One of America’s Favorites – Nuts

August 19, 2013 at 9:25 AM | Posted in nuts, One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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A nut is a fruit composed of a hard shell and a seed, where the hard-shelled fruit does not open to release the seed (indehiscent). So, while, Some common nutsin a culinary context, a wide variety of dried seeds are often called nuts, in a botanical context, only ones that include the indehiscent fruit are considered true nuts. The translation of “nut” in certain languages frequently requires paraphrases as the concept is ambiguous.
Most seeds come from fruits that naturally free themselves from the shell, unlike nuts such as hazelnuts, chestnuts, and acorns, which have hard shell walls and originate from a compound ovary. Culinary usage of the term is less restrictive, and some nuts as defined in food preparation, like almonds, pistachios and Brazil nuts, are not nuts in a botanical sense. Common usage of the term often refers to any hard-walled, edible kernel as a nut.

 

 

A nut in botany is a simple dry fruit with one seed (rarely two) in which the ovary wall becomes very hard (stony or woody) at maturity, and where the seed remains attached or fused with the ovary wall. Most nuts come from the pistils with inferior ovaries (see flower) and all are indehiscent (not opening at maturity). True nuts are produced, for example, by some plant families of the order Fagales.
Order Fagales:
* Family Juglandaceae
* Walnut (Juglans)
* Hickory, Pecan (Carya)
* Wingnut (Pterocarya)
* Family Fagaceae
* Beech (Fagus)
* Chestnut (Castanea)
*Oak (Quercus)
* Stone-oak (Lithocarpus)
* Tanoak (Notholithocarpus)
* Family Betulaceae
* Hazel, Filbert (Corylus)
* Hornbeam (Carpinus)
A small nut may be called a nutlet. Nutlet may refer to one of the following. In botany, this term specifically refers to a pyrena or pyrene, which is a seed covered by a stony layer, such as the kernel of a drupe. Walnuts and hickories (Juglandaceae) have fruits that are difficult to classify. They are considered to be nuts under some definitions, but are also referred to as drupaceous nuts. “Tryma” is a specialized term for hickory fruits.

 

 

A nut in cuisine is a much less restrictive category than a nut in botany, as the term is applied to many seeds that are not botanically true

Hazelnuts from the Common Hazel

Hazelnuts from the Common Hazel

nuts. Any large, oily kernels found within a shell and used in food are commonly called nuts.
Nuts are an important source of nutrients for both humans and wildlife. Because nuts generally have a high oil content, they are a highly prized food and energy source. A large number of seeds are edible by humans and used in cooking, eaten raw, sprouted, or roasted as a snack food, or pressed for oil that is used in cookery and cosmetics. Nuts (or seeds generally) are also a significant source of nutrition for wildlife. This is particularly true in temperate climates where animals such as jays and squirrels store acorns and other nuts during the autumn to keep from starving during the late autumn, all of winter, and early spring.
Nuts used for food, whether true nut or not, are among the most common food allergens.[3]
Some fruits and seeds that do not meet the botanical definition but are nuts in the culinary sense are:
* Almonds are the edible seeds of drupe fruits — the leathery “flesh” is removed at harvest.
* Brazil nut is the seed from a capsule.
* Candlenut (used for oil) is a seed.
* Cashew is the seed[4] of an accessory fruit.
* Chilean hazelnut or Gevuina
* Macadamia is a creamy white kernel of a follicle type fruit.
* Malabar chestnut
* Mongongo
* Peanut is a seed and from a legume type fruit (of the family Fabaceae).
* Pine nut is the seed of several species of pine (coniferous trees).
* Pistachio is the seed of a thin-shelled drupe.

 

 

Several epidemiological studies have revealed that people who consume nuts regularly are less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease (CHD). Nuts were first linked to protection against CHD in 1993. Since then many clinical trials have found that consumption of various nuts such as almonds and walnuts can lower serum LDL cholesterol concentrations. Although nuts contain various substances thought to possess cardioprotective effects, scientists believe that their Omega 3 fatty acid profile is at least in part responsible for the hypolipidemic response observed in clinical trials.
In addition to possessing cardioprotective effects, nuts generally have a very low glycemic index (GI). Consequently, dietitians frequently recommend nuts be included in diets prescribed for patients with insulin resistance problems such as diabetes mellitus type 2.
One study found that people who eat nuts live two to three years longer than those who do not. However, this may be because people who eat nuts tend to eat less junk food.
Nuts contain the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acids, and the fats in nuts for the most part are unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated fats. Nuts also provide Arginine, a substance that may help make the walls of the arteries more flexible and less prone to blockage from blood clot formation.
Many nuts are good sources of vitamins E and B2, and are rich in protein, folate, fiber, and essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium.
Nuts are most healthy in their raw form. The reason is that up to 15% of the healthy oils that naturally occur in nuts are lost during the roasting process.
Raw or unroasted walnuts were found to have twice as many antioxidants as other nuts. Although initial studies suggested that antioxidants might promote health, later large clinical trials did not detect any benefit and suggested instead that excess supplementation of antioxidant supplements is harmful.

