What do you chop nuts with?

antfarmerJuly 31, 2005

I'm searching for the magic tool for chopping nuts. I keep my nuts in the freezer so I can grab a few to put on top of salads or in casseroles. They're fairly hard coming out of the freezer and I'm usually in too much of a rush to let them thaw. I normally prefer low-tech devices because there's less to setup and less to clean. But a chef's knife isn't working for me. Portions of the nut go flying as I chop -- even if I try to use my free hand as a shield.

The 3 possibilities I've come up with are a mezzaluna, a chopper attachment for my KitchenAid immersion blender or perhaps the KitchenAid blade coffee grinder. Anyone have any experience with these for nuts??

What do you use??

Here is a link that might be useful: blade coffee grinder with dishwasher safe bowl

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I freeze them too and don't really have any trouble chopping them with my chef's knife, but sometimes I do use something like this. http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=419572
The one I have is made by Tupperware, but this link is another company. They're available by different companies. I just looked for a food chopper.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 2:36PM
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Have I got a great tip for you! I read this in Cooks Illustrated back in the Nov/Dec 1998 issue on page 5 of that issue.
Use two chef's knives held parallel to make chopping fast and easy. They also demonstrated this tip on their cooking show one day. You use your left hand to guide the two tips of the knives and you hold the knives in your right and chop away. (I guess reverse this if you are left handed)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 6:33PM
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If I only need a couple tablespoons of pecans I'll break them up with my fingers, otherwise I use a chef's knife.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 7:37PM
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Depends on how many I need....just a little....chef's knife, a lot Cuisinart.
My DIL has what she refers to as a "bang-a-bang-a-banga"...it's a spring loaded chopper....sits on your chopping board and you bang on the top and it rotates....like the one in the link but much lower tech.
But I really like a chef's knife....easier to wash!
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 7:59PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I have an electric chopper an "Oscar" that holds about two cups or so. It's great. (not the oscar juicer) However, I also use a handheld round chopper that looks like a biscuit cutter with serrated edges that works well too. But for under a cup...a knife and cutting board.

A small electric chopper is invaluable, imho, if you don't have a food processor.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 9:37PM
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Put em in a baggie and wack em with whatever you find - a soup can, a wooden meat hammer or a rolling pin.

I usually use my chef's knife, but it just depends on the mood or whatever is handy!

P.S. They always taste better toasted :-)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 10:33PM
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Sometimes, when we chop a large quantity of stuff like walnuts that tends to fly around we put our smaller cutting board in our roasting pan to contain it. DW uses her mezzaluna for walnuts, I use my Chinese chef's knife. Both of them raise the user's hands enough above the cutting board for the sides of the pan not to be an obstruction.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 10:28AM
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Chef knife or food processor.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 5:03PM
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Wow, thanks for all the responses! I'm getting the idea that there's no magic solution.
That said, I think VeloDoug's suggestion of putting the cutting board inside a roasting pan may be what I need. (Neat freaks like me can't stand it when we KNOW the tip of a walnut flew *somewhere* on the floor.)
Woodie2's idea of a ziploc and a can to wack them with sounds intriguing too. It's got me wondering if a clean dish towel and a can would work as well.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 10:44PM
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I too prefer the chef's knife as I have found that the food processor either mangles them or just plain chops them unevenly. In fact, as much as I love my food processor, I never use it for chopping for that reason. Mincing, shredding and mixing, yes. Chopping, no.

A chef's knife on a good wooden cutting board is the best for me - plus I just plain like doing it. OK call me weird.

I keep the nuts in the freezer as well and after chopping, lightly toast them in a skillet to bring out the flavor.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 10:48AM
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Put your nuts in a ziploc bag and take your rolling pin and just roll over them or wack them. It's great for tension release.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 8:03PM
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I toasted some Almonds then put in the food processor, a few at a time, got a bunch ground up, put in Zip lock (with zipper, easier) and keep the the freezer. You could do the same with any nuts. That way I get ground nuts, or sliced nuts I can use any time.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 9:59PM
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I always toast them first and often then break them up with my hands! That's for salad nuts. For larger amounts in baking I like the chef's knive o4r mezzaluna and wodden bowl.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 2:11AM
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I've used the coffee bean grinder to chop nuts.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 2:12PM
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I'm of the old Loreena Bobbit school, and would use a heavy knife.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 2:30PM
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