Seeds we use
As we mentioned, some perceived nuts like Pistachios, Pine Nuts and Cashews are actually seeds. There are other edible seeds, but in this section we only talk about the seeds that we use in Nutty Kitchen’s recipes.
So with that said, let talk about Pine Nuts first.
Since the Paleolithic period, pine nuts have been eaten in Europe and Asia. They are most excellent in fish, meat and poultry dishes. In Italian they are called pinoli or pignoli and are an essential component of Italian pesto sauce. The pignoli cookie, an Italian specialty confection, is made of almond flour formed into a dough similar to that of a macaroon and then topped with pine nuts. I often use pine nuts as topping for various salads. Throughout Europe and Middle East the pine nuts used are from the Stone Pine. They are easily distinguished from the Asian pine nuts by their more slender shape and more homogeneous flesh. Asian pine nuts are a bit cheaper, so they tend to be used more often. Pine nuts contain thiamine, vitamin B1 and protein. Make sure to refrigerate pine nuts as they deteriorate quickly and become rancid.
Most people love sunflower seeds, they are packed with Vitamin E, an important antioxidant and a fighter against free radicals. Sunflower seeds have a high content of minerals like magnesium and manganese, as most seeds do, but there is a downside: sunflower seeds have a fairly high amount of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA). Because of the high PUFA content, it is important to consume sunflower seeds in small quantities. Too much can be very unhealthy.
Sesame seeds are exceptionally rich in iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and calcium, contain vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin E (tocopherol). They also contain lignans, including the unique content of sesamin, which are phytoestrogens with antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Among edible oils from six plants, sesame oil had the highest antioxidant content. Sesame seeds also contain phytosterols associated with reduced levels of blood cholesterol. The nutrients of sesame seeds are better absorbed if they are ground or pulverized before consumption, as in tahini. We use it in salads, baking and other dishes both in seed form and oil.
The seeds are also good sources of protein, and the essential minerals iron can provide over 20 per cent of the recommended daily iron intake, as well as zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and potassium. The seeds also provide essential PUFAs with at least one Omega 3 and one Omega 6 unsaturated fatty acid. They are excellent when roasted and added to salads or just as a snack on the go.
Flax seeds are chemically stable while whole, and milled flax-seed can be stored at least 4 months at room temperature with minimal or no changes in taste, smell, or chemical markers of rancidity. Ground flaxseed can go rancid at room temperature in as little as one week. We refrigerate both the ground and the seeds to avoid spoilage. Flax has a very subtle nutty flavor and is great when sprinkled over yogurt or used in cooking and/or baking. It also contains high levels of lignans and Omega 3 fatty acids. It is said that flax-seed may also lower cholesterol levels, especially in women and may benefit individuals with certain types of breast and prostate cancers.
Pomegranate are listed as high-fiber in charts of nutritional value. The fiber, as well as the unsaturated fat they offer, is entirely contained in the seeds. People who choose to avoid the seed forfeit nutritional benefits conveyed by the seeds fiber, fat and micronutrients. This fruit has been sought after for centuries and may cultures, and remains a delicacy today. We love sprinkling pomegranate seeds on our fruit bowl with Greek yogurt and flax for breakfast or sprinkle it on our salads as a refreshing and interesting addition.