When it comes to snacking, more and more Canadians are realizing the benefits of nuts – one of the world’s oldest and most satisfying grab-and-go foods. Nut consumption is on the rise. In fact, nut consumption in Canada grew by 14% in one year alone, with trail mix growth increasing by 22%. But this does not mean that all nuts are created equal. The first thing to consider is buying nuts that are 100 percent natural.
When it’s not an all-natural nut, of course. That’s because some nuts are low quality, processed, or may contain preservatives and artificial flavours that just aren’t found in nature. Not only can this make a difference in the nutrition and health value of the nuts, but it can affect the taste, too. It’s important to know what you’re getting when you purchase nuts and trail mixes, so read the packaging carefully and only look for high quality, 100% natural products
All-natural nuts use expeller pressed oils that have been mechanically extracted
using a press, not chemicals. This manual extraction removes only the best oil
and helps preserve taste and texture.
Many foods, including trail mixes, add sulfites as a preservative to increase shelf life. While they may preserve flavour and prolong shelf life, sulfites can also trigger asthmatic reactions.
Cranberries are sometimes squeezed for juice before being dried, making them appear dry and leathery.
Many nuts used in mixes are low quality – small in size, dry, or in broken pieces rather than whole nuts.
Artificial colours, flavours, and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup are often used to increase the flavour of nuts. Check the labels to ensure the nuts you are eating are truly natural.
Nuts sold in bulk or those packaged improperly can result in oxygen getting to the nut, making it stale. Look for nuts that are packaged to keep the freshness in.
Nuts have natural oils and can spoil quickly if exposed to oxygen. Many packaged nuts are not sealed adequately or there is no barrier to prevent oxygen from leaking inside the bag, resulting in stale and sometimes even spoiled nuts.
One way to prevent this is through nitrogen flushing – a 100 per cent natural process that helps keep nuts fresh in the package before they are opened. Before sealing the bag, the package is filled with nitrogen, which in turn pushes the excess oxygen out of the bag. This keeps the nuts fresher, longer.
This packaging method is standard practice with coffee beans, which also have natural oils that can spoil.
Another great thing about Back to Nature is that it has no artificial additives, preservatives, sweeteners, chemicals, hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup. It’s 100% natural. And we also only use premium ingredients—the best available nuts and harvested fruits. Nut types are individually roasted in small batches. Almonds separated from pistachios separated from cashews… so that each nut retains their original flavour and crunch. Even the dried cranberries are juicy because the cranberries we use are dried with their juices intact.
Allow us to elaborate on the nutritional benefits of nuts. Not only are nuts delicious and convenient, they’re a powerhouse of nutrition, too.
Try sprinkling nuts into salads, yogurt, cereal, pasta and cooked vegetables. Or add a handful to your muffin and pancake batter for an extra punch of flavour and nutrition. Add fruit and nuts to a cheese platter for new twist on a favourite appetizer. Experiment with flavour and texture by sprinkling or blending it in with softer cheeses. Chocolate bark is a decadent treat any time of year. Try adding your favourite trail mix into the recipe for a guaranteed flavour (and nutrition) boost.