FF: Crack your own

Crack your own

Crack your own

I like nuts.  There, I’ve said it and now that it’s out in the open, we can move along.  I enjoy most nuts and love snacking on them.  There are a few that I do not like, but honestly there aren’t too many of those.

I try to keep nuts on hand for us to snack on and for cooking.  They provide protein and have healthy fats so you don’t have to feel bad about eating them.  They add great crunch and texture to dishes and I find they work amazingly well with a nice bowl of oats.

Growing up we didn’t really have nuts around all that much other than your standard peanuts which were for my dad to munch on.  My mom didn’t eat nuts and even though I love PB with all my heart and soul, snacking on peanuts wasn’t something I enjoyed unless presented to me in the form of brittle.  Which is a different story all together.

However, every year during the holiday season Grandma R would have out a bowl of whole nuts that you would have to crack yourself.  This fascinated me more than it probably should have.  I loved seeing all the different nuts and the type of shells they came in.  I liked trying to identify them and then see if I could get one out whole.  Cracking nuts is a very serious business because you can’t just go crazy or you will crush the insides, leaving you with dust.  Which isn’t really all that appetizing, trust me.

Bringing it back

Bringing it back

Every year during the holidays, the grocery stores bring out the bulk bins of whole nuts and the nut mixes and I get nostalgic remembering the bowl Grandma R would have out.

This year on a whim I decided to buy some mixed nuts to put out.  Scott thought I was crazy as this is not a tradition he is familiar with because his family did not do whole nuts.  We already had a nutcracker set because I actually bought it to use on crab legs!  Scott also thought the little digging tools that came with the nutcracker were sort of pointless and silly.  This from someone who’s never used them.

I had the perfect little milkglass bowl to put the mix in.  One that had been picked up in a secondhand shop at some point.  I poured the nuts into the bowl and placed the nutcracker alongside them.  And then I dug in.  Then Scott decided to give it a try and guess who now is in love with the technique?  Yup.  “Those little tools are handy!”  It’s amazing how much comfort I find in having this out. It’s just a small bowl but it’s presence takes up the whole kitchen.  I look at it and instantly remember holidays at Grandma R’s house which always makes me smile.

And I’ve decided to bring the tradition back and from now on, it’s going to be crack your own during the holidays.  Our current favorite is the Brazil nut which also proves to be the most difficult in cracking.  We have yet to get a whole, intact nut but we’re working on it!

Was/is this a tradition in your family for the holidays?

9 thoughts on “FF: Crack your own

  1. Ohh thank you for that memory of my grandmothers house with the nutcracker that I often used to smash my fingers inadvertently. she’s in a nursing home now so I forget about all those little things, THANK YOU!

  2. I do somewhat remember that at my grandma’s house as well — funny that it’s grandmothers, not our own mothers, that had the tradition. I do like to crack my own nuts, but admittedly, I don’t buy them that often.

  3. oh wow, I remember those brazil nuts during the holiday seasons in the 70s. At that point, the only shelled nuts I knew were peanuts, walnuts and sunflower seeds. I remember putting the brazil nuts whole in my mouth expecting to crack them open with my teeth, haha.

  4. No, we never had whole nuts as a tradition. Most likely because of that I *suck* at cracking them without pulverizing the whole thing. My ex liked to buy hazelnuts in the shell when the bins came out. I dreaded cleaning up his pile of sharp shells; so kind of him to leave them for me. Maybe that’s why he’s my ex. Hehe. Totally not trying to bring down the mood here at all… I love how the shells look and am quite intrigued by the nuts :)

  5. I never thought of it as a tradition, but my mom always did have nuts and the little silver smoosh your finger crackers. Your post reminded me of Christmas that my mom gave me a container with 5 golden walnuts and the nutcracker and pick. I liked how pretty they were, but missed the between the lines message- open them! Inside each was a $10 bill.

    Congrats on POTD mention!

  6. Nuts, nuts…glorious nuts! Your little bowl looks so beautiful and it’s contents so tempting.

    Yes, we were a nutty family too, but I’ve not kept up the tradition.. Reading your blog and seeing the lovely photo has spurred me on to dish out the nuts at Christmas!. Thank you for sharing!

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