Since the first of time and even before agriculture was used by the Greeks to have better food resources,’Nuts’ were a steady food and nutritional source in the diet of manhood in the dark ages. During those times, nuts were plentiful, as there were much more woods as now, and well liked for their simple storage, which allowed people to maintain them for times in which food was hard to discover. (Winter, rainy season, etc)
There’s evidence that as far back as the second century B.C., the Romans distributed sugar almonds on special occasions such as marriages and births.
Nuts have their place in all cultures and throughout almost all cuisine around the world. Nuts are enjoyed by people of all ages because of their subtle flavor and high fat and carbohydrate content. It is this subtle flavor that Chefs like when creating new dishes and variants.
DESCRIPTION & SPECIES
Under the group nuts, we know anything from a seed into a legume or tuber. The peanut, for instance, is a legume, the Brazil nut and macadamia nut are almonds and seeds are the seed of a fruit like a peach.
Botanically nuts are single seeded fruits with a hard or leathery shell that contain a edible kernel, which is enclosed in a soft inner skin.
Generally, all nut trees grow slowly but live long. Trees of walnut, chestnut or pecan continue to produce nuts, often more than hundred years after planting.
Nut trees of any species are found throughout the world. Almonds for example are located in California, Spain, Morocco, Italy as well as Australia, where as the walnut can be located anywhere from North America to the Andes and Persia to Australia. Asia also has a great variety of nuts.
Scientist consider the almond as a stone fruit, similar to cherries, peaches and prunes.
Because many people only know the seed (stone) of this fruit, it’s generally accepted as a nut.
Almond on the tree, look like small green peaches. When ripe the shell will open and show the nut in its shell.
There are various varieties of almonds.
This exact same apricot was taken to Europe and became the apricot fruit, which is now enjoyed throughout the world. The bitter almond kernel is poisonous in its raw state and has to be boiled quickly and poached in a oven before being further utilized. It’s primarily used in Chinese desserts like the almond bean curd.
The sweet almond is usually limited for fresh consumption. In 1986, California alone produced 70,000 tons of almonds, which is half of the world’s production. The almond has been cultivated around the Mediterranean since ancient times and may still be found wild in Algeria and around the black sea. Sweet almonds can be bought whole, shelled, cut 1/2 with skin, without skin, flaked, blanched, slivered ground roasted or salted. They’re used for snacks, marzipan, confectionery, and desserts as well as for the production of liqueur essence, cosmetic and oil products.
Initially the trees originated in the area of Brisbane and Rockhampton in Queensland Australia. Only the female trees are producing a 2cm x 2.5cm nut at the pinecone.
In the old days, the bunya bunya pine nuts were stable food for the aborigines and used in ceremonials. These days, the nuts gain in popularity throughout the trend of indigenous food in Australia (bush food) in the past few years.
The nut is rich is carbohydrate, similar to the chestnut, and therefore used more like a potato than a nut. The bunya bunya nuts can be eaten raw but are usually boiled for easy removing of skin. Shelled nuts are then butter fried and flavored with sugar or pepper, or added to stews and soups.
RED BOPPLE NUT
The nut is about the exact same size as a hazelnut and has a thick (0.5cm 0 1cm), woody husk with a bright red outer skin, which only appears if the nut is fully ripe.
In contrary to most other nuts, the red bopple nut is quite low on fat, but very high in potassium and calcium. The low fat content make this nut quite easy digestible. The nuts are eaten raw or toasted.
Truly every part of the coconut is used, but just the coconut milk and the coconut meat are all foods. The casing is used as charcoal, the husk is used to make ropes, clothing and brushes, and the trunk of the tree and leaves are used for roofs of houses and construction material respectively.
The fruit of the hands’cocos nucifera’ has an edible kernel and so qualifies as a nut. The palm tree is native to the Philippines, Malaysia, Brazil and Indonesia, and can produce 50 – 100 nuts annually, over a life span of 70 years. Coconut palms grow best near the seaside but have been demonstrated to withstand high elevation, even though the production rate is diminishing as farther away from the sea the tree grows.
