Food hack – a great simple trick to chop nuts

Today’s not going to be a long post evaluating the deep science of food and food production, instead, it’s a really simple trick for chopping nuts that I discovered a little while ago when making a raisin and hazelnut bread (unfortunately, I forgot to make photos…).

Recipes often call for chopping nuts and roasting them. In a lot of cases you’re asked to chop the nuts first and only then roast them. However, I discovered it really is a lot easier the other way around! If you first roast the nuts (or, if you don’t have to roast the nuts, just heat them up) and only chop them after (while they’re still warm!).

It really is a lot easier to chop warm nuts than cold ones, a trick that will come in handy a lot of times!

Why chopping hot nuts is easier

Nuts contain a lot of fats. Most of these fats are actually solid at room temperature. This gives nuts their crunch and structure.

By heating the nuts a lot of these fats actually melt and become liquid. Of course, the nut will still keep its shape, which is because the structure is not only determined by the fats, but also for a big part by the plant texture of the nuts themselves.

Nevertheless, when chopping nuts, these soft fat do make it a lot easier to chops nuts. They won’t jump away during chopping, instead, they can be cut pretty easily.

Want crunchy chopped nuts?

Ever snacked from the nuts you’re roasting at that moment (even though you should save them for the recipe)? If you did, you might have also noticed that warm nuts miss the crunchy bit that I like about nuts. Instead they’re softer, this is exactly what’s caused by heating the nuts and thus melting the fats. It’s better to just leave the nuts to cool down, the fats will set again and the nuts will be crunchy again!

baking walnuts
Ok, walnuts are never really hard to chop (or just break with your hands) but also walnuts get softer by roasting them.

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