Recently back in style – and easily found in all the major food supply stores, nuts are one of the basic food storage items to have when are looking to provide quick proteins to our bodies.
We can purchase nuts for surviving in small packages, and stuff them into our survival backpacks, pouches, pockets. They can last for a considerable amount of time, so there isn’t anything wrong with consuming most nuts even after the recommended expiration date.
But how much do we really know about the best nuts for survival? The nut family covers a huge variety indeed. There is no surprise that we may ignore the most important facts about them, like:
- country of origin
- nutritional facts
- best method of conservation
This is just to name a few. One thing for sure: nuts are for everyone. And we Preppers, know already something about it. This article is meant to lift the lid on a fascinating world we often take for granted, starting from some historical facts you may ignore.
10 historical facts about nuts
“A thing which I regret, and which I will try to remedy some time, is that I have never in my life planted a walnut. Nobody does plant them nowadays-when you see a walnut it is almost invariably an old tree. If you plant a walnut you are planting it for your grandchildren, and who cares a damn for his grandchildren?”George Orwell
- Royal Nut. This was the name given to the walnut during Byzantine era. Walnut trees hava indeed deep roots. In fact, in a Ibn al-‘Awwam’s 12th-century manual based on agriculture some cultivations were mentioned.
- 1919. The pecan tree was declared the state tree of Texas. In 2001, the pecan was cindicated to be the “health’s nut”.
- San Saba (Texas) was turned to be “The Pecan Capital of the World“.
- 1982. Alabama adopted the pecan as official state nut, while Arkansas did the same in 2009.
- Almond is a native tree of Iran and the middle East. It was spread all over the Mediterranean back to the Roman Empire.
- In the archaeological sites of Numeira (located in Jordan), some archeological researched proved the domesticated almonds apperaed between 3000- 2000 BC (Early Bronze Age).
- Almonds were found inside Tutankhamun’s tomb site in Egypt (c. 1325 BC).
- Pistachos, native from Central Asia (and even in Afghanistan and Iran) have been cultivated as food back to 6750 BC.
- Inside the Hanging Gardens of Babylon it was said to have chad pistachio trees. This happened during the reign of King Merodach-Baladan (around 700 BC).
- Cashews are native to Northeastern Brazil. During 1500s Portuguese explorers brought them all over the world, reaching Goa (India) and Africa.
Nutritional facts on nuts
“[…] The risk of coronary heart disease may be 37 percent lower in people who consume nuts more than four times per week compared with people who never or seldom consume nuts […]” – British Journal of Nutrition
All the data reported below are taken from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
1 ounce is about 24 almonds.
28.3 grams of unsalted almonds contain 160 calories, 6g of carbohydrate, 1g of sugar, 4 g of fiber, 14 g of total fat, 75 mg of calcium,1 mg of iron, 76mg of magnesium,0.3 mg of riboflavin, 210 mg of potassium, Vitamin: E and B2. They are extremely good as antioxidants.
1 ounce is about 3 nuts (they are among the biggest nuts).
28 grams of Brazilian nuts contain 99 calories, 2.15 g of proteins, 10.06 g of fat, 1.76 g of carbohydrate, 1.10 g of fiber, 109 mg of phosphorus, 22 mg of potassium, 56 mg of magnesium. Vitamins: B6 and E.
1 ounce is about 18 cashews.
28.35 grams of raw cashews contain 157 calories, 8.56 grams (g) of carbohydrate, 1.68 g of sugar, 0.9 g of fiber, 5.17 g of protein, 12.43 g of total fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), 10 milligrams (mg) of calcium, 1.89 mg of iron, 83 mg of magnesium, 168 mg of phosphorus, 187 mg of potassium, 3 mg of sodium, 1.64 mg of zinc, Vitamins: B and C.
