I would recommend storing in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks."

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.