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Lotus Seeds

Also called the lotus nut, these seeds come from the beloved lotus plant — scientific Latin name: Nelumbo — and are used in multiple cuisines across Asia.

Lotus seeds are commonly sold dried and shelled, but can be sold fresh and unshelled. Dried lotus seeds must be soaked prior to cooking, generally overnight. There are also two types of lotus seeds you can buy based on their maturity when harvested. Brown peel lotus seeds are harvested when they’re “ripe,” whereas white lotus seeds are harvested when they’re younger. 
 
Among the foods lotus seeds are used in, one of the most common is lotus seed paste — a key ingredient in many Chinese and Japanese confections and pastries. The seeds themselves, once soaked, can also be put into soups or mixed into and topped onto stews and other dishes. They also can be used to make lotus tea, and have a long history in traditional Chinese medicine. Crystalized lotus seeds are a popular Chinese snack too, especially for Lunar New Year! 
 
Nutritionally, lotus seeds are made up primarily of complex carbohydrates, along with lots of protein and B vitamins, especially vitamin B1. They also contain various antioxidants and have a lot of minerals, particularly a couple key electrolytes like magnesium and calcium plus iron and phosphorus. 
 
You can find lotus seeds at Uwajimaya in our grocery department.