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Types Of Nuts

Nuts are a very popular health food. For vegans and vegetarians, and keto diets—nuts can be enjoyed by most people, no matter their dietary restrictions. Find more about the types of nuts below!

Nuts can be used to enhance the flavor and texture of your dishes or enjoyed on their own as a snack. They are yummy, convenient and have a ton of health benefits despite containing a high amount of fat.

What Are Nuts? 

There are a lot of foods we consider nuts, but the precise definition of a nut is an edible seed enclosed in a hard outer shell which does not split open when the seed matures. Seeds that meet these criteria are considered ‘true’ nuts or botanical nuts. 

Seeds that are surrounded by a fleshy fruit within a hard outer shell are known as drupes. Almonds and pecans are classified as drupes, not nuts. 

All the edible seeds enclosed in a tough shell that aren’t true nuts are called culinary nuts. These include cashews, peanuts, pistachios, etc. 

Regardless of their scientific classification, nuts are rich in nutrients, contain antioxidants and may even help you lose weight. 

Different Types Of Nuts 

Here is a list of all the different kinds of nuts you can include in your daily diet: 

Chestnut 

Types of Nuts

Chestnuts are true nuts and a part of the beech family. European, Japanese and Chinese chestnuts are the most widely eaten varieties, but they are also grown in Italy, South America and South Korea. 

Since they are true nuts, they can be eaten at harvest. The taste is mostly bland, except for European chestnuts which are somewhat sweet. Keeping them in the refrigerator can also enhance the flavor, as the scratches turn to sugars. 

Chestnuts can be prepared in a variety of ways. They can be peeled and eaten raw or roasted, boiled, steamed or even candied. They make great thickeners for curries and soups and can also be used to add some crunch to cakes or pies. 

Unlike most nuts, chestnuts are rich in carbohydrates. 

Hazelnut 

Types of Nuts

Hazelnuts make amazing companions to coffee, cakes and other desserts. They are also the chief ingredient of Nutella—one of the most popular chocolate spreads in the world. 

They are grown in the United States, Asia and Europe. Since hazelnut trees are very hardy, they can grow in a variety of different climates. The trees are average sized and quite bushy. 

Hazelnuts are very quick to dry—they start drying out a mere 24 hours after being picked from the tree. They have a long shelf life if kept whole, but need to be consumed within a few weeks after deshelling. 

Chocolate is the most common companion for hazelnut. There are many mouth-watering chocolate desserts made with chocolate and hazelnut. It can also be used to accompany savory meat dishes. 

Macadamia Nut 

Types of Nuts

Macadamia nuts have an interesting texture. They are used in granola bars for their crunch and high levels of protein and other minerals and vitamins. 

They can be used in a variety of desserts like macadamia nut cookies, fudge, or muffins. Some savory dishes also use macadamia nuts—like macadamia nut crusted chicken. 

Macadamia nuts need a warm climate to grow. They are most common in Hawaii, Australia and South America but are also found in some areas of Africa and Asia. 

It takes 5 years for a macadamia nut tree to be ready for harvest. Macadamia nuts are susceptible to mildew, so they need to be deshelled within a day of harvest. This is probably why they are one of the more expensive nuts available today. 

Kola Nut 

Types of Nuts

Kola trees are only found in tropical rainforests. Kola nuts are native to Africa and many West African cultures like to chew them for their interesting flavor profile. They taste bitter at first but start tasting sweet the longer you chew them. 

They are a sign of hospitality and are often given away at cultural events, weddings, funerals and child-naming ceremonies. 

The trees can grow up to 60 feet and are easily identified from their distinct yellow flowers. They bear star-shaped fruits, which have 2-5 kola nuts inside them. 

Kola nuts have caffeine, so they are widely used to make flavored beverages. They are also used in traditional African medicine. Nowadays, you can also find kola nut energy supplements. 

Peanut 

Types of Nuts

This might surprise you, but peanuts aren’t nuts at all. They are culinary nuts. While most culinary nuts are drupes, peanuts are legumes. They are a part of the pea family. Peanuts are most widely used for making peanut butter and peanut oil. 

Peanuts grow below the ground, which has earned them the nickname ‘groundnuts’. Peanuts need a lot of preparation before they can be eaten. 

They need to be harvested from the ground, washed to get the dirt off them, dried and deshelled before they are ready to eat. They can be prepared in a variety of ways like roasting, boiling or steaming. 

Peanuts are grown in Asia, the United States, Africa and Australia. They are a common ingredient in many Asian cuisines and a staple in the diet of many cultures. 

Almond 

Types of Nuts

The state of California is the world’s largest producer of almonds. They are also grown extensively in Italy and Spain. They are native to Iran but mostly grown in the United States and Europe. 

Almonds can be eaten right after harvesting too—they are softer and have a sweeter taste. They have a stronger flavor after they are dried. 

There is also a lower risk of mold in dried almonds as compared to fresh almonds. Though they are less common, you can also buy shelled almonds. 

Almonds are a good source of protein, monounsaturated fats and essential nutrients. They made a good addition to pies and dishes and also taste great in salads and chicken dishes. 

Almond milk is a popular substitute for regular milk among vegans and people suffering from lactose intolerance. 