 

 

The nut of the horse-chestnut tree (Aesculus species, especially Aesculus hippocastanum), is called a conker in the British Isles. Conkers are

Chestnuts

Chestnuts

inedible because they contain toxic glucoside aesculin. They are used in a popular children’s game, known as conkers, where the nuts are threaded onto a strong cord and then each contestant attempts to break their opponent’s conker by hitting it with their own. Horse chestnuts are also popular slingshot ammunition.

 

 

Nuts, including the wild almond, prickly water lily, acorns, pistachio and water chestnut, were a major part of the human diet 780,000 years ago. Prehistoric humans developed an assortment of tools to crack open nuts during the Pleistocene period. Aesculus californica was eaten by the Native Americans of California during famines after the toxic constituents were leached out.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Nuts

February 11, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Posted in nuts | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A nut is a fruit composed of a hard shell and a seed, where the hard-shelled fruit does not open to release the seed (indehiscent). So,

Hazelnuts from the Common Hazel

Hazelnuts from the Common Hazel

while, in a culinary context, a wide variety of dried seeds are often called nuts, in a botanical context, only ones that include the indehiscent fruit are considered true nuts. The translation of “nut” in certain languages frequently requires paraphrases as the concept is ambiguous.
Most seeds come from fruits that naturally free themselves from the shell, unlike nuts such as hazelnuts, chestnuts, and acorns, which have hard shell walls and originate from a compound ovary. Culinary usage of the term is less restrictive, and some nuts as defined in food preparation, like pistachios and Brazil nuts, are not nuts in a botanical sense. Common usage of the term often refers to any hard-walled, edible kernel as a nut.
A nut in botany is a simple dry fruit with one seed (rarely two) in which the ovary wall becomes very hard (stony or woody) at maturity, and where the seed remains attached or fused with the ovary wall. Most nuts come from the pistils with inferior ovaries (see flower) and all are indehiscent (not opening at maturity). True nuts are produced, for example, by some plant families of the order Fagales.
Order Fagales
*Family Juglandaceae
Walnut (Juglans)
Hickory (Carya)
Wingnut (Pterocarya)
*Family Fagaceae
Beech (Fagus)
Chestnut (Castanea)
Oak (Quercus)
Stone-oak (Lithocarpus)
Tanoak (Notholithocarpus)
*Family Betulaceae
Hazel, Filbert (Corylus)
Hornbeam (Carpinus)

 
A small nut may be called a nutlet. Nutlet may refer to one of the following. In botany, this term specifically refers to a pyrena or pyrene, which is a seed covered by a stony layer, such as the kernel of a drupe.
A nut in cuisine is a much less restrictive category than a nut in botany, as the term is applied to many seeds that are not botanically true nuts. Any large, oily kernels found within a shell and used in food are commonly called nuts.
Nuts are an important source of nutrients for both humans and wildlife. Because nuts generally have a high oil content, they are a highly prized food and energy source. A large number of seeds are edible by humans and used in cooking, eaten raw, sprouted, or roasted as a snack food, or pressed for oil that is used in cookery and cosmetics. Nuts (or seeds generally) are also a significant source of nutrition for wildlife. This is particularly true in temperate climates where animals such as jays and squirrels store acorns and other nuts during the autumn to keep from starving during the late autumn, all of winter, and early spring.
Nuts used for food, whether true nut or not, are among the most common food allergens.
Some fruits and seeds that do not meet the botanical definition but are nuts in the culinary sense:
*Almonds are the edible seeds of drupe fruits — the leathery “flesh” is removed at harvest.
*Brazil nut is the seed from a capsule.
*Candlenut (used for oil) is a seed.
*Cashew is a seed.
*Chilean hazelnut or Gevuina
*Horse-chestnut is an inedible capsule.
*Macadamia is a creamy white kernel (Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla).
*Malabar chestnut
*Mongongo
*Peanut is a seed and a legume of the family Fabaceae.
*Pine nut is the seed of several species of pine (coniferous trees).
*Pistachio is the seed of a thin-shelled drupe.
Several epidemiological studies have revealed that people who consume nuts regularly are less likely to suffer from coronary heart

