Updated: Jun 25, 2021
We all know freshness is important for food but how can we really tell our food is fresh? For starters, we know that the longer something is off a vine or harvested from a tree, it's more likely that it will start to decay. We can see the change and smell it. It's usually not too hard to tell.
There are some foods that have a naturally longer shelf life. Some have been slightly altered without additives, some have not. Take grains and dried tea leaves for example. They have much longer shelf lives than fruits and veggies. But the longer the natural shelf life, the harder it is to tell if it's still at peak freshness. The colors don't really change much and there's no real offensive odors.
You're going to have to taste it to tell if it's fresh. If food is fresh, the flavors are usually a little stronger and it's crisp. Sure, there are foods that need a little time before they're at their best like bananas and avocados, and there are others that you prefer to be softer than crunchier. But for the most part (including nuts), freshness usually means peak natural flavor and crispness/crunchiness.
To really know if an almond, walnut, pistachio, or even a hazelnut is fresh, you need to eat it raw. No added flavors, no roasting of any kind. This way you can taste all the natural flavors. It should be crunchy too. Almost as if they were roasted. If you eat a nut and it's chewy or just very flat on the flavor, then chances are, it's not fresh. Every food has its own flavor, its own textures. You can only get the full experience when it's fresh.
The problem is most people don't ever get a chance to eat a fresh almond or a fresh pistachio, so they don't know they're not getting the best. It's like having canned beans all your life. You'll never know that fresh beans are just better unless you actually try them. And when you do introduce fresh beans into your life, you start to notice that canned beans aren't as flavorful or have that strange processed food after-taste. Kinda gross.
It's like that with nuts. When most people taste our raw pistachios for the first time, their minds are blown. They never knew a pistachio can have so much flavor just on their own. It's much more pronounced when fresh. That unmistakeable pistachio flavor with a nice little sweet taste at the end. Fresh pistachios have such a nice natural crunch that some of our customers thought they've been roasted. It's really hard to explain. You just need to try it for yourself.
Most of the big brands and big stores don't have the freshest nuts. It's not because they don't want to, it's really because they can't. Storage is a problem. Transportation is a problem. Profits are a problem. (It sounds evil but everyone needs to find ways to keep the lights on and people employed.) They're fresh when they buy them, but any food will naturally go bad sooner if it needs to be transported across the country just to be packaged and then transported back. This scenario actually happens more often than not. For example, pistachios are shipped out of California to Canada for packaging and then back to California for sale on a supermarket shelf. During that whole time, the pistachios are exposed to heat, air, moisture, and sometimes even sunlight. All of those factors cause food to quickly fall from its peak freshness. The crazy part is that brands do this because it's actually cheaper for them and they can make more money. A saving that they probably do pass on to the consumer but at the expense of your experience. You really do get what you pay for when it comes to food.
At True California, we don't ship food out just to bring it back. Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are some of California's iconic superfoods. We grow most of the world's supply right here. To keep max freshness, we package them here in California too. We try our best to minimize the time between harvesting and packaging. Less time transporting and more time in a sealed up, away from things that can make our foods less fresh. We want to let the natural flavors speak for themselves. We want everyone to experience foods when they taste their best.
In part 3, we'll talk about flavorings, storage, and even bulk bins!
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