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There are two types of walnut - the English walnut and the black walnut. The English walnut was so named because the traders who imported them from their native Persia were mostly English (they are more accurately called Persian walnuts). The meat of English walnuts are lighter than the American Black walnut. There are dozens of varieties of both, but, in general, English walnuts have a softer flavor than their American cousins. The black walnut has a slightly stronger wild flavor.
Because of the high fat content walnuts don't keep well so the fresher the better. They should have a sheen to them when purchased fresh. As they age the nut-meat will take on a dusty, dull coat. Older nuts will be more fragile. Shelled nuts can be kept about 3 months in a cool place and up to a year in the freezer.
Walnuts are high in total fat having about 18 grams per ounce. But the fats in many nuts and seeds have been shown to be good for you. Similar studies have been done with walnuts and showing them to be very powerful at reducing LDL (bad cholesterol).
4 ounces walnuts = 172 calories, 16g fat, 1g sat fat, 4g mono fat, 7g protein, 3g carbohydrates, <1mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol