Seasonal nuts and dried fruit (autumn and winter) - which one to choose?

Seasonal nuts and dried fruit (autumn and winter) - which one to choose?

After the myth that consuming dried fruit and nuts is bad due to their high caloric content has been proved false, traditional nuts and dried fruit (unsalted and unsweetened) have now become rightfully part of the daily diet of all those that care about their wellbeing and following a healthy diet.

Although they are now available all year round thanks to their high shelf life, even nuts and dried fruit have their own seasonality due to the collection periods of the various raw materials that occur at specific times of the year according to variety and production area.

In winter, especially at Christmas and New Year, nuts and dried fruit are protagonists at the table, included in many sweet and savory dishes but also consumed as they are, at the end of a meal or as a snack.

The reason why some nuts and dried fruit are typically consumed in winter and less in summer is due both to the culinary tradition of various regions but also, and above all, to the product’s seasonality as they are first harvested at the end of summer and on during the autumn to then consume them during the winter.

Below we will try to give you an overview of the typical products of autumn and winter as well as their main nutritional characteristics.

FIGS: figs are fruits originating in the Middle East, known since ancient times to Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Traces of the fig tree can be found in Egyptian writings, where it was revered as a tree of life and immortality, as well as in the Old Testament, where it is identified as a symbol of abundance. Dried figs are a source of minerals, in particular calcium (173mg/100g) as they contain more of it than whole milk (119mg/100g), but also iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. A portion of dried figs - about 40g, which correspond more or less to 4/5 figs - contains about 4 grams of fibre, which makes this food an ideal snack with good satiating power.

DATES: the date palm is considered the first tree cultivated by mankind and it is a plant with ancient origins that already existed in the cultivations of both the Assyrians and the Egyptians. The harvest of fresh dates takes place between October and November but we find them dried in shops all year round. Among date varieties, Medjool dates are the typical date of the Jordan River area, famous for their unparalleled sweetness, softness, and juiciness. The date fruit is high-energy and contains several minerals including magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. They are therefore excellent to reintegrate minerals, and are thus especially recommended for those who play sports. Fibre from dates also help normalize blood cholesterol levels and are a valuable ally against constipation.  

WALNUTS:  Chandler walnuts are of Californian origin, selected and patented by Prof. W.H. Chandler at the University of California (U.C. Davis) in 1979. The Chandler variety is one of the most cultivated in Italy for its innovative agronomic requirements and because, in terms of quality, it has nothing to envy to the Italian varieties. Harvesting begins in mid/late September. The main reasons for the beneficial effects associated with the consumption of walnuts are connected to their high content of unsaturated fatty acids and in particular of omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) and substances with a strong antioxidant action. The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels, and a daily consumption of 30g of walnuts also seems to contribute to the improvement of blood vessel elasticity. Walnuts are also an excellent source of vitamins such as vitamin B6 and vitamin E, as well as minerals (iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese).

ALMONDS: the almond tree is mentioned in many cultures: in Hebrew the name means ‘hardworking’ since in Israel it is one of the first trees to bloom at the beginning of February, during the feast of the Tree New Year (Tu BiShvat), while in the Bible it represents a symbol of promise for its early blooming. Almonds on the market can be light in colour (peeled almonds) or dark (shelled almonds): the difference in colour is given by the fact that peeled almonds have been deprived of the external cuticle while shelled almonds haven’t. From an organoleptic point of view, peeled almonds are often more popular with consumers thanks to their more pleasing taste. From a nutritional point of view, however, the external cuticle is rich in vitamin E, which contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. By removing the cuticle, many of the antioxidant properties associated with this fruit are therefore lost. In addition to vitamin E, which is the most present, almonds are also a source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.

PISTACHIOS:  according to a legend, pistachios were grown by King Nebuchadnezzar in the hanging gardens of Babylon for his wife. This shows that pistachios have been known since ancient times - indeed, some archaeological findings have highlighted its use as food since 7000 BC! Most of the fats contained in pistachio are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. If used to replace saturated fats within a balanced diet, they contribute to maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels. Pistachios are also a source of important minerals (iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium) and vitamins (B1, B2, B6, E, K, and folic acid). Furthermore, among nuts, pistachios are the ones that contain the greatest quantity of phytosterols, a group of vegetable compounds with a structure similar to that of animal cholesterol. The intake of these compounds can reduce blood cholesterol levels because, having a structure similar to cholesterol itself, they compete with it for the same carriers during absorption.

APRICOTS: it is difficult to define a precise moment to harvest apricots because we must take into account the cultivation area, the fruits’ degree of ripeness, the differences between varieties, and the reaction of the latter to climate factors. Apricots are harvested 2-3 times a year to follow the natural ripening of the fruits on the plant. In Turkey, the harvesting of apricots for drying generally starts in April. Apricots are the source of various phytocompounds such as polyphenols (catechins), carotenoids, fibre, and minerals, especially potassium, which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure and muscle function, and copper, which instead contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.

GINGER: in Asia, for thousands of years ginger (Zingiber Officinalis) has been used not only to flavour food but also as a treatment for many ailments. Indeed, ginger boasts numerous therapeutic effects especially on the digestive system. It is often used as a natural anti-inflammatory (it reduces the synthesis of that class of prostaglandins and thromboxanes responsible for inflammatory processes), as a digestive aid, and as an antiemetic remedy. It is also a great antioxidant thanks to the presence of manganese and flavonoids. During the winter, especially as Christmas is approaching, ginger powder becomes the undisputed protagonist of the cuisine of many countries, where it is used both as a spice to season dishes and as a main ingredient, as in the case with the famous gingerbread cookies.


Euro Company Analysis

Regulation (EU) No. 432/2012 Commission Regulation (EC) dated 16 May 2012

Nutspaper; Product of the month: figs; 2/2011

Nutspaper; Product of the month: dates; 2/2012

Nutspaper; Product of the month: walnuts; 1/2014

Nutspaper; Product of the month: almonds; 1/2008

Nutspaper; Product of the month: pistachio; 1/2008

Nutspaper; Product of the month: apricots; 1/2016

Our nuts

Related posts

Share this content

You added: You removed:

Updated order tot. (incl. shipping): ( products)