A walnut, left, and its seed, right, having been removed from its pericarp

A walnut, left, and its seed, right, having been removed from its pericarp

disease (CHD). Nuts were first linked to protection against CHD in 1993.[6] Since then many clinical trials have found that consumption of various nuts such as almonds and walnuts can lower serum LDL cholesterol concentrations. Although nuts contain various substances thought to possess cardioprotective effects, scientists believe that their Omega 3 fatty acid profile is at least in part responsible for the hypolipidemic response observed in clinical trials.
In addition to possessing cardioprotective effects, nuts generally have a very low glycemic index (GI). Consequently, dietitians frequently recommend nuts be included in diets prescribed for patients with insulin resistance problems such as diabetes mellitus type 2.
One study found that people who eat nuts live two to three years longer than those who do not. However, this may be because people who eat nuts tend to eat less junk food.
Nuts contain the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acids, and the fats in nuts for the most part are unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated fats. Nuts also provide Arginine, a substance that may help make the walls of the arteries more flexible and less prone to blockage from blood clot formation.
Many nuts are good sources of vitamins E and B2, and are rich in protein, folate, fiber, and essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium.
Nuts are most healthy in their raw form. The reason is that up to 15% of the healthy oils that naturally occur in nuts are lost during the roasting process. Roasting at high temperatures could also cause chemicals that advance the aging process to form.[citation needed]
Raw or unroasted walnuts were found to have twice as many antioxidants as other nuts. Although initial studies suggested that antioxidants might promote health, later large clinical trials did not detect any benefit and suggested instead that excess supplementation of antioxidant supplements is harmful.
The nut of the horse-chestnut tree (Aesculus species, especially Aesculus hippocastanum), is called a conker in the British Isles. Conkers are inedible because they contain toxic glucoside aesculin. They are used in a popular children’s game, known as conkers, where the nuts are threaded onto a strong cord and then each contestant attempts to break their opponent’s conker by hitting it with their own. Horse chestnuts are also popular slingshot ammunition.
Nuts were a major part of the human diet 780,000 years ago including the wild almond, prickly water lily, acorns, pistachio and water chestnut. Prehistoric humans developed an assortment of tools to crack open nuts during the pleistocene period. Aesculus californica was eaten by the Native Americans of California during famines after the toxic constituents were leached out.

Nut of the Week – Brazil Nut

January 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM | Posted in Food, nuts | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) is a South American tree in the family Lecythidaceae, and also the name of the tree’s commercially harvested edible seed. The Brazil nut family is in the order Ericales, as are other well known plants such as: blueberries, cranberries,

Brazil Nut Tree

sapote, gutta-percha, tea, kiwi fruit, phlox, and persimmons.

The Brazil nut tree is the only species in the monotypic type genus Bertholletia. It 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, Rio Negro, Tapajós, and the Orinoco. The genus is named after the French chemist Claude Louis Berthollet.

The Brazil nut is a large tree, reaching 165 ft tall and 3–6.5 ft trunk diameter, among the largest of trees in the Amazon Rainforests. It may live for 500 years or more, and according to some authorities often reaches an age of 1,000 years. The stem is straight and commonly unbranched 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, 20–35 centimeter long and 10–15 centimeters broad. The flowers are small, greenish-white, in panicles 5–10 centimeters 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 forests, as disturbed forests lack the large-body bees of the genera Bombus, Centris, Epicharis, Eulaema, and Xylocopa which are the only ones capable of pollinating the tree’s flowers. Brazil nuts have been harvested from plantations but production is low and it is currently not economically viable. The Brazil nut tree’s yellow flowers contain very sweet nectar and can only be pollinated by an insect strong enough to lift the coiled hood on the flower and with a tongue long enough to negotiate the complex coiled flower. For this reason, the Brazil nut’s reproduction depends on the presence of the orchid Coryanthes vasquezii, which does not grow on the Brazil nut tree itself. The orchids produce a scent that attracts small male long-tongued orchid bees (Euglossa spp), as the male bees need that scent to attract females. The large female long-tongued orchid bee pollinates the Brazil nut tree. Without the orchid, the bees do not mate, and therefore the lack of bees means the fruit does not get pollinated.

