‘There’s two seconds of shaking and it’s all over. That’s two seconds per tree. When the walnuts are ready to be harvested, they are mechanically rocked from the trees, brushed into windrows and conveyed with sweepers and an elevator into the hopper. A tank-like machine, weighing tonnes and sounding destructive, is driven up to each tree where its long arms grab the trunk. Then the driver pulls a lever and the shaking begins. “It’s a good way to vent one’s frustration, I guess. The ground shakes and the trees certainly vibrate, but there’s no evidence that we know of to suggest there’s any detrimental effect on the trees,” says the walnut grower in the book, From Paddock to Plate.
Often the simplest foods are best for your health, and this is certainly the case when it comes to walnuts in which Mother Nature has crafted a nearly perfect package of protein, healthy fats, fibre, plant sterols, antioxidants, and many vitamins and minerals.
The outermost layer of a shelled walnut – the whitish, flakey part – has a bitter flavour, but resist the urge to remove it. It’s thought that up to 90 percent of the antioxidants in walnuts are found in the skin, making it one of the healthiest parts to consume. To increase the positive impacts on your health, look for raw nuts that are not pasteurised.
The health benefits of walnuts include a reduction of bad cholesterol in the body, an improvement in metabolism and control of diabetes. Other important health benefits of walnuts stem from the fact that these nuts possess anti-inflammatory properties, aid in weight management, and help as a mood booster. They are also believed to slow down the spread of cancer.
Walnuts have always been considered as “brain food”, perhaps because the surface structure of the walnut has a crinkly appearance like that of the brain. Due to this reason, they have been considered as a symbol of intelligence, leading to the belief that they actually increase one’s intellect. While this is not exactly true, recent scientific studies have proven that the consumption of walnuts does help in promoting brain function. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, which increase the activity of the brain.
Simply put, eating walnuts may be one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health.
Looking for a delicious walnut salad recipe? The one below is my absolute favourite! Otherwise create your own walnut salad at The Brasserie Market salad bar or top the oatmeal on our breakfast menu with delicious walnuts.
WALNUT, PEAR, PARMESAN AND SPINACH SALAD
raw unsalted almonds, handful
1 pear, thinly sliced
100g parmesan, thinly sliced
fresh spinach or rocket leaves
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and squeeze over fresh lemon juice. Serve.