One of America’s Favorites – Mixed Nuts

December 14, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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A typical assortment of mixed nuts

Mixed nuts are a snack food consisting of any mixture of mechanically or manually combined nuts. Peanuts (actually a legume), almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts (filberts), and pecans are common constituents of mixed nuts. Mixed nuts may be salted, roasted, cooked, or blanched.

In addition to being eaten directly, mixed nuts can be used in cooking, such as for Tunisian farka, tarts, and toffee. Trail mix consists of nuts mixed with raisins and other dry ingredients.

 

 

In Japan, mixed nuts are the second most popular table nuts, behind sweet chestnuts; in the United States, they are second only to peanuts. Mixed nuts have also gained in popularity in the Argentinian market, which imported some $1.9 million in 1997, nearly half from the U.S. During the year 2002, U.S. companies sold $783 million of mixed nuts incorporating four or more varieties, mostly in canned form, representing hundreds of millions of pounds.

The individual nuts that make up mixed nuts are harvested from all over the world. As a Dallas Fed publication supporting free trade puts it,

Mixed nuts from a can

“In the average can of mixed nuts, you might find almonds from Italy, walnuts from China, Brazil nuts from Bolivia, cashews from India, pistachios from Turkey, hazelnuts from Canada—a true international assortment.”

This reality provides an incentive for nut salters to favor free trade for nuts, as opposed to nut farmers, who would generally support trade barriers. In fact, one historical argument for United States salters is that importing nuts can encourage domestic production, since mixed nuts provide a “wagon” on which everyone’s sales ride. For example, cashews are not produced in North America, and it is necessary to import them because mixed nuts are essential to the sale of pecans, which are grown exclusively in North America.

 

Because they are relatively inexpensive, peanuts are typically a major ingredient in mixed nuts, although they are viewed as less fancy than other nuts; often “deluxe mixed nuts” are advertised as containing no peanuts. Alrifai, a brand in the Middle East, Identifies the expensive nuts as kernels. In 2006, a batch of “deluxe” mixed nuts was recalled because peanuts had crept into the mix. The move was not to save face: peanuts are the ingredient of mixed nuts most commonly associated with life-threatening food allergies.

Less than 50% peanuts

Less dramatically, some mixed nuts advertise themselves to contain “less than 50% peanuts”. For a 60 Minutes segment that originally aired in 1997, Andy Rooney tested such a 12-ounce (340 g) can of Planters brand nuts, pleading boredom on a Saturday. He determined that “there was a tiny fraction less than six ounces of peanuts . . . amazing precision for a nut factory.” Later, in 2004, a cockeyed.com How much is inside? episode estimated that the peanut weight percentage in two such 11.5 oz cans was, in fact, a little over 50%.

Besides peanuts, cashews are usually the next least expensive nut, and in deluxe mixes they tend to be the most common ingredient. Hazelnuts and Brazil nuts are also “relatively cheap”, while pecans are the most expensive ingredient.

 

There are two different ways the nuts can be processed. The first is dry roasting, where heat is applied indirectly to the products. It is important that the nuts or seeds are stirred constantly to avoid over- and under-cooking. This method requires no additional ingredients. The second is oil frying, where the nuts go into preheated oil for a certain amount of time. There are various oil roasting methods from continuous, batch and curtain fryers. The ultimate impact on the nuts can vary; both methods are recommended by studies.

 

Percent composition by weight is a serious matter in the U.S., where mixed nuts have been regulated by the Food and Drug Administration since 1977. Up to that point, the phrase “mixed nuts” had been legally meaningless. A 1964 Consumer Reports investigation of 124 cans of mixed nuts, representing 31 brands bought in 17 American cities, determined that most mixed nuts of the time were mostly peanuts, often 75%; peanutless brands were usually dominated by cashews. Many cans bore misleading labels or were underfilled. Consumer Reports concluded, “What’s needed of course is a Federal standard of identity…”, detailing a list that of requirements that, with the exception of their desire to limit broken nuts, anticipated the 1977 rules.

On March 15, 1977, the FDA promulgated a new standard of identity for mixed nuts in 42 FR 14475. The present standard, as modified by 58 FR 2885, Jan. 6, 1993, requires that mixed nuts must contain at least four different varieties of tree nuts or peanuts. (Products with three or fewer varieties are now commonly labelled as simply “mixes”.) The container volume must be at least 85% filled, and the label must state whether any peanuts are unblanched or of the Spanish variety.