Brazil Nut 

Types of Nuts

Brazils nuts are widely cultivated in Brazil, as the name suggests. They are also commonly grown in other parts of South America like Bolivia and Peru. Brazil nut trees are typically found in the Amazon rainforests. 

They are among the largest trees and have very long lifespans. The fruit that contains the nut is extremely large, weighing over 4 pounds. 

Brazil nuts are usually eaten raw, but some people prefer having them blanched too. The outer shell of the Brazil nut is extremely hard and you usually require a nut-cracking tool to get to the soft nut inside. 

Brazil nuts are a great source of iron, vitamin E, selenium, calcium and magnesium. They are very high in selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant. It reduces cell damage caused by free radicals and strengthens the immune system. 

Cashew 

Types of Nuts

Cashews are full of nutrients and lend a rich flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike. They grow in a fruit and are visually quite appealing when they hang off the cashew tree. 

Extracting cashews is a complicated task. The seeds are embedded in a fruit and the outer shell is filled with a caustic liquid which can cause severe burns on human skin. There are a few different methods to safely extract the cashew from the shell. 

It can be frozen and extracted from the shell while wearing protective gloves or roasted with oil to remove the shell without touching it. Cashews are primarily found in wet and dry climates. They are mostly grown in suitable parts of India, Brazil and Africa. 

Cashews are chock full of vitamins and minerals and high in fats. They have antioxidants and magnesium, making them very helpful for people suffering from joint pain. 

Pecan 

Types of Nuts

Pecan trees are usually grown in groves or orchards. They can take up to 10 years before they start producing a good harvest of pecans. Pecans are gathered when they fall naturally from the tree or by shaking the tree till the nuts fall off. 

It takes over 2 weeks for the pecans to dry properly in their shells. Most people roast them to make the flavor richer. 

Pecans are most well known as the chief ingredient of pecan pie, but they also taste great in salads and chicken or beef dishes. They are full of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. 

Pistachio 

Types of Nuts

Pistachios grow in hot climates. They need sandy soil to grow in. Pistachios originated in the Middle East and Central Asia, which makes them a key part of the dishes typical of these regions. 

Pistachios are mostly grown in Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Italy. In America, they are grown in Arizona, California and New Mexico. 

Most people like to eat them roasted with salt, but they can be eaten raw too. They are high in protein and several vitamins. Pistachios are widely used to make baklava, kulfi and ice cream. 

Walnut 

Types of Nuts

Walnuts are grown primarily in America, Mexico, China and Ukraine. Walnuts are drupes, which makes them culinary nuts. They can be eaten raw, but they need to be thoroughly cleaned with a pressure washer and dried first. 

After being deshelled, they can be eaten as is or roasted. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 and antioxidants. They are also high in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B6 and magnesium. 

They can be used to make a number of desserts or crushed and used as a garnish for salads and savory dishes. They have a very woody flavor and crunchy yet smooth texture that compliments any dish they are added to. 

Sunflower Seeds 

Sunflower seeds are one of the most widely consumed seeds in the world. They have a lot of health benefits and are usually enjoyed as a snack or included in breakfast cereals or bars. They also taste good as a salad topping. 

Sunflower seeds come from sunflowers and are widely produced in North America. Sunflower seeds need 4 days to dry out before they can be harvested from the flowers. This is usually done by beating or shaking the flower. 

They are also used for the production of sunflower oil, which is mainly used in Asian cuisines. 

Cedar Nut 

Cedar nuts are a kind of pine nut. They are harvested from Siberian cedar pine trees, which makes them a different variant of the pine nut. They are mostly cultivated in Siberia and Russia. 

Cedar nuts are extremely beneficial to our health. They are high in fats, protein, vitamins and minerals and help boost our immunity. Cedar nuts can be eaten raw or roasted. 

Though most people prefer to eat them like a snack, they do make a great addition to salads or meat dishes. 

Pine Nut 

Types of Nuts

There are many different variants of pine nuts, mostly because there are many different species of pine trees. The different variants can taste slightly different. Pine nuts are dried and roasted before they are considered ready for eating. 

They have a slightly buttery flavor when eaten raw. They are high in copper, iron, vitamin E, fat and protein. Pine nuts are usually added to salads, meat dishes or used in bread. They also taste good with fish. 

Coconut 

Coconuts are technically drupes, but based on their usage, they can be considered both a fruit and a nut. They are a part of the palm tree family and grow in tropical zones. They can be found in California in America and also grow in Mexico and the Caribbean. 

They can be prepared in a variety of ways. Whether eaten raw, baked or fried, they have an amazing flavor and lend a very distinct taste when added to other dishes. They can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. 

Coconuts are most widely used to make coconut oil, coconut milk and also as a natural flavoring for ice cream or yogurt. 


Wrapping Up 

Nuts are a great healthy snack to munch on when you feel hungry—they are full of good fats, vitamins, minerals and proteins. They are also diet friendly and suit many different kinds of dietary restrictions. 

They also make a great addition to desserts or meat dishes due to their distinct texture and subtle yet unique flavor. It is always a good idea to add nuts to your daily diet—just make sure you are not allergic to them.