Which Nutcracker is Best?
There was a time when every household had at least one nutcracker. This was a utensil that was used all the time. Today, a nutcracker is not an essential item and hardly used. The only time they make an appearance is around the Christmas holidays. However, there is still some choice regarding nutcrackers.
A nutcracker is a utensil that is used to crack open the shells of nuts. The reason nutcrackers are no longer essential is because we buy our nuts ready shelled. It is possible to buy unshelled nuts but we regard it is an inconvenience. The only time we are happy to shell nuts is at Christmas time. Many families still place a handful of shelled nuts inside their Christmas stockings. It’s a tradition we all love to participate in.
Nutcrackers do seem to be making a slow comeback. This is probably due to the fact that more of us want to eat foods that are as unprocessed as possible. This would include unshelled nuts. Modern designers are producing nutcrackers that are quite elegant and make a statement. Modern nutcrackers are sleek and made of stainless steel. They are lightweight and crack nuts with ease.
Older versions of nutcrackers are heavier and either made of wood or cast iron. Wooden nutcrackers were carved by hand. In Germany, a tradition started when wood carvers started producing nutcrackers in a variety of shapes and forms. This blossomed into a proper craft. Not only were the nutcrackers carved into magnificent shapes to look like soldiers, bishops, etc but they were painted in bright colours. So well crafted were these nutcrackers that people started collecting them. Today, such antique nutcrackers are highly prized and even valuable. The most sought after are the humorous figures that crack the nut between their jaws.
A nutcracker is a simple device that works like a pliers but it has been improved. The best modern version has a metal screw that turns into a small plastic basin. The nut is set in the basin and the screw twists until the shell cracks.
Modern nutcrackers come in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials. However, what is important, is how the nut is treated. The best nutcracker will crack the shell without damaging the kernel. The kernel must remain whole and intact. The cracker will also operate with ease and without too much pressure from your hand.
If you are going to use unshelled nuts as a Christmas stocking filler for family and friends then make sure you have a nutcracker. Or, if you want to give someone an unusual gift, try to find a vintage nutcracker in a thrift store. If you want to give an expensive gift then find an original handcrafted and painted nutcracker figure in an antiques store.