October 22nd is National Nut Day

October 22nd is National Nut Day

Paul October 22, 2019

Nut Fun Facts

Facts and Picture courtesy of

Nuts are defined as a simple, dry fruit with one seed in which the seed case wall becomes very hard at maturity.

  • True nuts include pecan, sweet chestnut, beech, acorns, hazel, hornbeam and alder. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, horse chestnuts and pine nuts are not nuts.
  • Squirrels forget where they hide about half of their nuts.
  • If you want to harvest nuts from the wild, you will actually be doing what is known as “foraging”.
  • You need to eat nuts raw for them to have the most impact on your health, but roasted are fine, too.
  • October 22 is National Nut Day.

Each nut bears its own distinctive flavor, as well as a unique history that often dates back to biblical times and beyond.

Nut Species

  • Almonds:  Almonds have been eaten plain and candied since they were introduced into Roman life.  Native to the Mediterranean countries, the almond was introduced to America from Spain in 1769.
  • Brazil Nuts:  Brazil nuts are grown in the Amazon area.  The Brazil nut trees grow to a height of 150 feet and have a trunk diameter of nearly eight feet.  The three to four pound pods of Brazil nuts fall to the ground when ripe, which makes gathering them a very dangerous occupation
  • Cashews:  Native to Brazil and the West Indies, the cashew is chiefly grown in India, Brazil, East Africa, Mozambique and Kenya.  The United States consumes over 90% of the world’s cashew crop.
  • Hazelnuts:  Also known as filberts or cobnuts, are grown in Turkey, Iran, Spain and the United States.  Early settlers introduced the hazelnuts to America in the 1600’s.
  • Macadamias:  The macadamia, originating in Australia, was discovered around 1857, but was not harvested until the 1930’s.  The macadamia is one of the rarest nuts, and with their superb flavor-so very rich and so buttery, it is cherished as a rare and special delicacy.
  • Peanuts:  Originating in Brazil and Peru and introduced to America by early explorers, the peanut is primarily grown in China, West Africa and the United States.  Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma are our key producing states, with Suffolk, Virginia laying claim to being the peanut capital of the world.  Peanuts vary in size and variety.
  • Pecans:  This truly American nut is principally grown in the Southern and Southwestern United States, and in the countries of Mexico, Israel and South Africa.
  • Pistachios:  Ninety percent of all pistachios are grown in Turkey and Iran, with Italy, Afghanistan and the United States (California) making up the remainder of the crop.  Pistachios thrive in hilly or mountainous regions with poor, stony soils.  They grow in heavy, grape-like clusters from trees that reach a height of 25 to 30 feet.  The tree produces for about 300 years.
  • Walnuts:  The California walnut is a descendant of the Persian walnut.  Native to Persia, the Greeks called the walnut “the nut of Jupiter,” fit for the gods.  California is the major growing area of walnuts in the United States, along with France, Italy, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Romania, China and India.

1. Almonds

almond fun facts

Almond Fun Facts

Facts and Picture courtesy of

Almonds are actually stone fruits related to cherries, peaches and plums.

  • In the mid-1700s, the Franciscan Padres planted almond trees to grace their missions along El Camino Real (The Royal Road) that stretches along the California coast from San Diego to Sonoma.
  • February 16th is National Almonds Day.
  • June 29th is National Almond Buttercrunch Day.
  • August 12th is National Toasted Almond Bar Day.
  • Native to the Mediterranean countries, the almond was introduced to America from Spain in 1769.
  • The world’s largest almond factory is located in Sacramento, California and processes over 2 million pounds of almonds per day.  California produces over 80% of the world’s supply of almonds and that chocolate manufacturers currently use about 40% of the world’s almonds and about 20% of the world’s peanuts.
  • Raw Almonds contain prussic acids, the eating of more than a handful can be lethal. this is why all almonds are dried, roasted and/or pasteurized.
  • The bitter taste in Almonds is derived from the 4-9 mg of hydrogen cyanide in each.

Interesting facts about almonds

 

Facts and Picture courtesy of

  •  Almonds are edible seeds of the almond tree.
  • The almond tree is native to the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and North Africa.
  • Historians agree that almonds were one of the earliest cultivated foods.
  • Almonds are mentioned as far back in history as the Bible. They were a prized ingredient in breads served to Egypt’s pharaohs.
  • Explorers ate almonds while traveling the “Silk Road” between Asia and the Mediterranean. Before long, almond trees flourished in the Mediterranean – especially in Spain and Italy.
  • The almond tree was brought to California from Spain in the mid-1700’s by the Franciscan Padres.
  • Almond grows best in Mediterranean climates with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.
  • There are two main types of almonds. One variety (Prunus amygdalus var. dulcis) produces sweet almonds, which are edible. The other variety (Prunus amygdalus var. amara) produces bitter almonds, which are used for almond oil.
  • The almond tree has an average life span of 20-25 years, and does not bear fruit during the first 3-4 years after planting.
  • The almond is a deciduous tree, growing 4–10 m (13–33 ft) in height, with a trunk of up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter.
  • The leaves are 8-13 cm (3–5 in) long, with a serrated margin and a 2.5 cm (1 in) petiole.
  • The flowers are white to pale pink, 3–5 cm (1–2 in) diameter with five petals, produced singly or in pairs and appearing before the leaves in early spring.

  • The almond fruit measures 3.5–6 cm (1–2 in) long. The outer covering is instead a thick, leathery, grey-green coat (with a downy exterior), called the hull.
  • Inside the hull is a reticulated, hard, woody shell (like the outside of a peach pit) called the endocarp. Inside the shell is the edible seed, commonly called a nut. Generally, one seed is present, but occasionally two occur.

  • Almonds are referred to as nuts although they are not true nuts from a botanical point of view.
  • The almond is botanically a stone fruit related to the cherry, the plum, the peach and the apricot.
  • However, almonds are nuts in the culinary sense.
  • In 100 grams (3.5 ounces) raw almond supply 578 calories and are 73% fat, 14% carbs and 13% protein.
  • Almonds are an excellent source of several B vitamins vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. It also contains zinc, selenium, copper and niacin.
  • The health benefits of almonds are extensive, and they are frequently used as a healthy solution for relief from constipation, respiratory disorders, coughs, heart disorders, anemia, impotency, and diabetes. They also help in maintenance of healthy hair, skin care and dental care.
  • While the almond is often eaten on its own, raw or toasted, it is also a component of various dishes.
  • Almonds are used in nougat, many pastries (including jesuites), cookies (including French macarons, macaroons), and cakes (including financiers), noghl, and other sweets and desserts.
  • Chocolate makers use 40% of world’s total almonds in making delicious chocolates. Consumers worldwide believe almonds make chocolate more satisfying, uplifting and relaxing.