1 ounce is about 20 kernels. 20 grams of hazelnuts provide 176 calories, 17 g of fats, 4,2 g of protein, 4.7 g of carbohydrate, 2.7 g of fiber. Magnesium: 12% of RDI, Manganese: 87% of RDI, Copper: 24% of RDI. Vitamins: B and E.
1 ounce is about 10 kernels. 28 grams of macadamia nuts provide 204 calories, 23 g of fat, 2 g of proteins, 4 g of carbohydrate, 1 g of sugar, 3 g of fiber, Iron 6% of DV, Copper 11% of DV, Manganese 58 % of DV. Vitamins: B6.
1 ounce is about 15 pecan halves. 28.3 grams of pecan deliver 196 calories, 20 g of fat, 116.2 mg of potassium, 4 g of carbohydrate, 3g of protein, 0.7 mg of iron, 34.3 mg of magnesium. Vitamins: C and B6.
1 ounce is about 49 pistachios. 28 grams of pistachios deliver 159 calories, 8 g of carbohydrate, 3 g of fibers, 6 g of proteins, 13 g of fat, phosphorus 11% of RDI, Copper 41 % of RDI, potassium 6% of RDI. Vitamins: B6.
1 ounce is about 14 halves. 30 grams of walnuts provide 185 calories, 4% water, 4.3g of protein, 3.9 g of carbohydrate, 1.9 g of fiber, 18.5 g of fats, 0.7 of sugar, 159 g magnesium, Vitamins: C and B6.
Best Nuts for Survival
By that saying, which are the best nuts for survival? The clever and quick answer is all of them.
Simply as it is, in fact, all the nuts above mentioned share some traits: they are light, small-sized, and if preserved in a proper place and manner, they can last a long time.
Even in the possibility of accidentally crushing them inside one of our pouches, we can still eat them or. get some flour out of it. We will soon talk about that.
We can surely keep a selection of each species inside our bug-out gear as well in all our backpacks. The more we have, the better variety of nutritional facts we can count on.
While it is true that some of them are pretty expensive, especially if they are imported. Brazilian and Macadamia nuts are crystal clear examples of it. Pistachios as well.
On the opposite, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts are easy to acquire in most locations. They are totally worth the money. Additionally, if stranded somewhere and caught up in an emergency situation in the backwoods, you can still look for them in their wild habitat.
In the European Continent, and especially on the Alps – around an altitude of around 3280 feet, you can still find some wild hazelnuts trees and even walnuts. Maybe they are the remainings of some abandoned crops.
If you know how to harvest and identify them, you can be fortunate enough to pick them up in the right season.
Making Flour out of Nuts
Some nuts are also used to produce milk, butter, oil, flour, or paste. Marzipan, for instance, is made out of almonds. Hazelnut and walnut milk is becoming very popular inside some organic shops.
The best way to take the maximum advantage out of them is sure to shred each kernel or halve and produce flour.
In this manner you can mix it with white wheat flour and make some chapati bread, just adding water and putting it on a grill in your campfire.
This is a quick way to use your nuts flour and still get benefits in terms of nutritional facts. Additionally, this chapati bread can easily turn to be your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Obviously, it is not meant to be a complete replacement for a real meal, but in the darkest times, it helps a lot.
I learned how to make it during a Survival course, back in November 2017. The weather was absolutely miserable: windy, rainy. The Instructor gave us some white wheat flour and an ounce of walnuts. We were required to make it last for the 2 days meals.
I started patiently to shred some walnuts using my hand and my knife. Eventually, I put it inside my canteen and started to blend them with white wheat flour and water.
Once I got the dough, I molded it with clean hands. It was like making pizza at home!
Two minutes on the campfire for each side and.. it was done! Delicious and very, very warming with that poor weather.
“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”
― Abraham Lincoln
If you have some land, you can actually start to cultivate some walnuts, hazelnuts, pecan trees and start to grow your own sustainable food.
In an SHFT scenario, the simplest food is what can really make the difference. And nuts are surely our best allies when it comes to being with us without adding too much load in our gear.