Nutty for Legumes?  Tasty Tidbits On Your Favorite Types Of Nuts

There are virtually hundreds of different types of nuts.  While technically most varieties nuts are not scientifically classified under the name, nuts for most people are recognized as a product sold in grocery stores by big name manufacturers such as Planters.  However, in all fairness, it must be stated that true nuts are those which are the seeds of fruits.  That being said, we can begin to look into the vast array of “nuts” most commonly being used for consumption by humans.


Possibly the world’s most beloved and notorious nut is the peanut.  Also named Groundnuts, peanuts have been eaten by man for over 7,000 years.  Growing underground, these legumes or beans mature within five months after planting.  Once mature, peanuts are removed from their pod and sold as is or in products such as peanut butter and used often for baking.


Widely used in bakery, walnuts are another popular nut.  Different from peanuts in the fact that the walnut comes sheltered inside the fruit of a shell grown on deciduous trees, these nuts come in a wide variety of types.  As the fruit or drupes of the walnut tree ripen, they become heavy and fall to the ground for harvest.  In rural towns, many families will gather fallen walnuts and sell them at local farmer’s markets.


As recent findings are beginning to show almonds as an excellent source of nutrition, more and more people are forking out good money to eat them.  Usually sold already shelled, these drupes come from the almond tree much like the walnut does from the walnut tree.  Almonds are a favorite in many culinary recipes including green bean almandine and various bakery products.


A nut fit for a king, the cashew grows from the fruit of the cashew tree in warm climates.  Chinese cultures have used the cashew for thousands of years in their menu because of its excellent flavor. Due to the fact that cashews are typically grown near the equator, prices for the nut are higher than many others.


Grown mostly in the Arab regions, pistachios are a favorite among Chinese and American consumers and are suspected to play a part in promoting a healthy heart.  Small and round, these nuts are commonly used as ingredients for ice cream and various desserts.  They may also be eaten whole, as is.


Grown natively in Australia but adopted by several other tropical climate regions, the macadamia nut is known as the most nutritious nut available.  Not only are these types of nuts great for internal health, they also has beneficial effects on the face when its oils are extracted and used in skin care products.


Delicious in a warm, Southern baked pie, pecans are a rich and tasty treat.  Commonly used as garnish or eaten shelled and whole, this type of nut grows native to North America and has been a staple for over 200 years.  The pecan is so popular among Texans that the state opted to make pecan trees their state tree.

Nut Warning

Although both nutritious and delicious, many types of nuts can be harmful to certain individuals.  Oddly enough, these edibles are family members of poisonous plants like poison ivy.  As many people can get an allergic reaction from poison ivy, so can they from the chemicals found in the shells and meat of nuts like peanuts.

Because nuts are so commonly used in cuisine, many restaurants and food distributors are now required to disclose that foods may be cooked in peanut oil or may have been shipped in close proximity to nuts.



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