The 6 Tips To Be Mindful About While Cooking With Nuts
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Often times, apart from being eaten as a snack or being used in trailmix, nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios and more are also used for cooking to get a delightful crunch, rich flavour, sweet taste, or nutritional benefits that come with it when incorporated into different kinds of dishes, from salads and gravies to desserts. They lend an earthy taste, thus enhancing the overall flavour of the dish.    

There are a variety of nuts available on the market that can be used in cooking. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and others have their own unique taste, which lends itself to the dishes they are used in. They are gluten-free and can be used in a variety of recipes, ranging from cakes and smoothies to curries. 

Moreover, when the nuts are toasted, they add a warm complexity that balances the flavour of the dishes. Besides, owing to their high fibre content and monosaturated fats, adding them to the dish makes it wholesome. However, despite their versatility, cooking with nuts can result in unexpected outcomes if precautions are not taken properly. Take a look at the common mistakes that must be avoided while cooking with nuts:   

  • Avoid Overheating   

The presence of natural oils in nuts can turn them rancid when exposed to high heat for a long period of time. Moreover, overheating can also cause them to taste bitter or burn them, thus ruining the flavour of the dish. To prevent this, toss nuts gently over low to medium heat and it is important to stir them frequently.  Toss them until they are lightly browned and exude fragrance. In some recipes, browning nuts helps convert their flavour into a deep and complex combination of tastes. This helps in providing an earthy taste to the dish. Keep an eye on the nuts to avoid them from burning and remove them from heat as soon as they’re done.   

  • Keep The Stale Nuts Away  

Nuts are one of those ingredients in our kitchen that remain on the shelves. They do not remain fresh forever and become stale after a certain period of time. Nuts contain natural oils that become rancid if stored improperly or for too long. Just like other ingredients, the freshness of nuts greatly impacts the flavour and texture of the dish. Stale nuts taste bland or have a musty flavour that ruins the overall taste of the recipe. Always check the expiration date, take a bite, and give nuts a sniff before using them to make sure they’re fresh.   

  • Avoid Using Salted Nuts  

When cooking with nuts, one of the most common mistakes is using salted varieties of nuts. Although salted nuts can be consumed as a snack on their own, they can cause an imbalance of flavours in your dish, especially if you’re incorporating the salted nuts in a dish that already contains salt. The added salt can overpower the other ingredients and make the dish too salty. Opt for unsalted nuts whenever possible. This allows you to regulate the saltiness of the dish. This can especially become a problem when using nuts in baked goods like cake, doughnuts, and more.

  • Toast Different Kinds Of Nuts Separately

Toasting nuts is an effective way to enhance the flavour and texture of the dish. However, it is important to avoid roasting different kinds of nuts together. Each type of nut has its own unique flavour and optimal toasting time. Thus, combining all the nuts together can result in uneven cooking and inconsistent flavour. Nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, etc. have different dimensions, saturated fats, and flavours that need to be toasted separately to achieve perfection. For instance, almonds take longer to toast than cashews. If they are toasted together, it can result in burnt almonds or undercooked cashews. 


  • Add Nuts To A Dish At The Right Time 

Just as nuts can add wonderful texture and flavour to a wide variety of dishes, it is important to add them at the right time to avoid overcooking or soggy nuts. In dishes such as stir-fry or salads, nuts must be added towards the end of the cooking process to preserve their crunchiness. For baked items, put the nuts into the batter or sprinkle them on top before baking to retain their texture and avoid sogginess.   

  • Store The Nuts Properly    

Nuts can become rancid when exposed to air, light, and heat for a long period of time. To extend their shelf life, it is important to preserve their freshness and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard. You can also store the nuts in the refrigerator or freezer for a longer shelf life. Just make sure that before using them in recipes, they come to room temperature to avoid any change in texture or flavour.