The appetite-suppressing and health benefits of nuts and seeds are lost when they are salted, oiled, roasted, stale or rancid. And, the fats in nuts and seeds are susceptible to oxidation after they are shelled and exposed to light and air—a process that destroys their nutritional value and degrades their taste.
Accordingly, nuts and seeds should be bought in small quantities and stored in their shells, which shield them against oxidation, in a cool, dry place. Discard any shells with cracks and any nuts or seeds that are discolored, limp, rubbery, moldy or shriveled or that have an "off" smell or taste. Store any shelled nuts or seeds in an airtight container in your refrigerator (one week or less) or freezer. Last, prepare your own crushed or slivered nuts, to ensure maximum freshness.
The enzyme inhibitors and phytates in nuts limit the availability of their nutrients. To maximize the nutritional value of nuts, soak nuts in salted water for six to eight hours, drain out the water and oven-dry the nuts on a cookie sheet on low heat. (Cashews become slimy after six hours.)
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