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Taste test: mixed nuts

Whether it's a Mother's Day gathering, a graduation party or an impromptu get-together, a bowl of mixed nuts is a perfect place to start. But how is one to choose from so many brands? Our judges did some prep work, sampling six brands of mixed nuts. The combinations varied in taste more than the judges had predicted.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Emerald 82Great Value 73Market Pantry 71

Big walnuts and plenty of cashews gave these mixed nuts an edge over the others. "The size of all of the nuts is impressive and there's a nice dusting of salt," one panelist said. "Overall, it's a very handsome blend." Another judge liked the freshness of the nuts. "I also like the decent shape and crunch of all of the pieces and the good balance of salt."Walmart's store brand mixture was a little heavy on peanuts for one panelist, but the rest raved about the overall flavor. "There are a decent amount of filberts and the combination has a good, salty taste," one judge said. "The full pecan halves are very nice and I like the sweet flavor and mealy texture," said another. One said this would be the perfect blend of nuts to crush and sprinkle atop a banana split.Judges gave Target's mixed nuts high marks for the respectable amount of cashews and almonds in the can. "It's a great mix and they are nice and salty and yummy," one taster said. Another described the sample as mild-flavored with just enough salt. "These would be great for a road trip," he said.

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$4.99 for an 8.75-ounce jar from Publix.$7.98 for an 18.25-ounce can from Walmart.$3.19 for a 10.3-ounce can from Target.

Also Sampled: GFS Gordon Food Service ($11.29 for a 40-ounce container, 38 points); Planters ($5.49 for a 15-ounce can from Target, 38 points); and Publix ($3.99 for a 10.3-ounce can, 64 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design; Wayne Conery, Manager of the R-Bar on Treasure Island; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving size1 ounce1 ounce1 ounce
Fat/Fiber15g / 2g15g / 2g15g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium1g / 80mg1g / 110mg1g / 110mg
Carbs/Protein6g / 5g5g / 6g5g / 6g

Taste test: mixed nuts 05/05/14 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2014 7:41pm]
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