  • Almond flour or almond meal combined with sugar or honey as marzipan is often used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in cooking and baking.
  • Blanched kernels are used to make almond-butter, which is an ideal alternative for peanut allergy sufferers.
  • Almond milk is a plant milk manufactured from almonds with a creamy texture and nutty taste. It contains neither cholesterol nor lactose, and is often consumed by those who are lactose-intolerant and others who wish to avoid dairy products, including vegans.
  • The oil of sweet almonds has been traditionally used by massage therapists to lubricate the skin during a massage session, being considered by many to be an effective emollient.
  • The oil of bitter almonds is used in the manufacture of flavoring extracts for foods and liqueurs, though hydrogen cyanide must first be removed.
  • Bitter almonds may yield from 4–9 mg of hydrogen cyanide per almond and contain 42 times higher amounts of cyanide than the trace levels found in sweet almonds.
  • Historically, almond syrup was an emulsion of sweet and bitter almonds. Due to the cyanide found in bitter almonds, modern syrups generally are produced only from sweet almonds.
  • California produces more than 80 percent of the world’s almonds.
  • The pollination of California’s almonds is the largest annual managed pollination event in the world, with close to one million hives (nearly half of all beehives in the US) being trucked in February to the almond groves. Much of the pollination is managed by pollination brokers, who contract with migratory beekeepers from at least 49 states for the event.
  • Almonds are members of the rose family and are sometimes called “the queen of the rose family.”
  • Almond trees flower early in the spring making them a symbol of new life.
  • In the Hebrew Bible, the almond was a symbol of watchfulness and promise due to its early flowering.
  • Similarly, Christian symbolism often uses almond branches as a symbol of the Virgin Birth of Jesus; paintings and icons often include almond-shaped haloes encircling the Christ Child and as a symbol of Mary.
  • In the Bible the almond is mentioned ten times.
  • The Romans showered newlyweds with almonds as a fertility charm.
  • The Chinese consider the almond a symbol of enduring sadness and female beauty.
  • Almond Blossoms is a group of several paintings made in 1888 and 1890 by Vincent van Gogh in Arles and Saint-Rémy, southern France of blossoming almond trees. Large blossom branches against a blue sky were one of Van Gogh’s favourite subjects.
  • In Sweden, cinnamon-flavored rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is a Christmas custom. Find it, and good fortune is yours for a year.
  • According to superstition: If you eat almonds before taking a drink, you will reduce your chances of
    getting drunk and avoid having a hangover.

Benefits from Almonds

Courtesy of Underlined passages are sources for information.

  1. Almonds and cholesterolA study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggests that consuming almonds increases vitamin E levels in the plasma and red blood cells, and also lowers cholesterol levels.
  2. Almonds and cancer risk – A study, published in 2015 in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, looked at nut consumption and cancer risk.  They found that individuals who consumed higher quantities of peanuts, walnuts, and almonds had their risk of breast cancer reduced by 2–3 times.
  3. Almonds and heart disease – Almonds, along with nuts and seeds in general, are often associated with improved levels of blood lipids and being good for the heart.  There is some evidence indicating that including almonds in your diet may help ward off heart disease, but overall, the evidence is inconclusive.  In a study published in 2014, scientists found that almonds significantly increased the amount of antioxidants in the bloodstream, reduced blood pressure, and improved blood flow. Their findings add weight to the theory that Mediterranean diets with lots of nuts have big health benefits.
  4. Almonds and vitamin E – Almonds contain relatively high levels of vitamin E, an antioxidant. In fact, they are one of the best natural sources of vitamin E, providing 37 percent of the recommended daily intake in just 1 ounce. Vitamin E helps protect cells from oxidative damage.  Also, higher vitamin E intake has been tentatively associated with a reduced risk of certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, some cancers, and heart disease.  However, some studies have found a slight increase in prostate cancer risk with higher intakes of vitamin E; and a paper published by the American Heart Association in 2014 reported no significant benefits of vitamin E against heart disease or stroke.
  5. Almonds and blood sugar – There is some evidence that almonds may help keep blood sugar under control.  This ability is thought to be due to their high levels of magnesium — containing almost half the daily recommended amount in just 2 ounces of almonds.  In around one-third of people with type 2 diabetes, magnesium levels are low.  In one study, people with type 2 diabetes and low magnesium levels took magnesium supplements. The researchers measured an increase in their magnesium levels, and they also saw improvements in insulin resistance.
  6. Almonds help manage weight –  Because almonds are lower in carbohydrates and high in protein and fiber, they can help people feel fuller for longer; this has the potential to reduce the number of calories taken in overall.  There have been numerous studies on almonds and a variety of nuts that demonstrate their ability to keep people feeling full.

Check out our

Recipes Featuring

Almonds

  How to Make the Perfect Almond Milk at Home

 

 

2. Brazil Nuts

Image result for brazil nuts

Interesting facts about Brazil nuts

Pictures and facts Courtesy of

  • Brazil nuts are edible seeds of the brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa).
  • The Brazil nut tree is the only species in the monotypic genus Bertholletia.
  • This tree is native to the Guianas, Venezuela, Brazil, eastern Colombia, eastern Peru, and eastern Bolivia.
  • It occurs as scattered trees in large forests on the banks of the Amazon River, Rio Negro, Tapajós, and the Orinoco.
  • The Brazil nut tree has a lifespan of 500 years or more, and according to some authorities often reaches an age of 1,000 years.
  • The Brazil nut tree is a large tree, reaching 50 meters (160 feet) tall and with a trunk 1 to 2 meters (3.3 to 6.6 feet) in diameter, making it among the largest of trees in the Amazon rainforests.
    • The stem is straight and commonly without branches for well over half the tree’s height, with a large emergent crown of long branches above the surrounding canopy of other trees. The bark is grayish and smooth.
    • The leaves are dry-season deciduous, alternate, simple, entire or crenate, oblong, 20 to 35 centimeters (8-14 inches) long and 10 to 15 centimeters (4-6 inches) broad.
    • The flowers are small, greenish-white, in panicles 5 to 10 centimeters (2-4 inches) long; each flower has a two-parted, deciduous calyx, six unequal cream-colored petals, and numerous stamens united into a broad, hood-shaped mass.
  • Brazil nut trees produce fruit almost exclusively in pristine forestsas disturbed forests lack the large-body bees that are the only ones capable of pollinating the tree’s flowers. The fruit takes 14 months to mature after pollination of the flowers.
  • The fruit itself is a large capsule 10–15 centimeters (3.9–5.9 inches) in diameter, resembling a coconut endocarp in size and weighing up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds).

