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A glance at this table will show the high food value of nuts, and will explain why they may take the place of meat in the dietary.
Since nuts belong to the class of foods that are put up to keep, that is, with little water, they may be transported and used months after ripening.
They are not as yet liable to adulteration, and their quality is evident to the experienced buyer.
The United States furnishes a great variety of nuts, and the few not grown here are imported in quantity, Brazil nuts and filberts forming the bulk of the latter class.
The Brazil, or Para, nut grows on a large tree found in the Amazon forests (Bertholletia excelsa). It is sometimes incorrectly called castanea nut.
The filbert, or hazelnut (Corylus tubulosa L.) is more used in Europe than in America, both for the table and for oil, of which it contains a surprising amount for so dry a nut.
Pignolias, the seeds of pine, are increasing in favor, particularly the Egyptian varieties, although several excellent varieties of pine nuts are grown in the southwest.
The pecan is a tree native to the United States (Hicoria pecan), growing from Iowa to Texas, where the greater proportion is raised. Its thin shell, being easily removed, makes it a great favorite.
The English walnut (Juglans regia L.) is an Asiatic tree introduced into England in the middle of the sixteenth century. It is now most successfully grown in California, the 1898 crop being estimated at eight million pounds. The black walnut and butternut are seldom found on the market, although both furnish edible nuts.
The chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) is a well-balanced food material, and the tree grows in most temperate lands. This nut furnishes a staple article of diet for the poorer classes along the Mediterranean, being made into puddings, cakes, and bread. Flour or meal made from it might easily replace many other meals in the diet.
The cocoanut palm (Cocos nucifera L.) furnishes food, oil, fiber, and adulterating material, especially for ground spices. Various preparations of the oil have been introduced as lard substitutes.
The pistachio tree (Pistacia vera L.) is said to have been cultivated in Egypt in the time of Joseph, and is now found mostly along the borders of the Mediter
Other nuts, such as almonds, are sometimes dyed with coal tar dyes to imitate pistachios.
The almond is not a nut, properly speaking, but a drupe, or stone. The almond tree (Prunus amygdalus Stokes) is supposed to be a native of Turkestan and closely related to the peach. It is now naturalized in California. The table variety is the sweet or papershell.
Variety amara furnishes the oil of bitter almonds. Other stones are not commonly substituted.
The peanut (Arachis hypogæa L.) is probably a native of Brazil, but is grown in nearly all temperate and subtropic regions. It is not a true nut, but grows in a pod on vines, and is one of a small group of legumes which bend the flower stalk until the young fruit is buried in the soil to ripen there. The American crop is four million bushels or more, about one-seventh of the world's product. In Europe the oil is used instead of olive oil for a salad oil, and makes an excellent substitute.
The olive (Olea Europæa) has been grown in California only from the time of the early Mission fathers, but has attained the proportions of a profitable industry. Some seventy varieties are grown in the State. Olives are sometimes partly dried before crushing in the oldfashioned stone mills for the extraction of the oil. The watery product is allowed to stand for perhaps a month and the clear oil is decanted. This process is claimed to give a delicacy of flavor which the filtered oils lack. The green olives gave on analysis 13 per cent of fat, while the ripe fruit gave 25.5. The oil may be eaten with bread instead of butter.
Today “ salad oil” is derived from many sources At pres
besides the olive. Cotton seed oil and corn oil are most frequently used, but other seed oils and peanut oil are found in European samples. The label in more or less correct Italian does not prove the contents of a bottle to have come from the sunny land. ent a great deal of the salad oil has never crossed the seas, but is known to the dealers for what it is, cotton seed oil. The oil is pressed out from the cotton seeds by powerful presses and makes a very clear, sweet oil, just as wholesome, for aught any one knows, as the oil pressed from the olive, and for home use it is certainly much cheaper. The trouble with the sale of it is, like that of oleomargarine, that it is sold under false pretences and for an exorbitant price.
In America the cereals are grown so freely and are prepared by machinery so easily that nuts cannot compete in price; but there are compensations, since nuts may be used without cooking, and also since the fat they contain makes them a more valuable food.
In comparing the cost of nuts with the cost of cereals, the difference in food values must not be lost sight of. Cereals are largely starch. Nuts in general are rich in fat, and therefore pound for pound have approximately twice the food value. The content in proteid of nuts is also higher as a rule than in cereals, and in the peanut more than twice as much. The proteid of nuts seems to be in a very digestible and utilizable form. It should be remembered that nuts are the form of food best suited to replace meat. This is made clear from the comparison in the table. The price should, therefore, be compared with that of meat rather than with that of cereals.
MEAT, POULTRY, FISH
EAT is a form of food which requires very little
expenditure of force for its assimilation, since that work was done by the animal when living, and man avails himself of it. Rightly used, it forms a valuable addition to man's diet. The consumption of meat has steadily increased in spite of the increase in price, which in England is said to have risen 35 per cent in the last twenty-two years. The amount consumed each day varies from one-tenth of a pound to two pounds a head.
Since meat contains 40 to 50 per cent of water and moisture is the prime requisite for the development of bacteria, it is readily seen that meat is nearly as perishable as milk, which has only 10 to 15 per cent more of water.
Butcher's meat as it has been obtained in small communities was the last food to be suspected. But, as in the case of milk, the concentration of population on small areas has necessitated the transportation of raw or frozen meat and poultry long distances, and the keeping of large quantities for weeks or months. People insist on living so crowded together and have developed such an insatiable appetite for meat that the local abattoirs are unable to supply the demand, and a large