The big thick green pod encloses a brown fibrous husk around a brown shell, which comprises a layer of soft white flesh and the crystal clear water in the center. Sub-species found only on one island of the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, produces a nut often weighing more than 20 kg, which needs 10 years to ripen.
Coconuts are the worlds most commercially used nuts. Especially the meat, or copra, as it is called after sun drying, is very important for the export industries, in coconut growing countries. The coconut is a important food source particularly in South East Asia, India, Brazil and the South Pacific Islands.
The copra can be brought shredded or desiccated and can be used in confectioneries, ice creams and to coat chicken or fish for frying. Yet much of it is pressed for its oil also called coconut butter because it’s fatty and white at room temperature. Not only is it used for cooking and to make margarine, but in addition, it goes into soaps, detergents, shampoos, face lotion, perfumes and candles.
Additionally it is a major ingredient in glycerin, synthetic rubber, safety glass and hydraulic brake fluid. It’s won by shredding the raw coconut meat, then adding water and straining the mixture through a cotton cloth. The coconut milk has the consistency and color of skim milk and is available frozen or canned.
More recently, the nuts were grounded to a paste, mixed with copra (grated coconut milk ) and ten formed into a candle.
Candlenuts are the seed of the candle berry tree native to Indonesia and Malaysia but broadly spread throughout south East Asia, the South Pacific and Sri Lanka.
The nut has a very significant content on fat and is appreciated for the extracted oil for lighting as well as cooking. The nut is colored grey to black, about 5cm in diameter, with a thin, papery husk containing one or two nuts.
Candlenut oil for lighting purposes is expressed by roasting the nuts when they are just half ripe as oil for cooking is expressed by roasting the nuts when they’re fully ripe. For human consumption, the nuts have to be roasted as uncooked once have been inducing sicknesses.
Ripe candle nuts are roasted, then pounded into a meal and mixed with salt, chilies or shrimp paste for usage in curries or as a spicy condiment into curries. Traditionally, the Javanese have roasted the nuts for eating in the entire.
The palmyra palm native to most South East Asian Countries creates a tough, shiny nut, from which a sweetish gel or sap is expressed. While this sap is used in the Indonesian cuisine for soups and desserts, it’s on other recognized product that’s begin produced from the palmyra palm – The Palm Sugar (gula melacca).
There aren’t reliable data on the nutritional value of the palm nut, but it is widely known that the fat is saturated.
The macadamia trees are evergreen and reach a height of up to 20 meters.
In 1888, macadamia trees are planted in Hawaii where through careful cloning and hybridization, it became an important commercial product.
Today, macadamia nuts are also cultivated in South Africa, Zimbabwe, California and parts of South and Central America.
It’s very difficult to crack the macadamia nut as it’s shell is quite hard and so tight into the kernel that if cracked the nut is crushed. In Hawaii, American scientist developed a way of separating the kernel from the shell by shrinking them in drying bins. They then developed the first commercial cracker. It was through these two improvements that the macadamia nut could be formed to the industrial importance it has today.
This is also the reason why macadamia nuts are only available already de-shelled. Macadamia nuts also are valued for their oil and the macadamia nut butter.
They’re available roasted and salted. When purchasing macadamia nuts, give care they are packed in a air tight or vacuum bags, as they become readily rancid once opened.
The name refers to a nut like tuber of a aquatic plant named Trapa. The plants are common to several parts of the world, but are mainly used in Japan, China and Thailand where it is also a sought after ingredient in it’s cuisines.
The trapa plant roots in ponds and lakes and sends, its’ leaves to the surface, somewhat like a water lily. The water chestnut grows on the roots beneath the surface. Water chestnuts are flat and round with a diameter of 5 – 7cm. They have a soft black skin and white flesh like the flesh of a coconut. Water chestnuts can also be boiled and made into flour, which can be used for thickening of sauces and dishes, similar to cornstarch.
