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Snacks are what we eat aside breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some are fresh and need to be preserved in the refrigerator, whilst some can be preserved by drying. However, the good thing about snacks is that they should be available when we want them. With flour products taking over our shelves and predisposing some to flour-related health problems, we are in search for healthier options. Below is a list of nuts to our rescue. The shelf life of these may vary, but I recommend not later than two months to avoid consuming rancid food.

  1. Groundnuts: This food amongst other benefits, is rich in monosaturated (healthy) fats, vitamins E and D, and protein. To preserve for longer periods, they are roasted and preserved in airtight containers. Groundnuts can also be made into a paste of peanut butter (ose oji) which is locally spiced with salt and pepper and usually eaten with garden eggs. It can keep for up to a month outside the refrigerator.
    Heap of cashew nuts isolated on white background
  2. Cashew nuts: Cashew nuts are gotten from roasting the seeds of cashew fruits. Just like the groundnut, they are rich in monosaturated fats and contain minerals like magnesium necessary for bone and muscle health. When properly roasted, they lose their acidic properties and like the groundnut, they keep well in airtight containers for months.
  3. African breadfruit: This is known as ukwa in Igbo. Nutritional value of the seeds is rated at 17% protein, 10% fats and 40% carbohydrates. This is a natural source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Dried breadfruits come in varieties. To differentiate the types, hard dried ones are dark brown and hard while the softer ones are a lighter shade of brown.
  4. Tiger nuts: It is not difficult to locate the Hausa trader as he hawks the tiger nuts from his barrow on the streets and in the local market. Fresh tiger nuts are yellow with specks of brown husks but the dried ones are brown. Though this might not sound like a common idea, dried tiger nuts can stay long and add to our variety of nuts. And because the drying does not require heat, it has its nutrients retained and thus provides great health benefits.
  5. dried datesDate palms: Dates grow on date palm trees. Dates come in various textures of soft, semi-dry and dry and harvested dates can stay up to a year if refrigerated. However, properly dried dates can stay up to 3 months. They are great sources of dietary fiber, vitamin-B complex and potassium. Like the tiger nut, date palms do not require intense heat to preserve and thus have much of their nutrients intact.

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This article was first published on 17th March 2016 and updated on January 27th, 2017 at 3:14 pm


Nnenna is an editor and writer at Connect Nigeria. She loves fine art, books and places.

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