Everything you need to know about PDO Grenoble walnuts
The Grenoble walnut: a French PDO product
Whether in recipes or in organic walnut oil, walnuts are always useful. They are characterised by their crunchy character. In France, the famous PDO walnuts come from Grenoble and are sold shelled and dried.
This generous and easy to store fruit is good for young and old. Here’s everything you need to know about the Grenoble walnut.
Origin of walnuts
The walnut originated in France, in the foothills of the Massif Central and the Alps. Both regions have well-drained soils that receive sufficient rainfall to ensure a quality harvest.
PDO walnuts, a quality product
The Noix de Grenoble PDO guarantees that the walnuts are of high quality, and that they have been cleaned, graded and dried in a dryer using traditional methods. Grenoble walnuts also benefit from an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée or AOC to help producers in the region to protect these products.
Where are walnuts grown?
Dry walnuts are grown in the Isère valley and sold in its shell. The Vinay region, in the Sud-Grésivaudan. With its more than 150,000 walnut trees, it is the largest producer of Grenoble walnuts.
The geographical area of the AOC Di Grenoble walnut covers 259 communes in three departments, 183 in Isère, 47 in Drôme and 29 in Savoie, mainly along the Isère valley.
The most intense cultivation areas are located in the lower part of the Grésivaudan valley, south of Grenoble, between Voiron and Royan, at the foot of the Vercors massif.
The characteristics of PDO walnuts
Grenoble walnuts are dried fruits with a taste that delights the taste buds. The colour of this fruit is blond and fleshy. It is essential that no rancid odour is perceived on the nose. On the palate, the taste is delicate, more or less sweet, with notes of fresh almonds or hazelnuts depending on the variety.
In order to comply with the AOC “noce Di Grenoble” standards, the walnut tree grows in mountain soil, at altitudes generally below 600 m, with slightly acidic soils with high water retention, although sufficiently drained.
There are three varieties of this fruit: the mayette, the franquette and the parisienne. The franquette variety grows in both regions, while the mayette and Parisienne nuts are grown in Grenoble.
What are the virtues of Grenoble walnuts?
The Grenoble walnut is renowned for its gustatory properties as well as its medicinal properties. Indeed, it is rich in essential fatty acids such as omega 3, which are beneficial to health. Whether eaten alone or incorporated into recipes, this dried fruit is delicious.
Very good for the heart
Omega-3 fatty acids improve the ratio of good cholesterol (HDL) to bad cholesterol (LDL). They prevent irregular heart rhythms and the formation of blood clots in the arteries, the main cause of heart attacks. In addition, they are beneficial to the brain, as neurons need them to function properly.
The exquisite walnut oil
Delicate cold-pressed walnut oil is as tasty as it is nutritious. It is rich in vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This product goes rancid very quickly, which is why it is sold in opaque containers in specialised shops and must be kept in the refrigerator.
Nuts in the kitchen
Walnuts are very versatile in the kitchen: they can be added to a wide variety of salads and dishes (whole, crushed or chopped), they are also used to make sauces, and the confectionery industry gives them pride of place in the preparation of biscuits, cakes, ice cream and other desserts.
They go well with chocolate and honey, but also with rice, apples or pasta. The best time to buy fresh walnuts is during the harvest season.
How to store walnuts?
Although it is common to find them for sale already shelled, if you want to preserve their flavour and properties better, it is best to buy them in the shell.
To do this, they should be stored in a cool, dry place, but if they are peeled, preferably in the refrigerator, in a tightly sealed container.
What is the energy and nutritional value of walnuts?
This small blonde nut weighs only a few dozen grams. It is full of energy and the benefits of walnuts thanks to its richness in minerals, vitamins and trace elements will balance your metabolism. In addition to the healthy fats, nuts are a good source of vegetable protein, a requirement for vegetarians. The origin of almonds or walnuts makes them an essential part of your diet.
A 20g serving of shelled walnuts provides 9% of the recommended daily allowance for phosphorus and magnesium respectively, and slightly lower amounts of selenium, potassium, iron, zinc and calcium.
As for vitamins, walnuts are rich in B vitamins, especially folic acid (B9) and B6, which are important for the proper functioning of the brain and for the production of red blood cells.
How to crack walnuts?
Sportsmen and women like to carry a few freshly shelled walnuts in their pocket for a snack on the go, but walnuts can also be the star of delicious sweet or savoury recipes. They also make a wonderful, tasty and crunchy addition to a cheese board or nutty appetizer.
However, cracking these nuts can be a complicated and time-consuming job. In order to crack walnuts, you can use a number of ways including:
- A screw nutcracker: this is the best way to get nice whole kernels. However, you need to be patient, because the shells do not break in one go.
- A nutcracker with pliers: like the screw nutcracker, this tool keeps the kernels intact. However, if you repeat the action several times, you will soon get the hang of it.
- A hammer or a stone: If you want to keep the traditional methods, you can use a hammer or a stone.