Any Easy Guide to Toasting Walnuts for Any Occasion
Be it for the holiday season or simply to add a little extra something to a salad, toasting walnuts is a simple and rewarding process that can be mastered by any aspiring cook. With just some basic items kept in most kitchens and a bag of walnuts from the grocery store or local farmer’s market, you can enjoy the sweet, nutty snack year round.
Items You’ll Need for Toasting Walnuts
You don’t need any fancy ingredients to toast walnuts, so people new to the kitchen shouldn’t fear the process. Essentially all you need ingredient-wise is the shelled walnuts themselves and perhaps a little oil, but this is completely up to you.
Depending on the way you decide to toast your walnuts will determine the kitchen tools required. Since walnuts are so easy to toast, you can even use a microwave oven. If you’re trying to impress the in-laws, however, you may want to go the traditional route and use your oven or stove. All of these methods will be discussed below.
While toasting walnuts is possible with a microwave, you will not get the best result using this method. It’s great in a pinch, however, and if you just want to add a little pizzazz to a salad, this way works just fine.
To toast walnuts via microwave, all you need is a microwave-safe plate. Absolutely do not use a plastic plate for this process. Plastic can be fine for reheating a slice of pizza, but it will definitely melt under these conditions.
Arrange your walnuts on the plate in a single layer. If you would like them very lightly coated in oil, you may do so, but then you should place them on a paper towel atop the plate. This decision is completely up to you. Microwave on medium level for 5 – 6 minutes, but be sure to stir them around every 2 minutes. This is also a good way to monitor their progress.
One of the more preferred methods is to toast your walnuts in a skillet. Oil is not necessary for this process, but you may wish to add a dash for good measure. Aside from prep time and clean-up, this method is actually quicker than microwaving.
Simply throw your walnuts in a skillet that can accommodate them all and cook on medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes. You should be stirring them frequently during this time, and you will be able to tell when they are done by a slight darkening in color, and crunchiness in texture. Feel free to taste test!
Oven Toasting Method
This method is the most traditional, and can really lend itself to walnut variations and additions such as cinnamon and sugar. For basic walnut toasting, however, all you will require is a cookie sheet and wax paper if you feel so inclined.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the walnuts in a single layer on your cookie sheet (with or without the wax paper) and bake them in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Check them frequently—you don’t want to overcook them.
Storing Them After Toasting Them
Your newly toasted walnuts should be stored in a tightly sealed container and placed in a cool area with low moisture and no sunlight. If you plan on using them soon, you can simply place them in your refrigerator or in your pantry if it is dry and cool enough. If, however, you plan on storing them for any significant amount of time, you should store them in your freezer. They will be in good shape in the freezer for up to a year if properly stored.