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Why not walnuts?
May 26, 2014 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Why are walnuts rarely (if ever) found for sale roasted?

Pecans, hazelnuts, hickory nuts and other hard-shelled tree nuts are usually available roasted for snacking. Why don't walnuts get this treatment? Relatedly, why do walnuts rarely appear in mixed nuts?
posted by murphy slaw to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I believe it's because walnuts are more difficult than most other nuts to shell mechanically without breaking the nutmeats into smaller, less aesthetically pleasing pieces.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:57 AM on May 26

You can buy them roasted. But, similar to FoB's line of thinking they do break pretty easy so you'd end up with a lit of small pieces of nut and few good size chunks, resulting in a lot of unsold bags of nuts, which I think would be an even bigger factor for mixing them up with other nuts
posted by edgeways at 10:24 AM on May 26

I agree that they're rare. But you can buy 'em from Amazon.
posted by alex1965 at 10:31 AM on May 26

Short answer, they turn rancid.

Long answer, the more polyunsaturated fat in a nut the more quickly it will turn rancid. And roasted/toasted nuts are more likely to turn rancid than their unheated counterparts.

Walnuts have a lot more polyunsaturated fat than other nuts.
100 grams of walnuts contain 47 grams of polyunsaturated fat
100 grams of pecans contain 22 grams polyunsaturated fat
100 grams of Brazil nuts contain 21 grams polyunsaturated fat
100 grams of peanuts contain 16 grams polyunsaturated fat
100 grams of almonds contain 12 grams polyunsaturated fat
100 grams of pistachios contain 14 grams polyunsaturated fat
100 grams of cashews 8 contain grams polyunsaturated fat
100 grams of hazelnuts 8 contain grams
So roasting/toasting walnuts is rancidity waiting to happen. Since no one wants to sell rancid nuts you have very few options when it comes to buying to roasted/toasted walnuts.
posted by zinon at 11:01 AM on May 26 [22 favorites]

Like zinon says walnuts are relatively high in omega 3 fats (which are a polyunsaturated fat), hence they turn rancid quickly. I always only buy raw walnuts myself, and am extra careful to store them well and eat them quickly. I don't do that as much with other nuts since it's not necessary.
posted by Blitz at 11:53 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]

I was going to say, they're a bit gross, compared to other roasted nuts.
Zinon has it.
posted by Elysum at 2:59 PM on May 26

Not gross! Try the walnuts freshly roasted with salt from street vendors in Xi'an.
posted by Wet Spot at 7:54 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]

Store walnuts and all other nuts in the freezer, wrapped air tight. They thaw quickly for use or eating.
posted by Cranberry at 11:47 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]

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