Image result for brazil nuts

  • The fruit has a hard, woody shell 8 to 12 millimeter (0.31 to 0.47 inches) thick, which contains 8 to 24 triangular seeds 4 to 5 centimeters (1.5-2 inches) long (the “Brazil nuts”) packed like the segments of an orange.A mature tree will produce more than 300 fruits, which ripen and fall to the ground from January to June. The pods are harvested from the forest floor, and the seeds are taken out, dried in the sun, and then washed and exported while still in their shells. The brown shell is very hard and has three sides.
  • Brazil nut is not a true nut in the botanical sense, but only in the culinary sense.
  • Similar to the specific needs of the Brazil nut tree’s flower to pollinate, another key process in the tree’s life cycle is heavily dependent on another of the rainforest’s creatures. Under natural conditions there are only a few animals with the ability to access the tree’s seeds and help disperse them throughout the forest. Typically, the most important of these animals is the agouti.
  • Brazil nuts are primarily harvested in the wild by local people. Many forest-based communities depend on the collection and sale of Brazil nuts as a vital and sustainable source of income, and the sweet nuts provide protein and calories for tribal, rural, and even urban Brazilians.
  • Despite their name, the most significant exporter of Brazil nuts is not Brazil but Bolivia, where they are called castañas o nuez de Brasil. In Brazil, these nuts are called castanhas-do-pará (literally “chestnuts from Pará”), but Acreans call them castanhas-do-acre instead. Indigenous names include juvia in the Orinoco area.
  • Around 25,000 metric tons of Brazil nuts are harvested each year, of which Bolivia accounts for about 50%, Brazil 40%, and Peru 10%. In 1980, annual production was around 40,000 tons per year from Brazil alone, and in 1970, Brazil harvested a reported 104,487 tons of nuts.
  • There are 656 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of Brazil nuts.
  • Brazil nuts are are 14% protein, 12% carbohydrate, and 66% fat by weight; 85% of their calories come from fat.
  • Brazil nuts are high in calories, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These creamy nuts are an excellent source of B complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate and pyridoxine. It contains minerals like manganese, selenium, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc. It also contains Vitamin E and Vitamin C.
  • Some of the health benefits of Brazil nuts include
    • a healthy heart,
    • their ability to aid in skin care and reduce the signs of aging,
    • balance hormone function and weight loss.
    • These nuts also improve the immune system,
    • stimulate growth and repair,
    • improve the digestive process,
    • lower risk of cancer,
    • and boost male fertility.
  • Brazil nuts are eaten as they are or as part of confectionary or baked goods. They are one of the world’s major commercial nuts.
  • Brazil nut oil is produced from the seed. As well as its food use, Brazil nut oil is also used as a lubricant in clocks, for making artists’ paints, and in the cosmetics industry.
  • The lumber from Brazil nut trees is of excellent quality, but logging the trees is prohibited by law in all three producing countries (Brazil, Bolivia and Peru). Illegal extraction of timber and land clearances present a continuing threat.
  • Brazil nut trees are some of the most valuable non-timber products in the Amazon but are extremely sensitive to deforestation, because of their complex ecological requirements.
  • There has been a long history of extraction and collection of Brazil nuts from the rainforest of Bolivia and Brazil. In fact, since as early as 1633 Brazil nuts have been exported to Europe.
  • In North America, Brazil nuts are sometimes known by the epithet nigger toes,” though the term has fallen out of favor as public use of the racial slur became increasingly unacceptable by the 1960’s. They can be seen being sold in a market under this name in a scene from the 1922 Stan Laurel film The Pest.
  • The “Brazil nut effect” describes the tendency of the larger items to rise to the top of a mixture of items of various sizes but similar densities, such as brazil nuts mixed with peanuts.

1 – Benefits from Brazil Nuts –

Courtesy of Underlined passages are sources for information.

Brazil nuts may offer surprising and powerful nutritional benefits, including boosting heart health, providing antioxidants, and improving brain function.

  1.   Nutrition – Brazil nuts are among the richest dietary sources of selenium, an essential mineral with antioxidant properties. Selenium plays an important role in reproduction, metabolism, and immune health.  A single Brazil nut contains 68 to 91 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, meaning that just one nut per day can provide the daily recommended adult allowance of 55 mcg.In addition to selenium, Brazil nuts contain plenty of protein, essential minerals, and healthful fats.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a serving of three Brazil nuts contains the following nutrients:
      • 99 calories
      • 2.15 grams (g) of protein
      • 10.06 g of fat
      • 1.76 g of carbohydrate
      • 1.10 g of fiber
      • 109 milligrams (mg) of phosphorus
      • 99 mg of potassium
      • 56 mg of magnesium
      • 24 mg of calcium
      • 0.61 mg of zinc
      • 0.36 g of iron
      • 0 mg of sodium
  2.   Heart Health –Brazil nuts contain healthful fats called polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.  According to the American Heart Association (AHA), consuming monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats helps improve cholesterol levels, which lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.  Brazil nuts also provide dietary fiber. The AHA report that eating fiber-rich foods improves blood cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.  The findings of a 2019 study showed that higher consumption of tree nuts decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack among people living with diabetes.
  3.   Thyroid Health –  Selenium deficiency can cause hormonal imbalances that can negatively affect sleep, mood, concentration, and metabolism.  Selenium plays an essential role in hormone production. The thyroid gland uses selenium to convert thyroxine hormone (T4) into its active form, triiodothyronine hormone (T3).  Obtaining enough selenium from dietary sources may prevent or help regulate thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism.
  4.   Antioxidant Effects –   The selenium in Brazil nuts may boost the body’s antioxidant system and prevent oxidative stress.   The liver breaks selenium down into a type of protein called selenoprotein P, which effectively removes excess free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, and research has linked them to many chronic health conditions, including cancerdouble-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the antioxidant effects of Brazil nut consumption. During the study, 91 people with hypertension and high blood-lipid concentrations received either 13 g of granulated, partially defatted Brazil nuts or placebo every day for 12 weeks.  The participants in the Brazil nut group had higher selenium levels and increased activity of an antioxidant enzyme called GPx3. They also had lower levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which people sometimes refer to as “bad cholesterol.”
  5. Anti-inflammatory Effects –  The antioxidant properties of Brazil nuts may help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation has an association with many chronic health conditions.small-scale 2014 study looked at the health effects of eating one Brazil nut per day in people with chronic kidney disease. After 3 months, the researchers noticed a reduction in inflammation and markers of oxidative stress.
  6.   Lowering Blood Sugar – Foods rich in selenium may help improve people’s blood sugar levels.  A study in the European Journal of Nutrition reported that eating one Brazil nut per day for 8 weeks lowered total cholesterol and fasting glucose levels in healthy adults.  The findings of another 8-week-long study showed that taking a 200-mcg selenium supplement reduced insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. The researchers also reported increased antioxidant capacity in the body.
  7.   Improving Brain Function –   Antioxidants help keep the brain healthy. Brazil nuts have powerful antioxidant effects, which may boost brain functioning.  Scientists have linked decreases in antioxidant function to cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s diseaseThe findings of a 2014 study suggested that people with Alzheimer’s disease have lower selenium levels than those without the condition.A small-scale trial reported that eating one Brazil nut per day for 6 months had positive effects on some cognitive functions among older adults with minor cognitive impairment (MCI) compared with those in a control group. This result may be due to the nuts reversing selenium deficiency.  However, a recent study found no association between selenium levels and cognitive ability. More research is necessary to uncover how selenium affects cognition and to determine whether or not it could prevent or treat neurogenerative diseases.

2 – Can you eat too many Brazil nuts?

When it comes to Brazil nuts, more is not necessarily better. People should limit their intake of Brazil nuts to a few per day to avoid negative side effects. Brazil nuts are high in calories, and eating too many can cause selenium toxicity.

Like most nuts, Brazil nuts are very calorie-dense. People who eat too many Brazil nuts run the risk of exceeding their daily recommended calorie intake. Consuming too many calories can cause unwanted weight gain.

As a member of the tree nut family, Brazil nuts may cause allergic reactions in some people. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, an estimated 25 to 40 percent of people who have a peanut allergy react to at least one type of tree nut.

3- Selenium toxicity

Many of the health benefits of Brazil nuts come from their high selenium content. Although beneficial in small quantities, Brazil nuts could cause selenium toxicity if a person regularly eats them in large numbers.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), selenium toxicity can cause a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • dizziness
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • hair loss
  • brittle nails
  • skin rashes or lesions
  • nervous system problems
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • muscle tenderness or soreness
  • joint pain

It can sometimes also cause severe symptoms, which may include:

  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • heart attack
  • kidney failure
  • heart failure

In rare cases, selenium toxicity can be fatal.

The selenium concentration in Brazil nuts varies depending on the amount present in the soil so each nut may contain a different amount.

