Nuts have been cultivated from many years ago as important food sources. They provide both energy and nutrients for us. During those times, there were more forests and wild nuts were plentiful. Today, nuts are typically cultivated in special plantations and they are used for many different products. Here are common types of nuts:
Much like prunes, peaches and cherries, almond is also considered as a stone fruit. Almond look tiny green peaches on the tree. They will be revealed when the shells are ripe. Almond is used for snack and confectionary. Its powder is also used for a variety of purposes.
2. Macadamia is the native to Australia and it is named after Dr. John Adams, a scientist who promoted its cultivation in Australia. Macadamia is an evergreen tree and may reach 20 meters in height. Through careful hybridization and cloning, macadamia trees are now available in parts of the world. Cracking the macadamia nut can be very difficult, because it is very hard.
Without proper techniques, we may likely smash the nut when cracking the kernel. Factories use special equipments that shrink shells in drying bins to separate the kernel. This technique allows macadamia to become an important commercial product. De-shelled macadamia nuts are valued, because it can be used to produce butter and oil.
Chestnut may have originated from Persia or Southern Europe. But they are also found in the ancient times at Far East and North America. Chestnut has leathery shell and brown shiny color. We can eat it raw, but it is mostly consumed after being roasted, baked or boiled. Chestnut puree is also available unsweetened or sweetened. Unlike many nuts, chestnut contains more carbohydrate. Its flour is also high on starch and fiber.
Cashew originated from the South America and later introduced to South and South East Asia, as well as Africa. The nut itself grows inside an apple-like substance. It should be noted that cashew tree is actually a species of poison ivy and we must take precautions when picking the apple and extracting the nuts. The hard shell has a special kind of oil that can irritate our skin.
A common way to do this is by heating the nuts to safely extract the kernel. However, steam and smoke from cashew can still be quite harmful to our eyes and skin. With proper process, cashew nuts should be harmless and they can be extracted rather easily.
Hazelnuts are native to North America and Europe. They have been mentioned in ancient writing millennia ago. It is credited as the cure of many human illnesses. As an example, hazelnut can be used as hair tonic and it can treat baldness. The nut itself is placed in a really hard shell and we may need proper nutcracker to extract the kernel. Hazelnut are sold raw, roaster, blanched, chopped or powdered.
There are many other nut-based foods, such as peanut, pistachio, water chestnut, walnut and others. They are also important of our diet.