Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Completely Nuts!

Today's blog entry is all about nuts...well...nuts, seeds, legumes and drupes...and of course knitting.

Long Story - Strap In

My husband Thaddeus used to work at this amazing little store in an amazing little outdoor shopping village.  The store was called The Nut Kettle and the shopping village was in Lahaska, PA called Peddler's Village.


This almost 50 year old business was longtime favorite of many people who have been going there since they were children.  The Nut Kettle roasted their own nuts, made various nut brittles and caramel corn all on the premises.

Until...five days before Christmas, the business suffered a devastating fire that put them out of business.  Gladly, no one was physically hurt during the fire, but the entire store was gutted by fire, smoke and water.

In addition to being heartbroken for the owner and her family, I also have to say I really missed having fresh-roasted nuts at home all the time.  They always had the highest quality nuts and they were always recently roasted, and for me, nuts are like coffee...once you've had superb, it's difficult to go back to average.

So, we've come up with our own solution until the business rebuilds...but before I describe that, just a few facts about "roasted nuts."
  1. When you read the term "roasted" do you think of the oven and turkeys? Did you know almost every "roasted nut" you've eaten was really deep fried in oil?
  2. Did you also know that almost none of the "roasted nuts" you've ever eaten were technically nuts at all?  The following information is from the Naturapathic Doctor's website:
    1. Nuts and seeds and drupes and legumes are as follows:
      1. True Nut:  Chestnuts, filberts, and walnuts are considered to be true nuts 
      2. Botanical Seed: Cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios and legumes (e.g. peanut). The peanut is considered to be a legume because it bears fruit in the form of pods (shells) that contain one or more seeds (usually two per pod). 
      3. Drupe: Almonds. Some botanists also include the fruits of walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, and pistachio nuts as drupes because of their outer, green, fleshy husk and stony, seed-bearing endocarp.
  3. Walnuts are the oldest known tree food — they date all the way back to 10,000 B.C., despite what some bible-literalists might tell you about the apple.

Home "Roasting"

Thaddeus also used to love having fresh-"roasted" nuts at home...they're a great snack.  So we had to find a way of roasting/deep-frying them, a source of raw nuts that was as good as his old employer, the oil in which to do it and fine salt.

We ended up buying a Proctor Silex Professional-Style 1.5 liter deep fryer (small enough for one portion of fried foods, but perfect for roasting nuts).


We needed a small appliance due to space constraints, so this one was perfect.

We found a great source of raw nuts at our Indian grocery store.  Great quality and inexpensive prices for cashews, peanuts, pecans and pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

Finding the oil was easy, although The Nut Kettle used a specific type/blend of oils for their nuts, so we replicated that (it may be a trade secret, so I won't mention it).

We also ended up pulverizing some pink Himalayan salt in a spice grinder to get it fine enough to put on roasted nuts (wear a mask if you do this...inhaling this can be rather jarring).

Here are some of the fruits (or nuts or seeds or drupes or legumes) of our efforts:



Current Knitting

There was a another error on the Easton Logo Blanket that required me to rip out the grafting I did with the last panel.  I'm working on getting back on schedule with that project.

I'm also working on a Knit-A-Long sock project with an on-line group of knitter friends.


I've never knit a sock with an afterthought heel, so this is an interesting learning for me.  Here's a closeup of the waste yarn that will be removed to created the heel.



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