The most detailed section deals with weight percentages:

Brazil nuts ride on top of peanuts

“Each such kind of nut ingredient when used shall be present in a quantity not less than 2 percent and not more than 80 percent by weight of the finished food.”
Furthermore, if a variety X exceeds 50%, the label must conspicuously state “contains up to 60% X”, and so on in 10% increments up to 80%. (The first example given by the FDA is “contains up to 60% pecans”.) When testing mixed nuts for compliance, the FDA samples at least 24 pounds to reduce sampling error.

Modifying words like “fancy” or “choice” have not historically carried any legal meaning in the United States, and they remain absent from the current regulations. In a 1915 federal case against “fancy mixed nuts” that were argued by competitors to be an inferior grade, U. S. v. 25 Bags of Nuts, N. J. No. 4329 (1915), the court declined to accept a trade standard. The ruling said

“It seems to me that until the Department establishes a set standard of quality… it would be altogether unsafe… to make them amenable to such a vague and indefinite standard as I understand the Government seeks to establish by the testimony of men engaged in the business of handling nuts.”
Nutritional Benefits
A Harvard University Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Dr. Frank Hu, reports that recent studies found daily nut-eaters were less likely to die of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.

February 5th, 2020 – WORLD NUTELLA DAY

February 5, 2020 at 12:13 PM | Posted in Food | 5 Comments
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WORLD NUTELLA DAY 2/5/2020

World Nutella Day celebrates what happens when hazelnuts and chocolate collide. For example, millions of people celebrating all on February 5th each year!

It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention. Adding hazelnuts when cocoa is hard to come by may have been an Italian trick during hard times. In the 1800s, in the northern Italian city of Piedmont, they made a paste of chocolate and hazelnuts at a time when the nuts were abundant, but the cocoa was not.

At the end of World War II, cocoa was once again difficult to come by. Pastry Maker, Pietro Ferrero, made loaves of this sweet paste and called it Giandujot. Soon after, the Ferrero Company was founded on May 14, 1946.

It wasn’t until 1951 that Ferrero made the paste into a spreadable form. We wouldn’t even recognize the spread by name until 1964 when Ferrero’s son Michele gave the jar of creamy hazelnut and cocoa the name Nutella.

One of America’s Favorites – Peanut Butter

February 3, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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“Smooth” peanut butter in a jar

Peanut butter is a food paste or spread made from ground, dry-roasted peanuts. It often contains additional ingredients that modify the taste or texture, such as salt, sweeteners, or emulsifiers. Peanut butter is popular in many countries. The United States is a leading exporter of peanut butter and itself consumes $800 million of peanut butter annually.

Peanut butter is served as a spread on bread, toast, or crackers, and used to make sandwiches (notably the peanut butter and jelly sandwich). It is also used in a number of breakfast dishes and desserts, such as peanut-flavored granola, smoothies, crepes, cookies, brownies, or croissants. It is similar to other nut butters such as cashew butter and almond butter.

The two main types of peanut butter are crunchy (or chunky) and smooth (or creamy). In crunchy peanut butter, some coarsely-ground peanut fragments are included to give extra texture. The peanuts in smooth peanut butter are ground uniformly, creating a creamy texture.

In the US, food regulations require that any product labelled “peanut butter” must contain at least 90% peanuts; the remaining <10% usually consists of “…salt, a sweetener, and an emulsifier or hardened vegetable oil which prevents the peanut oil from separating”. In the US, no product labelled as “peanut butter” can contain “artificial sweeteners, chemical preservatives, natural or artificial coloring additives.” Some brands of peanut butter are sold without emulsifiers that bind the peanut oils with the peanut paste, and so require stirring after separation. Most major brands of peanut butter add white sugar, but there are others that use dried cane syrup, agave syrup, or coconut palm sugar.

Organic and artisanal peanut butters are available, but their markets are small.

A tractor being used to complete the first stage of the peanut harvesting process

Production process
Planting and harvesting
Due to weather conditions, peanuts are usually planted in spring. The peanut comes from a yellow flower which bends over and infiltrates the soil after blooming and wilting, and the peanut starts to grow in the soil. Peanuts are harvested from late August to October, while the weather is clear. This weather allows for dry soil so that when picked, the soil does not stick to the stems and pods. The peanuts are then removed from vines and transported to a peanut shelling machine for mechanical drying. After cropping, the peanuts are delivered to warehouses for cleaning, where they are stored unshelled in silos.

