With nuts, as with other foods, the simplest way to use them is the best. There are greater objections to foods than that they are difficult of digestion, and in the case of nuts, that objection is overcome by thorough mastication; in fact, they are an aid to the cultivation of that important function in eating.
Another aid to the digestion of nuts is the use with them of an abundance of acid fruits. Fruits and nuts seem to be each the complement of the other, the nuts as well, preventing the unpleasant effects felt by some in the free use of fruits.
"No investigations have been found on record which demonstrate any actual improvement in the digestibility of nuts due to salt."-M. E. Jaffa, M. S., Professor of Nutrition, University of California.
Be sure that nuts are fresh. Rancid nuts are no better than rancid butter. Shelled nuts do not keep as well as those in the shell.
Almonds stand at the head of the nut family. It is better to buy them in the shell as shelled almonds are apt to have bitter ones among them. Almonds should not be partaken of largely with the brown covering on, but are better to be blanched.
Throw them into perfectly boiling water, let them come to the boiling point again, drain, pour cold water over them and slip the skins off with the thumb and finger. Drop the meats on to a dry towel, and when they are all done, roll them in the towel for a moment, then spread them on plates or trays to dry. They must be dried slowly as they color easily, and the sweet almond flavor is gone when a delicate color only, is developed. For butter they must be very dry, really brittle.
When blanched almonds are thoroughly dried, put them into a slow oven and let them come gradually to a delicate cream color, not brown. These may be served in place of salted almonds.
Brazil Nuts - castanas - cream nuts, do not require blanching, as their covering does not seem to be objectionable. They are rich in oil and are most valuable nuts. Slice and dry them for grinding.
Filberts - hazelnuts - cobnuts - Barcelonas, also may be eaten without blanching, though they may be heated in the oven (without browning) or put into boiling water and much of the brown covering removed. They are at their best unground, as as they do not give an especially agreeable flavor to cooked foods. They may be made into butter.
Pinenuts come all ready blanched. When they require washing, pour boilingwater over them first, then cold water. Drain, dry in towels, then on plates in warm oven.