Nutcrackers at the ready! Get stuck into our five favourite Christmas Nuts
We love snacking on Christmas nuts! This holiday season, why not treat yourselves, and your loved ones, to bowls of these five festive favourites.
Nuts have been a part of Christmas traditions for a really long time, so it’s no wonder we enjoy eating nuts at this time of year! In fact, when Christmas trees starting appearing in homes in the 18th century, nuts were used to decorate them, and on the 12th day of Christmas the family would crack them open and enjoy them together. In Germany, St. Nicholas used to give out nuts on his name day – December 6th. And who can forget the traditional nutcracker figures that pop up everywhere in the lead up to Christmas?
But how much do you know about your favourite Christmas nuts? Find out where they come from, what you can do with them, and more, here!
These Christmas favourites grow in California, North Africa, South and West Europe, Australia and the Middle East on almond trees which can grow up to a mighty 10m (33 ft.)! The almond tree is related to other stone-fruit trees like cherry, peach, plum and nectarine and the nut is actually the hard-shelled fruit! Sliced or slivered toasted almonds look and taste great on top of Christmas day green beans and can be used to make fresh almond milk. Of course, they’re also used to make beloved marzipan which is a Christmassy must for cakes and desserts!
Another of our favourite Christmas nuts are Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are the seeds of the fruit that grow on the Brazil tree. Did you know that these trees can live for 500 years, grow up to a staggering 50m (160 ft.) tall and are some of the largest in the South American rainforest? Once cracked open, the fruit reveals up to 24 triangular, hard-shelled seeds each containing these large, deliciously sweet nuts. Chocolate coated brazil nuts make a great Christmas gift, but they can also be used in vegan nut roast recipes and all kinds of different desserts! Just make sure to eat them up quickly once you’ve taken the shell off, as they go off quickly.
Hazelnuts are the nut of the Hazel tree which grows across Europe and the US where you can find them in parks and gardens. They’re normally sold with the shell on, but once cracked open, you’ll find the sweet, round, cream-coloured kernels. Should you be lucky and pick Hazelnuts up in the garden, make sure you give them some time to dry before you crack them. These are much loved Christmas nuts as they’re so versatile – they taste great with chocolate, coffee and as the star ingredient in Nutella and pralines.
Who doesn’t love cracking open walnuts by the fire at Christmas time! These juicy seed kernels grow on the Persian, black or English walnut trees which are all members of the Juglans family. Most come from France, China or the US. Like other Christmas nuts, they too taste fantastic in sweets and desserts, but also in muesli and a wonderful walnut pesto! As with Brazil nuts, though, they go off quickly once the shell is taken off, so make sure to eat them up as quickly as you can.
Macadamia nuts are some of the most expensive Christmas nuts. This is because they grow in extremely hard kernels, which are notoriously difficult to crack! Evergreen macadamia trees are native to Australia, but also grow in New Zealand, South Africa and Hawaii. These trees can live for up to 100 years and grow up to around 12m (40 ft.) tall. Once cracked open, you will find the much-loved kernels which taste characteristically buttery and creamy. Macadamia nuts can be eaten raw, roasted, or ground into nut butter. They’re also often eaten with white chocolate and can be found in many other desserts too.
All that’s left to do is go nuts! Get roasting, chopping and munching on these wonderful Christmas nuts.