Shelling
Shelling must be conducted carefully lest the seeds be damaged during the removal of the shell. The moisture of the unshelled peanuts is controlled to avoid excessive frangibility of the shells and kernels, which in turn, reduces the amount of dust present in the plant. After, the peanuts are sent to a series of rollers set specifically for the batch of peanuts, where they are cracked. After cracking, the peanuts go through a screening process where they are inspected for contaminants.

Roasting
The dry roasting process employs either the batch or continuous method. In the batch method, peanuts are heated in large quantities in a revolving oven at about 800 °F (427 °C). Next, the peanuts in each batch are uniformly held and roasted in the oven at 320 °F (160 °C) for about 40 to 60 minutes. This method is good to use when the peanuts differ in moisture content. In the continuous method, a hot air roaster is employed. The peanuts pass through the roaster whilst being rocked to permit even roasting. A photometer indicates the completion of dry roasting. This method is favored by large manufacturers since it can lower the rate of spoilage and requires less labor.

Cooling
After dry roasting, peanuts are removed from the oven as quickly as possible and directly placed in a blower-cooler cylinder. There are suction fans in the metal cylinder that can pull a large volume of air through, so the peanuts can be cooled more efficiently. The peanuts will not be dried out because cooling can help retain some oil and moisture. The cooling process is completed when the temperature in the cylinder reaches 86 °F (30 °C).

Blanching
After the kernels have been cooled down, the peanuts will undergo either heat blanching or water blanching to remove the remaining seed coats. Compared to heat blanching, water blanching is a new process. Water blanching first appeared in 1949.

Heat blanching
Peanuts are heated by hot air at 280 °F (138 °C) for not more than 20 minutes in order to soften and split the skins. After that, the peanuts are exposed to continuous steam in a blanching machine. The skins are then removed using either bristles or soft rubber belts. After that, these skins are separated and blown into waste bags. Meanwhile, the hearts of peanuts are segregated through inspection.

Water blanching
After the kernels are arranged in troughs, the skin of the kernel is cracked on opposite sides by rolling it through sharp stationary blades. While the skins are removed, the kernels are brought through a one-minute hot water bath and placed on a swinging pad with canvas on top. The swinging action of the pad rubs off the skins. Afterward, the blanched kernels are dried for at least six hours by hot air at 120 °F (49 °C).

After blanching, the peanuts are screened and inspected to eliminate the burnt and rotten peanuts. A blower is also used to remove light peanuts and discolored peanuts are removed using a color sorting machine.

Grinding
After blanching the peanuts are sent to grinding to be manufactured into peanut butter. The peanuts are then sent through two sizes of grinders. The first grinder produces a medium grind, and the second produces a fine grind. At this point, salt, sugar and a vegetable oil stabilizer are added to the fine grind to produce the peanut butter. This adds flavor and allows the peanut butter to stay as a homogenous mixture. Chopped peanuts may also be added at this stage to produce “chunky” peanut butter.

Packaging

A jar of commercial “creamy” peanut butter

Before packaging, the peanut butter must first be cooled in order to be sealed in jars. The mixture is pumped into a heat exchanger in order to cool it to about 120 °F (49 °C). Once cool, the peanut butter is pumped into jars and vacuum sealed. This vacuum sealing rids the container of oxygen so that oxidation cannot occur, preserving the food. The jars are then labelled and set aside until crystallization occurs. The peanut butter is then packaged into cartons distributed to retailers, where they are stored at room temperature and sold to consumers.

A 2012 article stated that “China and India are the first and second largest producers, respectively”, of peanuts. The United States of America “…is the third largest producer of peanuts (Georgia and Texas are the two major peanut-producing states)” and “more than half of the American peanut crop goes into making peanut butter.”

Nutritional profile
In a 100 gram amount, smooth peanut butter supplies 588 Calories and is composed of 50% fat, 25% protein, 20% carbohydrates (including 6% dietary fiber), and 2% water (table).

Peanut butter is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of dietary fiber, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, niacin, and vitamin B6 (table, USDA National Nutrient Database). Also high in content are the dietary minerals manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper (table). Peanut butter is a moderate source (10–19% DV) of thiamin, iron, and potassium (table).

Both crunchy/chunky and smooth peanut butter are sources of saturated (primarily palmitic acid, 21% of total fat) and monounsaturated fats, mainly oleic acid as 47% of total fat, and polyunsaturated fat (28% of total fat), primarily as linoleic acid).

Peanut allergy
For people with a peanut allergy, peanut butter can cause a variety of possible allergic reactions, including life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potential effect has led to banning peanut butter, among other common foods, in some schools.

