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Nuts and Seeds

Botanically, nuts and seeds are the same.  Nuts are the seed of the plant or tree from which they come.  The name nut is used for a number of different types of seed with a woody outer casing and an edible kernel. 

Apart from their application in pastry work, nuts and seeds add flavor and texture to stuffings, salads, sauces, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish dishes.  

Nuts keep for any length of time, but have to be protected from heat, light, air moisture and infestation.  Ideally, store them in sealed air pockets or air tight containers.  keeping time will vary according to the type. Unshelled nuts are well protected and will keep much longer.  Processed nuts, such as those which are sliced, ground, or flaked have a short shelf-life but their life can be extended by refrigeration.  If stored incorrectly, the at content of the nuts will go stale.  Seeds should be purchased whole if possible.  

Nuts are very high in fats and therefore are perishable and can become stale quickly.  The high fat  content makes them an ideal source of oils and these are used in both savory and sweet dishes. 

Types of Nuts:
  • Almonds - used widely in baking, for pastes confectionery, oil, marzipan and garnishes.
  • Brazil nuts - mainly use as garnish for cake and in confectionery.
  • Bunya nuts - large pine nuts encased in a woody shell, they have a starchy texture like chestnuts with a light pine flavor. Boil first to make soft and open while still warm. Use in pastries and chocolates
  • Cashews and Peanuts - Both of these nuts have only limited application in the pastry kitchen.
  • Chestnuts - mainly used in pastry work for cake filling, desserts and sauces.
  • Coconuts - have a wide application in pastry work, baking, confectionery, cakes, ice cream and desserts.  it is used as desiccated coconut flesh, coconut milk or coconut cream.
  • Hazelnuts - used in all aspects of pastry work, as well as ice cream, cakes and desserts to add flavor and texture.  They can be used as nuts, or as oil paste or liqueur.
  • Macademia - They are used as a flavoring ingredient in desserts, ice cream and confectionery.
  • Pecans - related to walnut and have similar applications in pastry work.  Their best known use is in pecan pie.
  • Pistachios - used for their pleasant, mild flavor and color.   They are used in sauces, ice cream and confectionery and for decoration.  They are sometimes added to marzipan paste.
  • Walnuts - there are many varieties of this tree, which is a native of Persia.  Walnuts are used extensively in baking biscuits, confectionery, ice cream and as a garnish.    


  • Poppy seeds - are used in cakes, cake fillings, desserts and confectionery
  • Pumpkin seeds - have a limited application in desserts
  • Sunflower and sesame seeds - used mainly in biscuits and health cakes
  • Wattle seeds - selected edible wattle seeds are dry roasted and ground.  They can be used to flavor desserts, pastries and ice cream.  

Whole or ground nuts maybe used as a meat substitute with pulses in a vegetarian diet. Nuts also form the base of specialised sauces such as pesto and satay sauces.

The most common use of nuts is in dessert recipes.  There are wide ranges of applications, from marzipan, walnut sponges, biscuits and a wide range of pastry dishes and confectionery work. 

Nuts can be served as a garnish, like sprinkled on vegetables or as a crust or as part of a dish like stir fry.

Only the chef's imagination forms a barrier to the menu use.



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