Chestnuts are thought to have originated in Southern Europe and Persia even though they’re also found in China, Japan and Northern America.
The nuts of the chestnut tree have a brown shiny color and leathery shell. They can be eaten raw, but mostly are consume boiled, baked or roasted or as a chestnut puree sweetened or unsweetened.
Chestnuts are the only nuts, which are treated like a vegetable because they contain more starch (30 percent ) and less fat .
Chestnuts are also made into a flour high on fiber and starch.
Originating from the West Indies and native to the north of Brazil, Portuguese explorers introduced the nut to India and Malaysia as well as parts of Africa.
The hard-shelled nut grows inside the cashew apple. When mature the cashew nut appears at the end of the yellow or red apple. The cashew tree is a member of the poison ivy family and farmers need to take great precautions when yanking the nuts. The hard shell comprises an oil, which irritates the skin, so the nuts are heated to extract the kernel. The smoke and steam, which occurs however may still be harmful to eyes and skin. When heated the cashew nuts are harmless and could be extracted.
The ginkgo is the ancient maidenhair tree, which survives as a wild tree just in China.
The fruit looks like a tiny plum but has a sour and sour shell. The Chinese wait for the smelly hull to complete off, then paint the nuts and use them for festive decorations, before they crack them open to eat the nut. In Japan and Korea, ginkgo nuts are skewered and then grilled, which turns the nuts color from yellow to green. In China, the ginkgo nut is a popular ingredient to vegetarian dishes. The nuts are available canned or fresh.
The nut of the hazel bush is native to Europe and North America and was mentioned in writings as far back as 2838 B.C., and has been credited of currying many human ills in addition to being considered outstanding for Boldness and use as a hair tonic. Some say that the name filbert comes from Saint Philibert, a French abbot whose feast day on 22 August coincides with the ripening of the initial nuts in the Northern hemisphere.
Hazelnuts have a very hard shell, which has to be cracked by a nutcracker before getting into the kernel.
The peanut isn’t a true nut. It is the seed of a leguminous plant with a soft, brown colored brittle shell and belong to the Botanical family of peas and beans. But they are typically considered along with the nuts because of they are physical characteristics and nutritional value. The nuts grow on the long roots of this plant and below the ground. The peanut is native to Brazil and has been found there ever since the first recording in 950 B.C..
Today, peanuts are cultivated throughout the tropics all over the world (India, China, West Africa, Australia and the USA are the biggest peanut growing countries). Peanuts produce excellent oil, which is used for salads and cold dishes as well as for frying. Peanuts also create peanut butter, margarine, and also utilised in canning of sardines. Peanuts are available complete, de-shelled and de-skinned and raw or toasted. Peanuts are used in many different varieties in everything from salads to main courses and desserts.
Pine trees are located in the Southern USA, Mexico and around the Mediterranean sea. It is quite tricky to set up a pinenut industry as the trees are growing very slow and do not carry a lot of fruits until they’re 75 years old.
Pine nuts are largely got raw and then toasted, grilled or fried. Pine nut flour is used in confectionery.
The pistachio nut is a small green kernel, which develops on the pistachio tree originating in Syria, Palestine and Persia.
The natural color of the shell is grayish white, but some times the blossoms are dyed red to cover up some of the staining.
The pistachio nut is now cultivated in India, Europe, North Africa, Mexico, the USA and the Far East. Pistachios are often sold in their shell or shelled and blanched.
The walnut is related to the hickory and pecan tree and grows anywhere from North America to the Andes and Europe to China. English walnuts, butternuts and hickory nuts are all walnuts, botanical talking. All those walnuts have different shells and kernels but the English walnut with it is rough, rippled shell and yellowish brown kernel is the most popular and broadly called’The Walnut’.
Walnuts are bought in the shell or de-shelled and are sought after for their oil, which is used for cooking as well as for salads and dressing.