The easy way to crush or chop nuts with no mess is to place them into a sturdy plastic bag and roll them with a rolling pin. No mess, and very quick. If you want them finer, roll them longer.
Nuts are best stored in an airtight container in the freezer to avoid getting rancid (stale tasting). They have oils and the oils can spoil if left in the warm of your cupboard too long.
To substitute for nuts, you can often use toasted coconut or honey toasted wheat germ, depending on what you are making. Often nuts can be omitted from recipes. Toasting the nuts brings out their flavor better. Often you can substitute one type of nut for another, depending on what you are making. Keep in mind that they each have their own flavor and texture and color (sometimes is important to the eye appeal of your dish).
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