Shelling nuts a day before using them will give air a chance to bring out the oil and moistness, improving their flavor.
When grinding in a blender or food processor, add a tablespoon of sugar or flour to each 1/2 cup of nuts to keep them from "clumping" or forming a paste.
To quickly crack open a large amount of nuts, put them in a bag and gently hammer until they are cracked open, then remove nutmeats with a pick.
To bring out the wonderful nutty flavor, toast nuts before using in cakes or pies. Spread the ground or whole nuts in a jellyroll pan. Toast at 350 degrees F for 10 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring occasionally for even browning.
One method of roasting and salting nuts is to lightly whip an egg white in a large bowl. Pour the nuts into it and shake them around. Scoop them out of the egg white and scatter on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse or kosher salt and bake at 300 degrees F until the nuts are golden brown.
Toast raw nuts by placing them on a cookie sheet and brushing lightly with a mild cooking oil. Place in a 350 degree F oven and turn the nuts from time to time until they are uniformly golden brown. Sprinkle with salt after toasting if desired.
Nuts can be chopped in a blender successfully by adding about a tablespoon of flour to the nuts before you grind them.
To prevent nuts from sinking to the bottom of a baked dish, mix them with some of the flour called for in the recipe before stirring them into the batter.
To blanch almonds, bring to a rolling boil enough water to cover about a half cup of nuts. Drop the nuts in the water, remove from heat and allow the nuts to stay in the hot water for about a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Use a paring knife to assist the nut out of the skin.
To remove Brazil nuts, bake them at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or freeze. Crack and shell.
To open a coconut, puncture the eyes with an ice pick and drain out the coconut water. Place coconut in a shallow pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the shell begins to crack. Cool it enough to handle, than tap it smartly with a hammer. The shell will almost spring apart. Pry out the meat with a knife.
To shred coconut, peel off brown skin with a swivel-blade peeler or paring knife. Place pieces of coconut in blender with some of the coconut water (or the liquid called for in the recipe). Process until fine; pour out and continue with the remaining coconut. This short-shredded coconut is suitable for use in pie fillings, batters, and fruit desserts.
To remove hickory nuts in one piece from their shells, hold the nut between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, stem end to the right. Place the narrow side of the nut against a brick, and sharply tap the nut with a hammer at a point one-third the length of the nut from the steam end. With a little practice, you'll soon be turning out more whole nutmeats and fewer fragments.
Pecans will come out of their shells in one piece if cooked first in boiling water for 15 minutes.
If it's important to get the walnut meat out whole, soak overnight in salt water before cracking gently.
To blanch shelled almonds, put them into boiling water and let stand 3 minutes. Drain. Slide skins off with your finger. Spread nuts on absorbent paper towels to dry. Roasting also will loosen the skins of peanuts, either shelled or unshelled. Source: Almond Board of California.
If you need large nut pieces, simply break nuts like pecans or walnuts with your fingers. For finer pieces, use a knife or chopping bowl. Almonds may be chopped in a blender or food processor, 1/2 cup at a time for 30 seconds on high speed. Or, place nuts in a zip lock bag and pound with a mallet or the bottom of a small sauce pan.
Roasting improves the flavor of nuts. To roast, place blanched or blanched nuts on a baking sheet in a preheated 300° F. oven. Bake for about 5 to 10 minutes, turning frequently to avoid scorching. Watch closely, as the nuts may be golden one minute then turn dark brown the next.
Store nuts in their shells to protect from light, heat, moisture, and exposure. If already shelled, store tightly covered in cool, dark, dry place or in the freezer. Salted nuts are more prone to rancidity than unsalted, so we recommend refrigerating after opening.
Roast in a 325*F (160*) oven, stirring 2 or 3 times during baking, watching closely, as the oats will roast faster than nuts. Try using roasted oats the next time you make oatmeal for breakfast...yum!