4.  Summary

Brazil nuts may provide some impressive health benefits, but it is best to eat them in moderation.

According to the findings of scientific studies, certain compounds in Brazil nuts may benefit health in a range of ways, such as lowering the risk of heart disease, regulating blood sugar levels, and boosting the body’s antioxidant system.

Brazil nuts are among the best sources of natural selenium, an essential mineral known for its antioxidant properties. Although selenium can promote health, too much can result in selenium toxicity.

We picked linked items based on the quality of products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline UK and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link(s) above.

Article Courtesy of

 

Check out our Interesting

and Unique Brazil Nut

Recipes

 

 Couscous with Apricots, Lemon and Brazil Nuts

 

 Buttered Brazil Nuts

 

Apricot Chocolate Bars with Brazil Nuts

 

  • Cashews are actually the kidney-shaped seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree, which is native to the coastal areas of northeastern Brazil.
  • The cashew tree made its way to Goa, India, between 1560 and 1565 via Portuguese sailors. From there it spread throughout Southeast Asia and eventually Africa.
  • Commercial growers in the 21st century cultivate cashews in warm, humid climates across the globe, with India, Ivory Coast, Vietnam and Brazil among the top producers of 32 cashew countries.
  • Cashew nuts are produced in tropical countries because the tree is frost sensitive, adapting to various climatic regions between the latitudes of 25°N and 25°S.
  • The cashew tree is large and evergreen, growing to 14 m (46 ft) tall, with a short, often irregularly shaped trunk.
  • The leaves are spirally arranged, leathery textured, elliptic to obovate, from 4 to 22 cm (1.6 to 8.7 in) long and from 2 to 15 cm (0.79 to 5.91 in) broad, with smooth margins.
  • The flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb up to 26 cm (10 in) long; each flower is small, pale green at first, then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petals from 7 to 15 mm (0.28 to 0.59 in) long. The main pollinators are bats and insects.
  • The fruit of the cashew tree is an accessory fruit or false fruit (like the strawberry). The term false fruit (accessory fruit) is sometimes applied to a plant structure that resembles a fruit, but is not derived from a flower or flowers. Called the cashew apple, it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure from 5 to 11 cm (2.0–4.3 in) long. It is edible and has a strong “sweet” smell and a sweet taste.

Image result for cashew flowers

  • The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the cashew apple. The drupe develops first on the tree, and then the pedicel expands to become the cashew apple. Within the true fruit is a single seed, which is often considered a nut, in the culinary sense.cashew-fruit-2
  • The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing a caustic phenolic resin, urushiol, a potent skin irritant toxin also found in the related poison ivy in the sumac family. Some people are allergic to cashews, but cashews are a less frequent allergen than some other nuts.
  • There are 553 Calories calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of raw cashews.
  • Cashews are about 21% protein, 46% fat, and 25% carbohydrates.
  • Cashews are very nutritious and are packed with protein and essential minerals including copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Sodium is also present in very small quantities. Cashews also contain vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and vitamin K (phylloquinone). Cashews also contain a high content of oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid that is also found in olive oil).
  • Some of the health benefits of cashews (see below for a more in depth discussion of benefits) include a healthy heart, strong nerve and muscle function, aid in the formation of red blood cells, and an improved bone and oral health. They also good for your eyes and help regulate blood sugar control, increase HDL cholesterol, and increase fat oxidation. With its high antioxidant content, cashew nuts also help in boosting the immune system and preventing the formation of cancer cells.
  • In Western countries cashews are eaten mainly as a premium-quality snack food. They have a rich, buttery taste.
  • The so-called “raw cashews” available in health food shops have been cooked but not roasted or browned.
  • Cashews are commonly used in South and Southeast Asian cuisine and are a characteristic ingredient of numerous chicken and vegetarian dishes of southern India.
  • Cashew oil is a dark yellow oil for cooking or salad dressing pressed from cashew nuts (typically broken chunks created during processing).
  • Cashews also can be processed into cashew cheese or cashew butter which is similar to peanut butter.
  • The shell of the cashew seed yields derivatives that can be used in many applications including lubricants, waterproofing, paints, and arms production, starting in World War II.
  • The cashew apple can be eaten fresh, cooked in curries, or fermented into vinegar, as well as an alcoholic drink. It is also used to make preserves, chutneys, and jams in some countries such as India and Brazil.
  • In traditional Maya medicine, the leaves or bark of cashew trees can be made into a tea to treat diarrhea.
  • Cashew belongs to the family Anacardiaceae, which also includes mango and pistachio.
  • Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree caju, which itself is derived from the Tupian word acajú, literally meaning nut that produces itself.”

 

 

Hazelnut Fun Facts

Facts and Picture courtesy of

Hazelnut is the nut of the hazel and therefore includes any of the nuts deriving from species of the genus Corylus, especially the nuts of the species Corylus avellana.

  • Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts in the world with approximately 75% of worldwide production.
  • Hazelnuts are produced in commercial quantities in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Georgia, Serbia, in the south of the Spanish region of Catalonia, in the UK county of Kent and in the American states of Oregon and Washington.
  • The hazelnut became Oregon’s official State Nut in 1989.
  • June 1st is National Hazelnut Cake Day.
  • Hazelnut oil, which is not excessively greasy and slightly sweet, can be used for food preparation and cosmetic purposes.
  • Is it a Filbert or a Hazelnut? There’s truly no wrong answer. Filbert is the correct name for both the tree and nut. The name is of French origin, and filbert trees were likely first introduced into Oregon by early French settlers. Some thought filbert was derived from St. Philibert, as August 22 is dedicated to him, corresponding to the earliest ripening date of filberts in England.
  • Hazelnut is the name coined by the English and applied to the native species by early settlers. In 1981, the Oregon Filbert Commission decided to conform to the common standard and began emphasizing “hazelnut.”
  • Hazelnut trees can produce until over 80 years of age.
  • The hazelnut is unique in that it blooms and pollinates in the middle of winter. Wind carries the pollen from yellow catkins to a tiny red flower, where it stays dormant until June, when the nut begins to form.
  • In Ancient Rome, it was customary to offer a hazelnut plant, the Corylus avellana, in the belief that it brought happiness. In the French tradition, on the other hand, this plant symbolizes fertility.
  • In Germanic countries, hazelnuts are widely used in the form of flour for preparing cakes. The most famous of these is Linzer Torte, a pastry torte with a redcurrant jam filling.

Interesting facts about hazelnuts

hazelnuts

Facts and Picture courtesy of

  • The hazelnut is the nut of the hazel and therefore includes any of the nuts deriving from species of the genus Corylus, especially the nuts of the common hazel (Corylus avellana).
  • It also is known as cobnut or filbert nut according to species.
  • There are 14 to 18 species of hazel. The nuts of all hazels are edible.
  • In 1995, evidence of large-scale Mesolithic nut processing, some 9,000 years old, was found in a midden pit on the island of Colonsay in Scotland. The evidence consists of a large, shallow pit full of the remains of hundreds of thousands of burned hazelnut shells.
  • Hazelnuts have a rich lore, and many myths surround them. References to them abound in ancient Greek and Roman writings and mythology and in the Bible, where they are mentioned for their nutritional and healing power.
  • There are different types of hazelnuts across the world, including in Europe, Asia and North America.
  • The plants range from 3 to 36 meters (10 to 120 feet) in height.
  • The leaves are deciduous, rounded, 6–12 cm (2.5-5) in long and across, softly hairy on both surfaces, and with a double-serrate margin.
  • The flowers are produced very early in spring, before the leaves, and are monoecious with single-sex wind-pollinated catkins. Male catkins are pale yellow and 5–12 cm (2-5 in) long, while female catkins are very small and largely concealed in the buds with only the bright red 1–3 mm (0.004-0.12 in) long styles visible.hazelnut catkins
  • The fruit is a nut, produced in clusters of one to five together, each nut held in a short leafy involucre (“husk”) which encloses about three quarters of the nut. The nut is roughly spherical to oval, 15–20 mm (0.6-0.8 in) long and 12–25 mm (0.5-1.0 inch) broad, yellow-brown with a pale scar at the base. The nut falls out of the involucre when ripe, about 7–8 months after pollination.

hazelnuts on tree

  • Hazelnuts are harvested annually in mid-autumn. As autumn comes to a close, the trees drop their nuts and leaves. Most commercial growers wait for the nuts to drop on their own, rather than using equipment to shake them from the tree. The harvesting of hazelnuts is performed either by hand or, by manual or mechanical raking of fallen nuts.
  • Once harvested, the nuts are dried, cleaned and sent to the cracking plant where they are sorted, cracked, shelled, calibrated, selected and then packed.
  • The sweet-tasting, cream-colored kernel is small and round, with a pointed tip. Its thin, dark brown skin is faintly bitter, so some people like to remove this before eating.
  • There are 628 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of hazelnuts.
  • Hazelnuts contain vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and healthy fats.
  • Particularly in high amounts are protein, dietary fiber, healthy fats, vitamin E, thiamin, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium. Several B vitamins like riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, and pantothenic acid have appreciable content. In lesser, but still significant amounts are vitamin K, calcium, zinc, and potassium.
  • Some of the health benefits of hazelnuts include their ability to balance cholesterol levels, increase heart health, reduce blood pressure and clots, boost the immune system, aid in weight loss, help manage diabetes, improve digestive function, optimize the body’s metabolism, increase skin health, prevent cancer, increase cognitive function, protect against viral and fungal infections, and increase red blood cell count.
  • The main hazelnut producing countries are: Turkey, Italy, USA, Azerbaijan and Georgia. In the United States, Oregon accounted for 99% of the nation’s production.
  • Hazelnuts are used in confections to make pralines, chocolate truffles, hazelnut paste products and combination with chocolate.
  • Ferrero SpA, the maker of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, uses 25% of the global supply of hazelnuts. The hazelnuts used in Nutella originate from Turkey and Italy, grown mainly by small holders.nutella
  • In the United States, hazelnut butter is being promoted as a more nutritious spread than its peanut butter counterpart, though it has a higher fat content.
  • In Austria and especially in Vienna, hazelnut paste is an important ingredient in the world famous torts(such as Viennese hazelnut tort) that are made there.
  • Hazelnut is popular as a coffee flavoring, especially in the form of hazelnut latte.
  • Vodka-based hazelnut liqueurs, such as Frangelico, are also increasing in popularity.
  • Hazels also offer many values for the ecosystem. They provide a nutritious food for animals, such as squirrels and birds, who also serve as dispersal agents for reproduction of the plants.
  • A number of cultivars of the common hazel and filbert are grown as ornamental plants in gardens.
  • Divining rods were made out of Y-shaped hazel tree branches to locate underground springs, buried treasure, and minerals and ores.
  • In ancient Roman times, it was a custom to donate hazel plants to bring happiness. It was the same in France where the plant was given as a wedding gift to symbolise fertility.
  • Greek physicians would recommend crushed hazelnuts to cure coughs and the common cold.

 

6.  Peanuts

peanut fun facts

Peanut Fun Facts

Facts and Picture courtesy of

Peanuts are not actually a nut. The peanut is a part of the legume family because of its edible pod, or shell, and seeds, or peanuts, within the shell. The peanut is actually closer related to a bean or a pea than it is to an actual nut.

  • It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
  • There are four types of peanuts grown in the USA — Runner, Virginia, Spanish and Valencia.
  • The average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year.
  • Peanuts contribute more than $4 billion to the USA economy each year.
  • March 8th is National Peanut Cluster Day.
  • September 13th is National Peanut Day.
  • There are enough peanuts in one acre to make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
  • Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the USA – Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
  • Grand Saline, TX holds the title for the world’s largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich weighing in at 1,342 pounds. Grand Saline outweighed Oklahoma City’s 900 pounds peanut butter and jelly sandwich in November 2010. Oklahoma City, OK had been the reigning champ since September 7, 2002.
  • Astronaut Allen B. Sheppard brought a peanut with him to the moon.
  • Tom Miller pushed a peanut to the top of Pike’s Peak (14,100 feet) using his nose in 4 days, 23 hours, 47 minutes and 3 seconds.
  • Adrian Finch of Australia holds the Guinness World Record for peanut throwing, launching the lovable legume 111 feet and 10 inches in 1999 to claim the record.
  • As early as 1500 B.C., the Incans of Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings and entombed them with their mummies to aid in the spirit life.
  • Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.

Facts and Picture courtesy of

peanuts

  • While “nut” is in their name, peanuts are in fact legumes.
  • However, for culinary purposes and in common English language usage, peanuts are usually referred to as nuts.
  • Scientifically known as Arachis hypogea, peanuts go by a variety of names, such as groundnuts, earth nuts, and goobers.
  • Although today ubiquitous across the globe, the peanut (Arachis hypogaea) was native only to South America, and it is believed to come from the foothills of the Andes in Bolivia and Peru. Ancient, anthropologists have found evidence of peanut cultivation dating back at least 7,600 years.
  • Peanuts were grown as far north as Mexico by the time the Spanish began their exploration of the New World. The explorers took peanuts back to Spain, where they are still grown. From Spain, traders and explorers took peanuts to Africa and Asia. In Africa the plant became common in the western tropical region. The peanut was regarded by many Africans as one of several plants possessing a soul.
  • When Africans were brought to North America as slaves, peanuts came with them. Slaves planted peanuts throughout the southern United States.
  • Records show that peanuts were grown commercially in South Carolina around 1800 and used for oil, food and a substitute for cocoa.
  • However, until 1900 peanuts were not extensively grown, partially because they were regarded as food for the poor, and because growing and harvesting were slow and difficult until labor-saving equipment was invented around the turn of the century.
  • Today, peanuts are cultivated around the world, with China and India producing the most.
  • Peanut is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall.
  • The leaves are opposite and pinnate with four leaflets, each leaflet is 1 to 7 cm (0.4 to 2.75 in) long and 1 to 3 cm (0.4 to 1.18 in) across. Like many other legumes, the leaves are nyctinastic, that is, they have “sleep” movements, closing at night.
  • Peanut pods develop underground, an unusual feature known as geocarpy.
  • The pods begin in the orange-veined, yellow-petaled, pea-like flowers, which are borne in axillary clusters above ground and last for just one day.
  • Following self-pollination, the flowers fade. The stalks at the bases of the ovaries, called pegs, elongate rapidly, and turn downward to bury the fruits several inches in the ground to complete their development.
  • peanut plant
  • Pods are 3 to 7 cm (1.2 to 2.8 in) long, normally containing one to four seeds.
  • Peanuts grow best in light, sandy loam soil. They require five months of warm weather and an annual rainfall of 500 to 1000 mm (20 to 40 in.). The pods ripen 120 to 150 days after the seeds are planted.
  • Although peanuts come in many varieties, there are four basic market types: Runner, Virginia, Spanish and Valencia. Each of the peanut types is distinctive in size, flavor, and nutritional composition.
  • Peanuts are rich in energy, in a 100 g (3.5 ounces) serving, peanuts provide 570 calories.
  • Peanuts are an excellent source of several B vitamins, vitamin E, several dietary minerals, such as manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
  • They also contain about 25 g protein per 100 g serving, a higher proportion than in many tree nuts.
  • Peanuts are a significant source of resveratrol, a chemical compound that is reported to have a number of beneficial health effects, such as anti-cancer, antiviral, neuroprotective, anti-aging,
    anti-inflammatory, and life-prolonging effects.
  • Peanuts are high in fat. In fact, they are classified as oilseeds. A large proportion of the world’s peanut harvest is used for making peanut oil.
  • Some of the health benefits of peanut oil include its ability to reduce cholesterol levels, protect heart health, prevent cancer, boost cognitive function, improve the nervous system, strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, and protect the skin.
  • Peanut butter is a paste made from dry, roasted peanuts. This paste is generally used as a spread on toast or sandwiches. It is a healthy food that is full of nutrients.
  • In the United States, any peanut butter branded product must be at least 90 percent peanuts. It’s required by law.
  • It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce (340-gram) jar of peanut butter. That’s approximately 45 peanuts per ounce (28 grams) of peanut butter.
  • Peanuts are also used in candies, cakes, cookies, and other sweets.
  • peanut candy
  • Boiled peanuts are a popular snack in the southern United States, as well as in India, China, and West Africa.
  • George Washington Carver began his research into peanuts in 1903 at Tuskeegee Institute. Research that would lead him to discover improvements in horticulture and the development of more than 300 uses for peanuts (which, contrary to popular belief, did not include peanut butter, but did include salted peanuts).
  • Peanut shells have all manner of strange uses. According to Southern Peanut Growers, a nonprofit trade association, peanut shells are used in everything from kitty litter to fireplace logs to fuel for power plants.
  • Half of the top ten selling candy bars in the US contain peanut or peanut butter.
  • Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the United States: Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
  • There are six cities in the U.S. named Peanut: Peanut, California; Lower Peanut, Pennsylvania; Upper Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Pennsylvania, Peanut, Tennessee; and Peanut West Virginia.
  • Alan Shepard, commander of Apollo 14, brought a peanut with him to the moon.
  • The farthest distance to throw a peanut is 37.92 meters (124 ft 4 in), achieved by Colin Jackson (UK) at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, UK on 20 February 2008.
  • Mr. Peanut is the advertising logo and mascot of Planters, an American snack-food company and division of Kraft Foods. He is depicted as an anthropomorphic peanut in its shell dressed in the formal clothing of an old-fashioned gentleman: a top hat, monocle, white gloves, spats, and a cane.

 

7.  Pecans

Pecan Fun Facts

Facts and Picture courtesy of

The pecan, Carya illinoinensis, is a species of hickory, native to south-central North America.

  • “Pecan” is from an Algonquian word, meaning a nut requiring a stone to crack.
  • It would take 11,624 pecans, stacked end to end, to reach the top of the Empire State Building in New York City.
  • April 14th is National Pecan Day.
  • June 23rd is National Pecan Sandy Day.
  • July 12th is National Pecan Pie Day.
  • September 21st is National Pecan Cookie Day
  • Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919.  In fact, Texas Governor James Hogg liked pecan trees so much that he asked if a pecan tree could be planted at his gravesite when he died.
  • Albany, Georgia, which boasts more than 600,000 pecan trees, is the pecan capital of the U.S.  Albany hosts the annual National Pecan Festival, which includes a race, parade, pecan-cooking contest, the crowning of the National Pecan Queen and many other activities.
  • Pecan trees usually range in height from 70 to 100 feet, but some trees grow as tall as 150 feet or higher.  Native pecan trees – those over 150 years old – have trunks more than three feet in diameter.
  • There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans.  Many are named for Native American Indian tribes, including Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee.
  • The U.S. produces about 80 percent of the world’s pecan crop.
  • Before a shelled pecan is ready to be sold, it must first be cleaned, sized, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.

Facts and Picture courtesy of

pecans

  • Pecans are one of the most popular edible nuts native to North America and Mexico.
  • The history of pecans can be traced back to the 16th century.
  • The only major tree nut that grows naturally in North America, the pecan is considered one of the most valuable North American nut species.
  • Originating in central and eastern North America and the river valleys of Mexico, pecans were widely used by pre-colonial residents.
  • Pecans first became known to Europeans in the 16th century. The first Europeans to come into contact with pecans were Spanish explorers in what is now Louisiana, Texas, and Mexico.
  • Although wild pecans were well known among native and colonial Americans as a delicacy, the commercial growing of pecans in the United States did not begin until the 1880s.
  • The name “pecan” is a Native American word of Algonquin origin that was used to describe “all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”
  • Pecan trees may live and bear edible nuts for more than 300 years.
  • The pecan tree is a large deciduous tree, growing to 20–40 m (66–131 ft) in height, rarely to 44 m (144 ft). It typically has a spread of 12–23 m (39–75 ft) with a trunk up to 2 m (6.6 ft) diameter.
  • The leaves are alternate, 30–45 cm (12–18 in) long, and pinnate with 9–17 leaflets, each leaflet 5–12 cm (2–4.7 in) long and 2–6 cm (0.8–2.4 in) broad.
  • Pecan trees have both male and female flowers on the same tree that are wind pollinated. The male flowers form hanging catkins [photo below]; the female flowers are arranged in tight clusters at the ends of the shoots.
  • A pecan, is not truly a nut, but is technically a drupe, a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk. The husk itself is aeneous, that is, brassy greenish-gold in color, oval to oblong in shape, 2.6–6 cm (1–2.4 in) long and 1.5–3 cm (0.6–1.2 in) broad. The outer husk is 3–4 mm (0.12–0.16 in) thick, starts out green and turns brown at maturity, at which time it splits off in four sections to release the thin-shelled seed.pecan on a tree
  • The seeds of the pecan are edible, with a rich, buttery flavor.pecans-3
  • The pecan may be eaten raw, sweetened or salted. It is widely used in pastries, such as coffee cakes, and often in conjunction with chocolate. In the southeastern United States the pecan pie, consisting of pecans baked in a clear custard, and the pecan praline candy are traditional sweets. Pecans are also a major ingredient in praline candy.
  • Pecans are among the most nutritious of all nuts. There are 691 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of pecans.
  • Pecans contain protein, fiber, amino acids, fats, starch and sugars. They also contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc.
  • Some of the health benefits of pecans include reduced risk of high cholesterol levels, hypertension, diabetes, gallstone disease and cancer. It has antioxidant properties and helps in weight management. It is also helpful in protecting the nervous system and may delay the progression of age-related motor neuron degeneration, such as diseases like ALS.
  • There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans and many are named for Native American Indian tribes (Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee). About 20 are in commercial use.
  • The United States produces more than 80 percent of the world’s pecans.
  • Pecan-producing state in the United States has been Georgia, followed by Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma; they are also grown in Arizona and Hawaii.
  • Outside the United States, pecans are grown in Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Peru, and South Africa.
  • The world’s largest pecan nursery is located in Lumberton, Mississippi.
  • There are about 78 pecans used in every pecan pie!
  • In 1920 commercial shelling equipment brought unshelled pecans to consumers for the first time.
  • Pecans were one of the most recently domesticated major crops.
  • Because wild pecans were readily available, many Native American tribes in the U.S. and Mexico used the wild pecan as a major food source during autumn.
  • In addition to the pecan nut, the wood is also used in making furniture, in hardwood flooring, as well as flavoring fuel for smoking meats.
  • In 1919, the 36th Texas Legislature made the pecan tree the state tree of Texas where the town of San Saba claims to be “The Pecan Capital of the World.” Several other American towns and regions host annual events celebrating the pecan harvest.
  • n 1995, Georgia pecan wood was selected by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games to make the handles of the torches for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. These pecan-wood made torches were carried in the relays which took the torches from Athens, Greece to the United States, then all around the country, culminating with the lighting of the Olympic flame in Atlanta on July 19, 1996.
  • Astronauts took pecans to the moon in two Apollo space missions.

 

Chocolate Pecan Pie

8.  Pistachios

pistachio fun facts

Pistachio Fun Facts

Facts and Picture courtesy of

Pistachios come in many colors. Many different countries dye pistachios to make them more eye-catching. In the U.S. pistachios were dyed red to disguise imperfections in the shells and to make them stand out in vending machines. They are normally green.

  • 98% of the pistachios produced in the United States are from California. Iran is the largest producer of pistachios in the world.
  • February 26 is National Pistachio Day.
  • Pistachios are one of the oldest flowering nut trees, and are one of the only two nuts mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 43:11). Humans have eaten pistachio nuts for at least 9,000 years.
  • According to legend, pistachios were featured in the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon, built about 700 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar for his wife Amytis.
  • In the first century A.D., Emperor Vitellius introduced Rome to the pistachio. Apicius, Rome’s Julia Child of the first century, includes pistachios in his classical cookbook.
  • Perhaps a true royal nut, the Queen of Sheba loved pistachios. In fact, she demanded that the entire region’s pistachio harvest be set aside for her.
  • Pistachios are related to the mango and the spice sumac.
  • In China the pistachio is known as “the happy nut” and in Iran as “the smiling nut”. Pistachios are also known as “the green almond”.

Facts and Picture courtesy of

pistachios-2

  • Pistachios are edible seeds of the pistachio tree (Pistacia vera).
  • The pistachio tree is a member of the cashew family, and is native to Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • Archaeology shows that pistachio seeds were a common food as early as 6750 BC.
  • Flourishing in hot climates, pistachios spread from the Middle East to the Mediterranean, quickly
    becoming a treasured delicacy among royalty, travelers and common folk alike.
  • Legend has it that the Queen of Sheba decreed pistachios an exclusively royal food, going so far as to forbid commoners from growing the nut for personal use.
  • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were said to have contained pistachio trees during the reign of King Merodach-Baladan about 700 B.C.
  • In the first century A.D., Emperor Vitellius debuted this prized nut in his capital city of Rome.
  • Along with almonds, pistachios were frequently carried by travelers across the ancient Silk Road that connected China with the West.
  • Originally imported in the 1880s for Americans of Middle Eastern descent, pistachios were first introduced to the rest of America as a snack food some 50 years later.
  • Today the pistachio tree is widely grown around the world, especially in the US, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
  • Pistachio trees are fairly hardy in the right conditions and can survive temperatures ranging between −10 °C (14 °F) in winter and 48 °C (118 °F) in summer.
  • Pistachio is a desert plant and is highly tolerant of saline soil.
  • In its natural habitat, the pistachio tree has a lifespan of over 150 years.
  • The pistachio tree has wide-spreading branches but rarely exceeds 9 meters (30 feet) in height.
  • It has deciduous pinnate leaves 10–20 centimeters (4–8 inches) long.
  • The plants are dioecious (bearing either male or female flowers). The flowers are borne in panicles that may have more than 150 individual flowers. Flowers are wind-pollinated.pistachio flowers
  • Borne in clusters, the fruit is a drupe (or stone fruit) containing an elongated seed, which is the edible portion. After harvesting, fruits are soaked in order to rid them of their fleshy reddish or yellowish shell. The pistachio nuts are then dried in the sun.pistachio fruit
  • The seed, commonly thought of as a nut, is a culinary nut, not a botanical nut. The fruit has a hard, cream-colored exterior shell. The seed has a mauve-colored skin and light green flesh, with a distinctive flavor. When the fruit ripens, the shell changes from green to an autumnal yellow/red and abruptly splits partly open.
  • Each pistachio tree averages around 50 kilograms (110 lb) of seeds, or around 50,000, every two years.
  • Pistachios are tiny, but pack a powerful nutritional punch.
  • In a 100 gram (3.5 ounces) serving, pistachios provide 562 calories and are 67% fat, 20% carbs, 13% protein.
  • Pistachios are a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, several minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, sodium and selenium. It is also good source of vitamins like vitamin A, K, C, E, B6, B1-thiamine, B2-riboflavin, B3-niacin, B9-folate, and B5-pantothenic acid.
  • Pistachios are also a good source of antioxidants. They contain more antioxidants than most nuts andseeds. In fact, only walnuts and pecans contain more.
  • The vitamins, minerals, fats, and protein found in pistachio are all good for your health.
  • The health benefits of pistachios include a healthy heart, weight management, hypertension, and
    improved digestion.
  • Pistachios also prevent cell damage and play a key role in reducing the risk of disease, such as diabetes and cancer.
  • The pistachio may be purchased shelled or unshelled, and eaten raw or roasted and salted.
  • Pistachios are commonly used in a variety of desserts, including baklava, halvah, and ice cream.pistachio deserts
  • Americans make pistachio salad, which includes fresh pistachios or pistachio pudding, whipped cream, and canned fruit.
  • Iran and the United States are the major producers of pistachios, together accounting for about 3/4 of the total world production.
  • California produces almost all United States pistachios, and about half of these are exported, mainly to China, Japan, Europe, and Canada.
  • The earliest records of pistachio in English are around 1400 with the spellings “pistace” and “pistacia”. The word pistachio comes from medieval Italian pistacchio, which is from classical Latin pistacium and ancient Greek pistákion and pistákē (from Middle Persian). In Persian, the word is attested as pesteh.
  • In Iran, pistachios are known as the “smiling nut.” In China, it’s called the “happy nut.” Pistachios are also known as the “green almond.”
  • Often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year, pistachios are a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune.
  • The Pistachio Principle is a simple, mindful eating concept that can help fool yourself full, without feelings of deprivation. The premise of The Pistachio Principle is that consumption of in-shell pistachios may help to slow eating because the leftover shells offer a visual cue about the amount of pistachios you’ve consumed. And that can potentially reduce your calorie intake.
  • Pistachio are mentioned in the Old Testament in Genesis 43:11, and are one of only two nuts mentioned in Scripture. The other nut mentioned is the almond.
  • Like other members of the Anacardiaceae family (which includes poison ivy, sumac, mango, and cashew), pistachios contain urushiol, an irritant that can cause allergic reactions.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the pistachio nuts, hazelnuts, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 cup sugar.
  3. Unroll thawed phyllo pastry, and cover with a damp towel to prevent drying and cracking. Brush a 10×15-inch jellyroll pan with melted butter using a pastry brush. Lay one sheet of pastry onto the buttered pan, and brush with more butter. Repeat until there are 8 buttered sheets of dough stacked. Sprinkle some of the nut mixture over this layer, then cover with 3 more layers of pastry, each brushed with butter. Sprinkle more of the nut mixture, then 3 layers of buttered pastry. Repeat this pattern until the nut mixture is gone, reserving 8 layers of pastry for the top. Each time a layer of pastry is added, it must be brushed with the melted butter.
  4. Cut the pastry into strips, then into diamonds. Pieces should be somewhat small because they are so sweet. At this point, each piece may be studded with a whole clove. Heat the remaining melted butter until boiling, and drizzle it evenly over the whole pan.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until evenly golden, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  6. While the pastry is baking, combine the remaining 3 cups sugar, water, honey, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  7. When the pastry comes out of the oven, immediately pour the syrup evenly over the entire pan. Be careful when pouring; the hot syrup may cause the butter in the pastry to boil up and splatter. Allow baklava to cool to room temperature before serving. Remove whole cloves from pieces before eating.

