There are at least 30 different varieties of walnut. The 3 most well known are the English walnut (my favorite because it is also mild), the Black Walnut, and the White or Butternut Walnut. These nuts are grown commercially in the USA, Romania, France, Turkey and China.
- Good source of omega 3 fatty acids, an ant-inflammatory fatty acid.
- Contain high levels of anti-oxidants
- Excellent source of Vitamin E
- Contain many of the B Complex vitamins
- Rich source of minerals like manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Things to Consider
Walnuts are high in Omega 6's (the fats we don't want too much of). In fact they have 2x as many grams as almonds. The only nut higher is pine nuts. As I wrote in the post on almond flour a few weeks ago, the omega6/omega 3 balance is something we do need to be aware of.
As Mark of The Daily Apple and designer of the Primal diet points out, nuts were originally eaten seasonally and intermittently, not everyday all year round.
His advice: Don't burn your nuts, treat them as a snack and not a staple, and don't cook with nut oils. He also points out that since we mostly eat nuts close to the state in which they grow, that omega 6 is bound up in a pretty complete nutritional source and so the fat is protected by the natural antioxidants.
It is nothing like extracting or isolating the omega 6 oil all by itself. His conclusion: Don't go overboard but enjoy nuts of all kinds on a regular basis.
Of course it goes without saying, but I will anyway, that if you are allergic to tree nuts, then walnuts are not a option at all. Stay away.
And if you read my article last week on pasteurizing almonds, let me leave a bit of good news. Walnuts are not routinely pasteurized at this point and in fact seem to be one of the only nuts that when sold as raw has not been heat treated in anyway.
Where to Find Walnuts
Walnuts grow fairly wildly in the United States so it may be easier to find a local source of these than some other nuts. I know in Pennsylvania my local farmer grows black walnuts and hickory nuts which he sells very reasonably in the fall.
Of course Amazon has many choices of walnuts for sale. Here is one that looks more reasonable and still fits the organic raw option.
Or here are walnuts (and almonds) for sale from Bremner's Farm and they are also organic and reasonably priced for good quality nuts.
Do you have any great sources of raw walnuts to recommend? Please let us know in the comments below. What are some of your favorite ways to use walnuts?