Hello Everyone and Welcome,
This newsletter is about nut oils. Many of us do not know about this product but nut oils have been used for over 5000 years. They are often used for skin, cosmetics, healing and massages, but many are edible and can be used for cooking, baking and are often used in salad dressings.
Today we are learning about tree nut oils, not peanut oil (which is not really a nut but a legume). Again, just like nuts, nut oils are heart healthy and flavorful. Walnut oil is the focus here because like walnuts, they are high in omega 3’s which is good for the heart. There are many others, each having their own flavor profile and each brand having a different strength of flavor because of freshness, quality and how the oil is processed. The more typical tree nut oils are walnut oil, hazelnut oil, almond oil, pecan oil, pistachio oil, macadamia nut oil, and other nut oils becoming more popular like avocado nut oil and coconut oil
Nut oils have no sodium, no potassium, (always check the label to be sure) however they are high in phosphorus which is important for some of you to know, especially if you have kidney issues. They are flavorful, low in saturated fat and some have a high smoke point good for high heat cooking. Most commonly they are used in baking, salad dressings or drizzled on after the food is cooked.
My knowledge about nut oils started with baking and using almond oil in many desserts. Then I learned to make a salad dressing recipe using almond oil and a very flavorful no sodium ingredient called pomegranate molasses (syrup) which I will discuss in a future newsletter. Later, I learned about macadamia nut oil at a farmer’s market and loved it especially on popcorn, as it has a bit of a buttery taste.
Then while researching the previous newsletter about nuts and looking for something without potassium, for my customers with kidney problems and those following a low potassium diet where nuts are not allowed, I learned quite a bit about nut oils and was surprised to find many available in the larger grocery stores, as well as natural and health food stores. However, I soon found out that most of these did not have much flavor. I kept looking, buying and researching and found out a couple of tips to share with you:
- Unrefined is usually tastier than the refined nut oils because they use better quality nuts for pressing.
- Roasted nut oils are very flavorful. Just like toasting nuts brings out more flavor, roasting the nuts before pressing, has more flavor. The French have been doing this for over 400 years.
- The nut oils seem to have a better flavor if they are in a protected container like colored glass or plastic, a large label to cover and protect the product is good, or stored in a can, seem to be the best choices for preserving flavor. Just like seasonings, light destroys flavor. Store in a cool dark place, like a pantry or cupboard. Nut oils are perishable and need to be refrigerated after opening and only keep a few months for maximum flavor.
- Most nut oils are plain or roasted but you may find some that have additional flavors like chilies, or garlic.
Note: Like the nuts they come from, nut oils are very low in saturated fats:
- Almond, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan and pistachio oils are high in monounsaturated fats.
- Walnut oil is high in polyunsaturated fats and also supplies omega-3 fatty acids
Walnut Oil-is strong and flavorful. It’s best when used in uncooked sauces or salad dressing, because when heated, it can become a little bitter which may be all right for some recipes.
Hazelnut Oil– A strong flavor and a good source of Vitamin E which is great for the heart
Almond Oil– Very popular and has a much milder flavor than walnut oil or hazelnut oil. It’s high in vitamin E.
Pecan Oil– Flavorful and unique. The freshness of the pecans used really affects the flavor.
Macadamia Nut Oil– A mild nutty flavor and a high smoke point for cooking.
Pistachio Nut Oil– A stronger flavor and a very distinct green color.
Cashew Nut Oil– Often used like an olive oil.
Pine Nut Oil– Popular as a gourmet cooking oil and becoming more well known as an appetite suppressant.
There are many more nut oils from all over the world to learn about and try. As far as I know they all have no sodium or potassium.
Instead of always using just olive oil in your salad dressing, try adding a little nut oil to vary the flavor of your recipe. Additional or different flavors help you not get tired of the same taste over and over.
Here is a recipe for a Walnut Oil Vinaigrette.
Walnut Oil Vinaigrette Recipe
A nutty flavor that is great as a salad dressing, also use to drizzle over fish or chicken or to brush on steaks, vegetables (cooked or raw, crudite’s), bread, rice or grains. Try tossing with cooked pasta (like the walnut sauce recipe in the previous newsletter about nuts). If the walnut flavor is too strong, cut it with a little water or a little bit of a lighter tasting olive oil, or almond oil. I use roasted walnut oil in this recipe as it is more flavorful, you can use regular walnut oil as well, even hazelnut oil will work at about half the amount of walnut oil and half extra virgin olive oil.
1½ Tablespoons of Tarragon vinegar, Sherry vinegar, or vinegar of your choice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon Table Tasty salt substitute, or to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, or your favorite mustard, (optional)
6 tablespoons roasted walnut oil, or half walnut oil and half extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic and Table Tasty and let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard and then add the oil. Whisk until it becomes thick and smooth. Add pepper to taste. Adjust the taste with more vinegar or oil, if necessary. Makes about ½ cup.
I hope this information is helpful to you and that you will start including a variety of nut oils in your heart healthy diet. Nut oils add more flavor and are good for you.
Just like with nut oils, fresh seasonings are so important for good aroma and flavor.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease.