Mixed nuts are great. They are nutritious and delicious. Mixed nuts are very versatile. A pack of mixed nuts is a good thing to bring with you as a trail food. It is a very filling snack, and very convenient and easy to eat. How do you make an already good product like mixed nuts better? Make it spicy.
Spicy mixed nuts aren’t for everyone, especially not for those who do not eat spicy food. But for those who do enjoy this food, there is no question that the spicy taste elevates the flavor of mixed nuts.
Spiced Mixed Nuts Trivia
- It is easy to make homemade spicy mixed nuts. This means you have a tasty snack at home or if you want, you can also use homemade spiced mixed nuts as a gift to someone who likes it. A perfect – and practical – gift for any occasion.
- Peanuts, despite the name and despite being a common ingredient in mixed nuts, is not a nut but a legume.
- There was a time when makers of mixed nuts are cheating the consumers by selling mixed nuts loaded with a lot of peanuts and very little of everything else the government had to intervene and regulate production of mixed nuts to ensure it has the right amount and variety to qualify as mixed nuts. Why did they do this? “Peanuts themselves are cheaper” and they will make a lot of profit selling mixed nuts for its commercial value when it is nothing more than a can of peanuts.
- Archeological findings show that nuts are part of the Stone Age diet 780,000 years ago.
- Sweet chestnuts are the favorite table nuts in Japan. The second-best favorite? Mixed nuts. While mixed nuts are very popular in the US, they are only second behind peanuts.
Spiced Mixed Nuts Buying Guide
Buy spiced mix nuts only if you or someone to whom you are buying this for can eat nuts and spicy food.
Buy enough to have something on the pantry should you need it, but don’t buy a lot since this is not a seasonal product and spiced mix nuts are available all year long.
If this is your first time buying spiced mixed nuts, ask friends or relatives which brand they prefer and how it tastes. If you are trying a new brand you haven’t tried before, buy in small quantities just in case you end up not liking it.
A safety seal found in the lid of spiced mix nuts sold in cans or plastic jars is your guarantee that the item has not been tampered with. So make sure to check the safety seal when buying spiced mix nuts. If this is broken or damaged, the product may have been tampered with and the quality and safety have been compromised. Do not buy it if the safety seal is damaged or missing. Check also for other signs of breach on product quality and safety, like holes, dents, missing or torn label, marks, etc.
Check the expiration date or best before date as well. You don’t want to buy spiced mixed nut that is days away from its expiration date or best before date especially if you are planning to store it for some time.
Make sure the peanuts are less than 50% (a smaller percentage of peanuts found in your spiced mixed nuts is better, because this means it contains more premium nuts, worth the price tag especially if the brand is not cheap.
Spiced Mixed Nuts Production & Farming in Texas
Some of the ingredients used to make spiced mixed nuts are grown and available in Texas.
Almonds – The state of Texas is generally not a suitable place to grow almond trees since these trees bloom in early spring, the season where frost damages the blossoms or forming nuts.
But don’t worry, the varieties called ‘Mission’ and ‘Hall’s Hardy’ bloom much later, which can allow the almonds to be harvested in the fall. In Texas, these varieties can be grown in large containers, but they need to be transferred indoors during fall so that they can be safe until the final spring frost occurs.
Cashew nuts – Cashew trees are hardy in USDA zones 10 through 11 and they’re sensitive to cold temperatures. Only the areas near Brownsville, Texas fall into USDA zone 10. Thus, if you’re not from this area, cashew wouldn’t grow successfully. If you do live in this zone though, you may have some luck in growing cashews outdoors.
Macadamia Nuts – These trees thrive in the southernmost regions of Texas, where the soil is deeply fertile, well-draining, and slightly acidic. Here, the rainfall is also abundant and there’s only a little danger of frost. If you’re planning to grow macadamias in Texas, start in a nursery seedling. Once you’re done with rootstocks, plant them in January so that by the onset of spring, you can have your macadamia nuts on the ground.
Peanuts – Peanuts are a warm-weather perennial vegetable crop that requires 120 to 130 frost-free days to reach harvest. Interestingly, Texas is the second-largest producing state in the U.S., with around 200,000 acres of peanuts planted each year. Here, peanuts are usually sowed in the garden around 3 to 4 weeks after the average last frost date in Spring, when the soil is at least 65ºF. Thus, to get a head start on the season, start the peanuts indoors for about 5 to 8 weeks before transplanting the seedlings outdoors.
