By Mike Pomranz
Updated July 08, 2015
© The Picture Pantry / Alamy

Nuts are a pretty straightforward snack. They are healthy and easy to carry and eat. And the process to prepare them is just as simple. Sure, they might get roasted or honey-glazed, but the nut has rarely been that technologically advanced.

However, according to a recently unveiled patent, Frito-Lay has some ideas to do all sorts of crazy things to your nuts. Under a process they’ve developed, they’ve figured out ways to “puff” nuts up, changing their size, texture and flavor.

According to Food Navigator USA, in an international patent filing published last week, Frito-Lay claims there is a need to “provide enhanced changes to nuts and legumes which are attractive to the consumer.” The snack giant’s solution is a two-step process that involves hydrating nuts then either puffing them up or dehydrating them under high temperatures.

“The immersing step and gun puffing step are typically carried out to produce an expanded and texturized nut product by forming blisters on an outer surface of the nut kernels and voids in a body of the nut kernels,” the patent says. Frito-Lay claims this process could create all sorts of changes from better textures that are lighter, airier and crispier than regular nuts to nuts with larger or cracked kernels. It also includes a possible marinating step for adding flavors to these nuts.

Exactly how Frito-Lay plans to use this new process, or whether we will ever see it on store shelves at all, is still to be seen. Just don’t be surprised if you suddenly see some crazy looking nuts out there. And you thought mixing nuts into trail mix was exciting!