The fruit takes 14 months to mature after pollination of the flowers. The fruit itself is a large capsule 10–15 centimeters diameter resembling a coconut endocarp in size and weighing up to 2 kilograms. It has a hard, woody shell 8–12 millimeters thick, and inside contains 8–24 triangular seeds 4–5 centimeters long (the “Brazil nuts”) packed like the segments of an orange; it is not a true nut in the botanical sense.

The capsule contains a small hole at one end, which enables large rodents like the Agouti to gnaw it open. They then eat some of the

Brazil nut seeds

nuts inside while burying others for later use; some of these are able to germinate into new Brazil nut trees. Most of the seeds are “planted” by the Agoutis in shady places, and the young saplings may have to wait years, in a state of dormancy, for a tree to fall and sunlight to reach it. It is not until then that it starts growing again. Capuchin monkeys have been reported to open Brazil nuts using a stone as an anvil.

Despite their name, the most significant exporter of Brazil nuts is not Brazil but Bolivia, where they are called almendras. In Brazil these nuts are called castanhas-do-Pará (literally “nuts from Pará”), but Acreans call them castanhas-do-Acre instead. Indigenous names include juvia in the Orinoco area, and sapucaia in the rest of Brazil.

While cooks classify the Brazil nut as a nut, botanists consider it to be a seed and not a nut, because in nuts the shell splits in half with the meat separate from the shell. Around 20,000 tons of Brazil nuts are harvested each year, of which Bolivia accounts for about 50%, Brazil 40% and Peru 10% (2000 estimates). 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.

Brazil nuts are 18% protein by weight, 13% carbohydrates, and 69% fat. 91% of its calories come from fat. The fat breakdown is roughly 25% saturated, 41% monounsaturated, and 34% polyunsaturated. The saturated fat content of Brazil nuts is among the highest of all nuts, surpassing macadamia nuts, which are primarily monounsaturated fat, and the nuts are pressed for their oil. Because of the resulting rich taste, Brazil nuts can often substitute for macadamia nuts or even coconut in recipes. Also due to their high polyunsaturated fat content, primarily omega-6, shelled Brazil nuts soon become rancid.

Nutritionally, Brazil nuts are a good source of some vitamins and minerals. A cup or 133 grams of Brazil nuts contains the vitamins thiamin (0.8 mg—55% DV) and vitamin E (7.6 mg—38% DV); minerals calcium (213 mg—21% DV), magnesium (500 mg—125% DV), phosphorus (946 mg—96% DV), copper (2.3 mg—116% DV), and manganese (1.6 mg—81%), and are perhaps the richest dietary source

Brazil nuts after shell removal

of selenium; one ounce can contain as much as 10 times the adult USRDA (U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances), more even than the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), although the amount of selenium within batches of nuts varies greatly.

Recent research suggests that proper selenium intake is correlated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer. This has led some health commentators and nutritionists to recommend the consumption of Brazil nuts as a protective measure. These findings are inconclusive, however; other investigations into the effects of selenium on prostate cancer were inconclusive.

Brazil nuts have one of the highest concentrations of phytic acid at 2 to 6% of dry weight. (Phytic acid can prevent absorption of some nutrients, mainly iron, but is also a subject of research and possibly confers health benefits – see phytic acid article for more information.)

Despite the possible health benefits of the nut, the European Union has imposed strict regulations on the import from Brazil of Brazil nuts in their shells, as the shells have been found to contain high levels of aflatoxins, which can lead to liver cancer.

Brazil nuts contain small amounts of radium. Although the amount of radium, a radioactive element, is very small, about 1–7 pCi/g (40–260 Bq/kg), and most of it is not retained by the body, this is 1,000 times higher than in other foods. According to Oak Ridge Associated Universities, this is not because of elevated levels of radium in the soil, but due to “the very extensive root system of the tree.”

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 (not to be confused with Brazilwood) 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.

The Brazil nut effect is the tendency of the larger items to rise to the top of a mixture of items of various sizes but similar densities, e.g., Brazil nuts mixed with peanuts.

Brazil Nut Cookies Recipe

January 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM | Posted in baking, dessert, diabetes, diabetes friendly, Food | Leave a comment
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Brazil Nut Cookies Recipe

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 10 min./batch
Yield: 54 Servings

15 10 25
Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped Brazil nuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Directions

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in nuts and coconut.
Drop by tablespoonfuls 3 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottom of cookies are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks. Yield: about 4-1/2 dozen.

Nutritional Facts 1 serving (1 each) equals 104 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 17 mg cholesterol, 62 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Brazil-Nut-Cookies

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