Symptoms
* Shortness of breath
* Wheezing
* Tightening of the throat
* Itching
* Skin reactions such as hives and swelling
* Digestive problems

Peanut butter cookies, a popular type of cookie made from peanut butter and other ingredients

As an ingredient
Peanut butter is included as an ingredient in many recipes: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter cookies, and candies where peanut is the main flavor, such as Reese’s Pieces, or various peanut butter and chocolate treats, such as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the Crispy Crunch candy bar.

Peanut butter’s flavor combines well with other flavors, such as oatmeal, cheese, cured meats, savory sauces, and various types of breads and crackers. The creamy or crunchy, fatty, salty taste pairs very well with complementary soft and sweet ingredients like fruit preserves, bananas, apples, and honey. The taste can also be enhanced by similarly salty things like bacon (see peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich), especially if the peanut butter has added sweetness.

One snack for children is called “Ants on a Log”, with a celery stick acting as the “log”. The groove in the celery stick is filled with peanut butter and raisins arranged in a row along the top are “ants”.

Plumpy’nut is a peanut butter-based food used to fight malnutrition in famine-stricken countries. A single pack contains 500 calories, can be stored unrefrigerated for 2 years, and requires no cooking or preparation.

As animal food
Peanut butter inside a hollow chew toy is a method to occupy a dog with a favored treat. A common outdoor bird feeder is a coating of peanut butter on a pine cone with an overlying layer of birdseed.

Quinoa Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Hazelnuts

September 18, 2018 at 5:01 AM | Posted in Jennie-O, Jennie-O Turkey Products | Leave a comment
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Came across a Delicious Fall recipe from the Jennie – O Turkey website, Quinoa Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Hazelnuts. For the Recipe you’ll need; Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Shallot, Quinoa, Hazelnuts, and Cranberries. This is just one of many Delicious and Healthy Recipes that you can find at the Jennie – O site! Check it out today. Enjoy and Make the Switch in 2018! https://www.jennieo.com/

Quinoa Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Hazelnuts
Potatoes and protein rich quinoa, mixed with your favorite fall flavors, over a delicious twist on classic stuffing.

INGREDIENTS
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 large shallot, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
½ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
½ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
salt and black pepper, if desired

DIRECTIONS
1) Heat oven to 400°F. On large, rimmed baking sheet toss sweet potatoes, apples, shallot and garlic with olive oil. Roast 20 to 30 minutes or until tender.
2) In large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat to low and simmer 17 to 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with fork.
3) In large bowl, combine quinoa and roasted vegetables. Add toasted hazelnuts, dried cranberries, lemon juice, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper, if desired.

RECIPE NUTRITION INFORMATION
PER SERVING

Calories 240
Protein 6g
Carbohydrates 39g
Fiber 4g
Sugars 1g
Fat 8g
Cholestero l0mg
Sodium 20mg
Saturated Fat 1g
https://www.jennieo.com/recipes/895-quinoa-stuffing-with-sweet-potatoes-apples-and-hazelnuts

Jennie – O Turkey Recipe of the Week – Quinoa Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes, Apples & Hazelnuts

December 5, 2014 at 6:42 AM | Posted in Jennie-O Turkey Products | 1 Comment
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This week’s Jennie – O Turkey Recipe of the Week is a side dish Quinoa Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes, Apples & Hazelnuts. A delicious and healthy side dish for any meal! This would go perfect with upcoming Christmas Jennie – O Roasted Turkey. See this and all the rest of the Recipe Selection, Tips, and Products on the Jennie – O Turkey website. http://www.jennieo.com/

 

 

 

Quinoa Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes, Apples & Hazelnuts
Potatoes and protein rich quinoa, mixed with your favorite fall flavors, over a delicious twist on classic stuffing.

 

Quinoa Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes, Apples & Hazelnuts

Ingredients
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 large shallot, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
½ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
½ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
salt and black pepper, if desired

 
Directions
Heat oven to 400°F. On large, rimmed baking sheet toss sweet potatoes, apples, shallot and garlic with olive oil. Roast 20 to 30 minutes or until tender.
In large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat to low and simmer 17 to 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with fork.

In large bowl, combine quinoa and roasted vegetables. Add toasted hazelnuts, dried cranberries, lemon juice, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper, if desired.

 
Nutritional InformationJennie O Make the Switch
Calories 240 Fat 8g
Protein 6g Cholesterol 0mg
Carbohydrates 39g Sodium 20mg
Fiber 4g Saturated Fat 1g
Sugars 1g

 
http://www.jennieo.com/recipes/895-Quinoa-Stuffing-with-Sweet-Potatoes-Apples-and-Hazelnuts

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