A nut is a fruit composed of an inedible hard shell and a seed, which is generally edible. In general usage, a wide variety of dried seeds are called nuts, but in a botanical context “nut” implies that the shell does not open to release the seed (indehiscent). The translation of “nut” in certain languages frequently requires paraphrases, as the word is ambiguous. World nut day is celebrated on the 22nd of October each year, to acknowledge and… “honour” the long and storied history of the nut, as well as to dispel some pernicious myths, such as the persistent idea that peanuts are a nut for instance. Nuts have been part of our diets for time out of mind, a trait we likely learned by following our fuzzy four footed brethren to their winter stores.
Check out some interesting nutty facts about the nuts you love to snack on!
1. Peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes.
2. Peanuts are also highly allergenic, and exposure, if allergic, can even result in death.
3. Hazelnuts are also called Filberts.
4. Hazelnuts are Oregon’s official state nut.
5. Walnuts are the oldest known tree food. They date all the way back to 10,000 BC.
6. If you love almonds as much as we do, thank bumblebees! Almonds can’t grow on their own. They need bees to help them pollinate.
7. The shell of the cashew is toxic and can’t be eaten. Cashews are in the same plant family as poison ivy and poison sumac and their itchy oil is primarily contained in their shell.
8. Pistachio is known as the “smiling nut” in Iran and the “happy nut” in China.
9. Macadamia nuts are never picked. They are harvested from the ground after they fall off the tree.
10. They also have the hardest shell of any nut, taking 300 PSI of pressure to crack it open.
11. Pine nuts are actually found inside pinecones.
12. Brazil nuts are a truly special nut. They require a specific bee to be pollinated and take as long as 10 to 30 years to mature.
13. Pecans are rich in vitamin E, and are usually ranked in the top 15 of all antioxidant rich foods.
14. Pistachios are actually the seeds of a fruit! The outer fruit is removed during processing!
15. Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919.
16. In fact, Texas Governor James Hogg asked that a pecan tree be planted at his gravesite.
17. Ancient Greeks believed hazelnuts could treat coughing and baldness.
18. All those almonds you eat as snacks are probably helping your balance of beneficial gut bacteria. Studies have ranged from looking at the properties of the almond skin, to the almond’s potential prebiotic effects.
19. Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter and with six cities in the US named Peanut.
20. Almonds have a long storage life and can be refrigerated for up to 2 years. The longer shelf life is due to the fact that they are rich in Vitamin E.
21. Macadamia nuts are poisonous for dogs.
22. Besides having a great omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which helps in fighting inflammation, macadamia nuts contain the largest amount of monounsaturated fatty acids of any nut. Regular consumption of these nuts may result in lowered triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.
23. Chestnuts will provide about 20% of your daily value of vitamin C. This is much more than every other nut.
24. Coconuts Are Not Nuts. They are actually “dry drupes.”
25. 40% Of the world’s almonds are bought by chocolate manufacturers!
26. Have you ever cracked open a pistachio and marveled at the fact that part of it is green? This green, and sometimes purple color is in fact due to the antioxidants found in the pistachio.
27. Most Brazil nuts don’t come from Brazil. They come from Bolivia!
28. Peanuts can also be called “Goobers”.
29. There is even a Johnny Cash song that includes the word “Goobers” in its title! It’s called “Goober Peas”!
30. Calling a person ‘nutty’ or ‘nuts’ originally meant infatuated or enthusiastic.