Moreover, there are 4 basic types of peanuts and all the Texas farmers grow them all. Furthermore, Texas is also the only state that produces all the organic version of these 4 types:
- Runner Peanut – This type of peanuts accounts for 80% of the peanuts grown in the U.S. They feature a uniform, medium-sized seed that grows from a low bush. They are ready to harvest 130 to 150 days from planting. This type makes a good choice for roasting and peanut butter. This is also the type that is often used as beer nuts. Besides Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma also grow this type.
- Spanish Peanut – This type of peanuts has small, roundish seeds that are covered with brownish-red skin. They also grow on a low bush but they are ready to harvest around 120 days from planting – shorter than the runner type. It provides a higher oil content and therefore it’s more suitable to be used for oil, peanut butter, salted peanuts, peanut candy, and peanut snacks. Besides Texas, Oklahoma and South Africa also grow this type.
- Virginia Peanut – Also known as “ballpark peanuts,” this type of peanuts has the largest seed among them all. Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why they’re often used for gourmet snacks. They’re ready for harvest between 130 to 150 days from planting. Although it’s grown in Texas, Virginia and North Carolina grow most of them.
- Valencia Peanut – This type of peanuts has small oval seeds that are crowded into each pod. The seeds feature a bright red skin. Unlike the other types, they are ready for harvest within 95 to 100 days from planting. This type offers a sweet taste that’s why they’re often roasted in-the-shell or boiled fresh. It’s also the best type to be used in confections and cocktails. Although it’s grown in Texas, New Mexico grows most of them.
Pecans – The United States is the largest producer of pecans in the world. And, 75% of its total crop is being produced in Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas. Pecan trees can be grown from USDA zones 5 through 9, and thrive best where there are long, hot, and humid summers. Thus, the climate in all areas of Texas is suitable for all pecans. In fact, this state produces around 60 million pounds of pecans each year, from about 70,000 acres worth of native and improved pecan trees that are commercially grown. However, the crops can be damaged by the early fall freezes and late spring frosts. Wichita is the most productive area to grow them. Central and West Texas are also adaptive when it comes to growing pecans. Here, Texas growers usually harvest pecans around the middle of October. But, in the Panhandle and other northern Texas areas, the growers should plant early-harvest varieties to avoid fall freeze injury to maturing pecans.
Pistachios – Far West Texas or the west of the Pecos River have arid regions where the disease pressure is low, salinity is common and natural, and irrigation is widely available. Despite this, however, there are only less than 10 pistachio growers in this area. Perhaps, it’s because the acreage has lowered substantially since the 1970s.
Walnuts – Several promising cultivars were collected and evaluated at Texas A&M University in the city of Uvalde. These cultivars are said to be resistant to walnut blight: Reda, Geoagiu 86, Orastie, Germisara, and Geoagiu 3 X 4 X 453. Under Texas conditions, these cultivars appear to be superior to the standard commercial varieties Payne, Eureka, Hartley, and Broadview.
On the other hand, the Texas Black Walnut (Juglans microcarpa) is a far superior rootstock for walnuts, growing in higher pH soils of Texas than its Eastern and Californian counterparts. The Texas black walnut grows wild in places that have full sun and deep, well-drained soil. They’re usually found in the river bottoms and the hillsides facing east or north. Given the time and favorable conditions, these trees can grow an average of 50 to 75 feet, with 150 feet being the maximum. These nuts ripen between October and November.
There are small, local businesses in different parts of Texas that makes and sells spiced mixed nuts, like Valerie’s Thyme in Grapevine, Austinuts in Austin, and Sugar Land Spice Company in Sugar Land.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals
Spiced mixed nuts may contain chemicals. It may contain synthetic ingredients, artificial flavors, and high fructose corn syrup. Some brands may have used hydrogenated vegetable oil and nuts treated with propylene oxide (PPO).
Peanuts and the nuts used to make spiced mixed nuts could be treated with pesticides and other chemicals.
- Almonds – Treated with propylene oxide.
- Pecans – Pecans are commonly treated with pesticides and/or fungicides because pecans are prone to a wide array of diseases, pests, and physiological disorders that can limit the growth of the tree and the production of fruits. These range from scabs to hickory shuck worm and shuck decline. Likewise, they are also susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections such as Pecan scab. Particularly, in humid conditions. Pests like ambrosia beetles, twig girdlers, casebearers, hickory shuck worm, curculio, phylloxera, weevils, and several aphid species also feed on the leaves, stems, and developing nuts.
