A recipe for better health? That's Nuts!

A recipe for better health? That’s Nuts!

By John Sigona

Jimmy Sigona, John Sigona's son, with Chestnuts from Girolami Farms in Stockton.

From pine nuts in pesto, to walnuts in wontons, nuts are folded into some of the most delicious and nourishing native dishes worldwide. California is renowned for its agricultural abundance, and amongst the acres of wine & table grapes, leafy greens and oranges, nuts are one of California’s leading commodities…almonds and walnuts in particular! Simply taking a drive down the old highway though Morgan Hill proves this: there are acres of black walnut trees, little California-native jewels right under our noses!

Whether served raw, buttered, candied, roasted or in bread, nuts add another layer of texture and nourishment to dishes. It can be surprising that something so small can be loaded with so many health benefits!

Each nut has a different profile, but most are high in protein, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, calcium, fiber and good fats. These fats, unsaturated, mono- and polyunsaturated, play important roles in heart health and cholesterol. Chestnuts contain just a hint of fat and are the only nut with a significant amount of Vitamin C.

We get our locally grown chestnuts from Girolami Farms in Stockton, a farm that for more than 80 years has grown some of the largest & best quality pesticide-free chestnuts on the market. Girolami Farms is run by two brothers, Greg and Grant, who keep the family tradition going strong.

Raw nuts, meaning they’re not altered or heated, contain more valuable enzymes that help kick start the digestion process. Raw food enthusiasts and those with wheat intolerance sometimes use ground nuts, like pecans, as alternatives in pie crusts, for example.

I try to keep raw nuts and apples on hand for a quick pick-me-up. The fiber and protein in both provides the perfect energy boost you need to help your son with homework or reenergize your daughter for her soccer game.

Nuts are popular during the holidays, especially for entertaining and gifts. Looking for gifts for the children’s teachers? Come on into Sigona’s! We have an assortment of more than 30 California-grown varieties and flavors of nuts, from raw mixed nuts to candied pecans, the children can pop in gift bags and tie with ribbon that will work for gifts in a pinch! Happy Holidays!

Click here for four simple, healthy & delicious nut recipes!

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