Millions of bags are nuts are sold in England, the most popular being supermarket brands, KP and Marmite-covered cashews. These brands are small and artisan, and made without palm oil. Nuts and seed are high in protein and calcium but also very high in fat, so keep to small bags!
Most nut bags can’t be recycled, so ask your local recycling plant. You can set up a community recycling scheme with Terracycle if wished, and the points earned can be turned into money for local schools or charities. Or better yet, use some of the non-plastic nuts below.
Many nuts (and dried fruits) are toxic to pets, as is chocolate. Use a letterbox guard if ordering online for these treats, if you live with pets. Conkers are also toxic to pets, so never let dogs play with them. Call your vet if you think your dog ate one.
Nuts are Choking Hazards
To help prevent choking in children or people with swallowing difficulties, sit up straight while eating, and avoid eating on the move. NHS says nuts are ok for pregnancy, but not for allergies or medical conditions. If a relative (like a father has an allergy), you may wish also to avoid for safety. Other choking hazards are:
- Nut & seed butters
- Cherry tomatoes
- Corn kernels
- Grapes & dried fruits
- Hard sweets
- Melon balls
- Crisps & crackers
- Marshmallows & gum
- Chips & popcorn
- Granola bars
- Carrot sticks & veggie hot dogs (cut lengthwise and then again)
Why Do Some Say Nuts Aren’t Vegan?
Some journalists have said that because certain crops are pollinated (like wasps die when pollinating figs) certain food are not vegan. And although there is truth in being careful around avocados, for the most part, choosing brands that ethically harvest food does no more harm than any other foods (it’s the huge agricultural farmers who harvest Californian almonds to be wary of). Just try to eat local hand-harvested foods if you can.
This post explains the issues, noting that the same journalists never mention that alfalfa (used as animal feed) also uses targeted pollination. There are issues but ethical farmers are working on them. And ultimately simple living (not taking more than you need) is the answer to almost every environmental problem. Eating a bag of ethical nuts is not doing as much harm as companies buying bags of unethical nuts, then throwing them away.
- Brazil nuts are from South America. Nutritionists suggest eating two daily to get your selenium.
- Pecans are more popular in America, for pecan pie.
- Almonds are often used to make frangipane and Bakewell Tart.
- Chestnuts are often roasted in Italy at street stalls.
- Pistachios are addictive, but need to be shelled, before eating.
- Cashew nuts are very buttery, good for a sweet tooth. Often used to make vegan butters and cheeses.
- Peanuts are the cheapest, but often covered in salt.
- Walnuts look like a brain, also good for it!
Where to Find Good Nuts
- Cracking Nuts (Devon) sells in plastic-free tubs, jars and gift boxes, with refills. Ad-on ingredients are locally grown, where possible. Roasted overlooking the sea to Wales! Includes cinnamon vanilla.
- Nutmad makes activated nuts, which are easier to digest. They are soaked then dried to make them crunchy again. Includes almonds with sea salt, walnuts with salted caramel and maple-sweetened or rosemary-flavoured nuts.
- The Woolf’s Kitchen (London) offer Thai-inspired nuts created by a chef who trained at Leith’s. The range includes smoky beast almonds and crafty cocoa peanuts (the sticky cayenne mix is not vegan).
- By the River Eats (Scottish borders) offers artisan pecans, drizzled with salted caramel.
- The Tiger Nut Company sells rhizomes (not really nuts) from Spain that can be used to make Tiger Nut GRR-NOLA!
- Liberation Nuts is a community interest company, where the people that grow the nuts you eat, own the company. Choose from bags of Chilli & Lime Cashews or Salted Peanuts & Cashews. The company also makes a palm-oil-free peanut butter jar.
Most chocolate-covered nuts in shops have milk, these are plant-based. Many nuts (and dried fruits) are toxic to pets, as is chocolate. Use a letterbox guard if ordering online for these treats, if you live with pets.
- Raw Ecstacy sells activated nuts, coated in raw chocolate.
- Fabulous Fudge Factory makes chocolate-covered peanuts
- Super Fudgio offers organic chocolate covered peanuts, and chocolate covered raisins.
- Nakd offers a chocolate-covered nut bar, sweetened with dates and covered in cocoa & sea salt.