- Pistachios – Aflatoxin can be found in poorly harvested or processed pistachios.
- Walnut – Kocide 101 or the old Bordeaux mix are commonly sprayed on the Walnut trees to resist the walnut blight disease. Aflatoxin can also be found in poorly harvested or processed walnuts.
A website article indicates that in 2020, Germany was the top exporter of mixed nuts, while the United Kingdom is the top importer. Other top exporters include France, Italy, United States, Turkey, United Kingdom, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark, and Slovakia.
The market for mixed nuts (including spiced mixed nuts) include North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. According to a report, North America leading market for mixed nuts, with the US considered as the major contributor to the growth of the North American mixed nuts market, while Brazil is expected to be one of the fastest-growing markets in Latin America.
It takes products from countries all around the world – Italy (almonds), China (walnuts), Bolivia (Brazil nuts), India (cashew), Turkey (pistachios), Canada (hazelnuts), and US (pecan) to make mixed nuts.
Spiced mixed nuts come in different kinds of packaging. Spiced mixed nuts are sold in plastic jars or tin cans. These are also sold in different kinds of food pouches – many claim to be eco-friendly, reusable, and resealable. Some food pouches are completely or partially transparent / see-through, allowing the customers to be able to see the spiced mixed nuts inside. Many of these food pouches used for spiced mixed nuts are airtight barrier bag, a kind of packaging that prevents the movement of gases, water vapor, smell, and light. This is important to maintain the quality of the food inside the bag, or to protect the spiced mixed nuts from outside factors that can change the spiced mix nuts’ appearance, smell, and taste, as a result of exposure. You can also find spiced mixed nuts sold in kraft paper bags. This is common for artisan, homemade, small-batch, gourmet spiced mixed nuts.
Enjoying Spiced Mixed Nuts
Eating spiced mixed nuts is very easy and casual. Put some in a bowl or on your hand and start eating!
Some people eat mixed nuts as an appetizer. Some eat mixed nuts in between meals to keep from getting too hungry. Spiced mix nuts are a popular bar food. It is great to have if you are drinking beer or having a cocktail.
It is common to use mixed nuts when making a trail mix, which is good if you are hiking or going on a road trip. Using spiced mixed nuts is up to you though; imagine feeling very tired and thirsty after a long hike and what you have to eat to replenish your energy intensifies your thirst because it is spicy.
Eat spiced mixed nuts if you are trying to lose weight. This food will help you do that. This is a great addition to your diet and meal plan since spiced mixed nuts are not really fattening compared to other food you typically snack on, like chips and other types of junk food.
While spiced mixed nuts are healthy, it may not be a good idea for some people to eat spiced mixed nut. Who are these people? First in the list are those who have peanut allergy or those who are allergic to any type of nut commonly found in spiced mixed nuts. This food is also a no-no for people who are advised not to eat spicy food. Instead, they can opt for the regular variant which is not spicy.
People with food sensitivities are advised to read the label before buying and eating spiced mixed nuts. The label indicates the ingredients used in making spiced mixed nuts, as well as allergen information which states if the product has been processed on equipment that also packages products that may contain milk, soy, and wheat.
Store spiced mixed nuts in an airtight container. It is ok to keep it at room temperature.
You can cook with spiced mix nuts. You can use it with chocolates. You can use it if you are making cookies or confectionaries. Foods like farka (a Tunisian breakfast food), tarts, and toffee are made using mixed nuts.
You can make spiced mix nuts at home. It is very easy and the ingredients are available in the grocery, supermarket, or specialty stores. Recipes on how to make spiced mixed nuts are available in cookbooks and online.
You get the nutritional benefits from eating peanuts, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, as well as the benefits of eating spices like cumin, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne. Eating spiced mixed nuts allows the body to acquire protein, fiber, antioxidants, and good cholesterol. Spiced mixed nuts means our body gets Spiced mixed nuts also contain iron, calcium, vitamin E, niacin, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and many other vitamins and minerals, depending on what is found in your spiced mixed nuts.
Spiced mix nuts can help reduce the risk of heart disease, help improve brain function, help improve the digestive system, and help control blood sugar levels.