The fruit of the walnut tree, which grows in temperate zones throughout the world. The two most popular varieties of walnut are the english (also called Persian ) walnut and the black walnut. A close relative is the butternut, also referred to as white walnut. English walnuts are the most widely available and come in many varieties — some with moderately thick shells, others with shells so thin a tiny bird can crack them open. They’re available year-round and come in three main sizes: large, medium and babies. When buying walnuts in the shell, choose those free of cracks or holes. Shelled walnuts should be plump, meaty and crisp; shriveled nutmeats are past their prime. Walnuts in the shell can be stored in a cool, dry place up to 3 months. Shelled nutmeats should be refrigerated, tightly covered, up to 6 months. They can be frozen up to a year. Walnuts are delicious in a variety of sweet and savory dishes and baked goods. They’re also used to make a fragrant, flavorful oil (see walnut oil). See also nuts.



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