- Octo Chocolate (Poland) sells nuts coated in milky vegan chocolate.
- By the River Eats (Scottish borders) offers walnuts in chocolate.
Choose Palm-Oil-Free Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is high in protein and calcium, but one of the main bugbears for grocery foods that have palm oil. Here are some better brands that prove you can make it without.
Don’t feed young children peanut butter, as like nuts, it’s a choking hazard. It’s also best in dog treats, not direct as it’s too rich for poochy tummies!
Freda’s Peanut Butter is locally made, and free from palm oil. The flavours are very original, many made with Cornish sea salt. There is even a chocolate orange version, good with crumpets, hot fresh waffles or on a vegan ice cream sundae.
Many brands of nut and seed butters contain palm oil. Use these palm-oil-free brands on toast, or drizzle on porridge and add to smoothies. Meridian Peanut Butter and Crunchy Peanut Butter are palm-oil-free as are all their other nut/seed butters.
Choose nuts (like almonds) from small-scale organic farmers, who do not use migratory beekeeping (which lets bees starve, after the harvest). Do not give nuts, seeds or nut/seed butters to young children or people with swalling difficulties. Many nuts (inc. macadamia and pecans) are toxic to pets (peanut butter is also too rich, save for in organic dog biscuits!)
Never give ‘fatty foods’ like nut butters to birds as it can affect insulation/waterproofing of feathers (whole nuts can also choke baby birds, and some peanuts can cause disesase). For more info, see how to help our garden birds on foods to (occasionally) safely feed.
Artisan Nut Butter Blends
These handmade Butterbelle nut butters are presented in a beautiful gift box. Free from palm oil, just choose your three favourite flavours. There are 14 versions to try, and you can add a personal message for gifting. Made with ethically sourced ingredients, these nut butters are also sold in plastic-free packaging.
Butterbelle is an artisan food company in beautiful Shropshire. This is one of the few artisan nut butter brands in England that makes products in-house, so each ingredient passes a stringent quality test. All the nuts and seeds are roasted in-house to ensure quality and freshness, with minimum environmental impact. Choose from:
- Almond butter
- Black cherry & cacao almond butter
- Cacao orange cashew butter
- Gingerbread almond butter
- Vanilla espresso almond butter
- Chai spiced almond butter
- Raspberry cashew butter
- Tigernut & cashew butter
- Hazelnut & cacao spread
- Pumpkin seed spread
- Peanut butter
- Cashew butter
- Crunchy Peanut butter with chia & flax
Freda’s Peanut Butter (Cornwall) is crunchy or smooth versions. This is made with sunflower oil and Cornish sea salt, sweetened with organic agave nectar. Swirl it into porridge, spread on toast, stir in a stir-fry or just eat it off the spoon.
- Nut Blend offers healthy nut butters with blended nuts and a hint of spice. Designed to boost your mood and energy, the range includes cacaco cashew almond butter, maca pecan almond butter, cinnamon hazelnut almond butter and coconut macadamia almond butter. Great in smoothies.
- Bnutz ethically sources the finest nuts, then blends them into their beautiful jars. The range includes Chai-Spiced, Spicy Chilli & Lime, Espresso and Chocolate Hazelnut.
- Butter Nut of London offers a quality range of nut butters including Smooth (made with organic peanuts and Cornish sea salt), crunchy, cashew maple turmeric, ABC (almond, brazil, cashew), hazelnut cacao, cashew coconut cardamom and pistachio rose.
- Carleys make organic nut & seed butters from Cornwall. Ideal if you wish to avoid palm oil and eat organic ingredients, these are all sold in glass jars. The range includes cashew, pecan, sunflower and almond butters, made with Fair Trade in an eco factory.
- Yumello offers good nut butters that are vegan, and free from palm oil and gluten. Choose from crunchy salted date peanut butter, crunchy peanut butter (with a sprinkling of sea salt and cold-pressed argan oil) or smooth salted date almond butter (with a rich caramel flavour).
Make Your Own Nut Butter
Homemade Almond Butter (Full of Plants). This uses blanched slow-roasted Marcona almonds, with maple syrup and salt. Use this on toast, or drizzle on porridge and add to smoothies.