Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Processing Walnuts and Walnut Kernels

Every step in the process from the propagation to the market is handled with care and attention. There are more than five thousand walnut growers, a large majority being family farms. Walnut production requires commitment and patience. After a walnut planted, it takes about seven years for it to grow into a tree suitable for harvesting.

Walnuts are removed from storage as needed and sent to the shelling department where they are mechanically cracked. Quality control requires the shelled material to be screened. Kernels are screened, and moved through electronic color graders. Finally they are hand-sorted by certified sorters and then are ready for packing, and preparations for the market.

Walnuts are produced in a wide variety of sizes and color grades to meet the specifications of any industrial formulation. Commercial product should meet the same high quality standards as those sold directly to consumers.

Walnuts As Antioxidants

A couple of new scientific studies put walnuts at the top position among a family of foods that represent antioxidants for healthy heart. "Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts," said Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who did the analysis.

Vinson noted that nuts generally have an unusual mixture of nutritional benefits, in addition those antioxidants, wrapped into a convenient and inexpensive package.

Scientists until now had never compared both the amount and quality of antioxidants found in different nuts, Vinson said. He filled that knowledge gap by analyzing antioxidants in various different kinds of nuts: walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, peanuts and others. Walnuts had the highest levels of antioxidants.

Vinson also noticed that the quality, or potency, of antioxidants present in walnuts was highest among the family of nuts. Antioxidants in walnuts were many times as potent as vitamin E, renowned for its powerful effects that protect the body against damaging chemicals involved in causing disease.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Walnuts Nutrition

Walnuts are revered as a symbol of intellectualism since long ago. Since ancient times their kernels have been compared visually with brain! The walnut kernels are enriched with health-benefiting nutrients, especially some fatty acids that are important for great health.

The nuts are edible kernels of the fruits from tree from the Juglandaceae family, in the genus: Juglan. Juglan species plants are medium sized believed to be originating in the mountain ranges of the southern Europe region.

The fruits are ready for harvesting by the autumn, when the thick green hull begins to crack open to expose the hard-shelled walnut that has a light brown color. Each nut features roughly spherical in shape and weights about 15 g and has a single edible kernel inside.

The walnut kernel has two uneven, corrugated lobes, off white in color and covered by a thin, light brown skin. The lobes are partially attached to each other. Oil extracted from the nuts is used in medicine, and aromatherapy (apart from cooking).

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Walnuts Marketing

Walnuts are mostly sold as a snack item or for use as an candies ingredient, and also baked goods. About 90% of walnuts are sold as shelled.

Roughly 40% of the walnut production is utilized domestically, with an additional 25% kept for storage, and the other 35% are for exporting.

For Bulgarian walnut production companies, Turkey and the European Union countries are the largest export market. The production from Bulgaria is always preferred because of its very low price and very high quality.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cardiovascular Benefits

Some scientific studies have emphasized the very favorable impact of walnut kernels on the ability of the blood vessels to respond to various stimuli in a healthy manner.

In order to respond to different stimuli in a healthy way, many aspects of human's cardiovascular system must be functioning optimally.

Those include:

  • Proper blood composition
  • Ample presence of anti-inflammatory nutrients
  • Proper balance in inflammation-regulating molecules
  • Proper composition and flexibility in the blood vessel walls

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Medical Benefits from Walnuts

Several years ago, a scientific report published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition said that walnut oil improves reaction to stress. It's well known that raw walnuts contain glyceryl triacylates of the n-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which is not as effective in humans as long-chain n-3 fatty acids, and (mostly insoluble) antioxidants. Roasting reduces antioxidant quality.

Another study has suggested that consumption of walnut kernels increases fat oxidation and reduces carbohydrate oxidation without any side effects, which suggests that consumption of walnuts may improve the use of body fat in overweight people.

Compared to other nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, and hazelnuts, walnuts contain the highest level of antioxidants.