9.  Walnuts

Image result for walnuts

Interesting Walnut Facts

Facts courtesy of

  • Walnuts are the oldest known tree food — they date back to 10,000 BC!
  • English walnuts (also known as Persian walnuts) originate in Central Asia and were introduced to California in the 1700s.
  • 99% of the commercial U.S. supply and 3/4 of the world trade of walnuts now come from California.
  • Walnuts have always been considered important for their medicinal properties, including curing bad breath, reducing inflammation, and healing wounds.
  • More recently the nutritional benefits of walnuts have become well-known, especially their omega-3 fatty acid content.
  • The Greeks called walnuts karyon, meaning “head,” because the shell resembles a human skull and the walnut kernel itself looks like a brain!
  • Like today, a common culinary use of walnuts in the 17th-19th centuries was in salads.
  • Walnuts are only harvested once a year, between September and November.
  • California has about 227,000 walnut-bearing acres, and in 2010 the walnut crop is expected to be 510,000 short tons, a record production!
  • There are more than 30 varieties of commercially produced walnuts!

Facts and Picture courtesy of

Interesting facts about walnuts

Interesting facts about walnuts

Technically a walnut is the seed of a drupe or drupaceous nut, and thus not a true botanical nut.

It is native to the region stretching from the Balkans eastward to the Himalayas and southwest China.

Walnuts are one of the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to 7000 B.C.

The Romans called walnuts Juglans regia“Jupiter’s royal acorn.”

Early history indicates that English walnuts came from ancient Persia, where they were reserved for royalty. Thus, the walnut is often known as the “Persian Walnut.”

Walnuts were traded along the Silk Road route between Asia and the Middle East. Caravans carried walnuts to far off lands and eventually through sea trade, spreading the popularity of the walnut around the world.

English merchant marines transported the product for trade to ports around the world and they became known as “English Walnuts.” England, in fact, never grew walnuts commercially.

Walnut tree is a large, deciduous tree attaining heights of 25–35 meters (80 to 120 feet), and a trunk up to 2 meters (6 feet) diameter, commonly with a short trunk and broad crown, though taller and narrower in dense forest competition. It is a light-demanding species, requiring full sun to grow well.

The bark is smooth, olive-brown when young and silvery-grey on older branches, and features scattered broad fissures with a rougher texture.

The leaves are alternately arranged, 25–40 cm (10 to 16 in) long, odd-pinnate with 5–9 leaflets, paired alternately with one terminal leaflet.

The male flowers are in drooping catkins 5–10 cm (2 to 4 in) long, and the female flowers are terminal, in clusters of two to five, ripening in the autumn into a fruit with a green, semifleshy husk and a brown, corrugated nut.

The whole fruit, including the husk, falls in autumn; the seed is large, with a relatively thin shell, and edible, with a rich flavour.

Walnuts are among the most nutritious of all nuts. There are 654 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of walnuts.

Walnuts are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids. They are also rich in antioxidants, including being a very good source of manganese and copper. Walnuts are also a good source of molybdenum, vitamin E, B-complex vitamins, ellagitannins, catechin and melatonin. Many other minerals are provided by walnuts in valuable amounts. These minerals include calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium and zinc.

Some of the health benefits of walnuts include a reduction of bad cholesterol in the body, an improvement in metabolism, and control of diabetes. They also good for anti-inflammatory properties, aid in weight management, and help as a mood booster. They are also believed to slow down the spread of cancer.

Dr Joe Vinson, from the University of Scranton, analysed the antioxidant levels of nine different types of nuts and discovered that a handful of walnuts contained twice as many antioxidants as a handful of any other commonly eaten nut.

Walnuts can be consumed as snack, or as a part of various desserts and salty dishes.

Walnut oil is available commercially and is chiefly used as a food ingredient particularly in salad dressings.

Walnuts have always been considered as “Brain Food”, perhaps because the surface structure of the walnut has a crinkly appearance like that of the brain. Due to this reason, they have been considered as a symbol of intelligence, leading to the belief that they actually increase one’s intellect. While this is not exactly true, recent studies have proven that the consumption of these seeds does help in promoting brain function.

China is the largest producer of walnuts in the world, producing nearly half of the global walnut supply.

The United States is the second largest producer of walnuts, accounting for approximately one third of the total world production. California is the nation’s numberone walnut producer, accounting for nearly all walnuts produced in the U.S.

Although commercial walnut orchards usually have a life expectancy of 60-100 years, in favourable circumstances walnut trees can live for 300 years or more.

The word “walnut” derives from Old English wealhhnutu, literally “foreign nut,” with wealh meaning “foreign.” The walnut was so called because it was introduced from Gaul and Italy. The previous Latin name for the walnut was nux Gallica, “Gallic nut.”

In China, pairs of walnuts have traditionally been rotated and played with in the palm of the hand, both as a means to stimulate blood circulation and as a status symbol. Individual and pairs of large, old, symmetrically shaped, and sometimes intricately carved walnuts are valued highly and have recently been used as an investment, with some of them fetching tens of thousands of dollars.

The most walnuts crushed by the hand in one minute is 212, achieved by Prabhakar Reddy P, (India), in Andhra Pradesh, India, on 13 August 2017. Prabhakar beat the previous record by just one verified crushed walnut.

The most walnuts cracked against the head in one minute is 181 and was achieved by Muhammed Rashid (Pakistan), in Udine, Italy, on 17 April 2016.

 

Caramelised Celeriac Mash with Spiced Walnuts

Ingredients

SPICED WALNUTS
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, microplaned
  • 3 1/2 oz of walnuts
  • salt
CARAMELISED CELERIAC MASH
  • celeriac, peeled and diced (can substitute celery)
  • 1 3/4 oz of butter
  • 3 1/2 fl oz of milk
  • salt
  • pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 356°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Place the honey, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan and heat until the honey begins to bubble. Add the walnuts, stirring to coat, and season with salt. Spread the walnuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Allow to cool, then finely chop.
  3. For the celeriac purée, heat the butter in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. When hot, add the celeriac and season with salt. Cook for 20–25 minutes until the celeriac is soft and has a deep golden colour.
  4. Add the milk to the saucepan and bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan well, then transfer everything to a blender. Blend until smooth, adding a little more milk if needed.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Serve hot with the chopped walnuts on top

7 total views, 1 views today

Leave a Reply