Thursday, July 29, 2010

are you NUTs ?

Nut in botany is a simple dry fruit with one seed in which the ovary wall ( endocarp / shell ) becomes very hard at maturity..

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 kernel found within a shell and used in food may be regarded as a nut.


Chestnut 栗子 ( Castanea sp )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Fagales | Fagaceae..
There are 4 main group of chestnuts, namely : European ( C. sativa ), Chinese ( C mollissima, C. davidii, C. henryi, C. seguinii ), Japanese ( C. crenata ) and American ( C dentate, C. pumila, C alnifolia, C. ashei, C. floridana, C. paupispina ).

Chestnuts are true nuts.

Hazelnut ( Corylus avellana )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Fagales | Betulaceae.

The hazels are a genus of deciduous trees of 4 – 18 species, natives to the temperate northern hemisphere. .

The name avellana derives from the town Avella in Italy.
Hazelnuts are true nuts.

Almond 杏仁 ( Prunus dulcis )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Rosales | Rosaceae

The word ‘almond’ comes from Old French almande or allemande, Late Latin amandola, derived through a form amingdola from the Greek αμυγδαλη ( amygdala ), an almond. mond is a species of tree native to the Middle East..

The fruit of the almond is not a true nut, but a drupe, which consists of an outer hull and a hard shell with seed ( nut ) inside.

Brazil nut ( Bertholletia excelsa )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Ericales | Lecythidaceae

Brazil nut tree is native to Southern America.

The genus is named after the French chemist Claue Louis Berthollet.

Brazil nut is of the seed of a capsule. The capsule is 10 – 15cm diameter, weighing up to 2 kg. It has a hard woody shell 8 – 12 mm thick, inside contains 8 – 24 triangular seeds 4 – 5 cm long ( the Brazil nuts ) packed like the segments of an orange.


Candlenut Buah Keras ( Aleurites moluccana )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Malpighiales |
The seed is high in oil content, which allows its uses as a candle, hence its name.
The nut is often used to thickened sauces in Malay cooking.

Cashew腰果 ( Anacardium occidentale )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Sapindales | Anacardiaceae

Cashew is native to South America. .

Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. The name Anacardium refers to the shape of the fruit, which looks like an inverted heart ( cardium = heart ).
What appear to be the fruit of cashew tree is an pear-shaped accessory fruit that develops from the receptacle, called cashew apple. It juicy, with a strong sweet smell and a sweet taste.
The true fruit of the cashew tree is the kidney-shaped drupe that grows at the end of the accessory fruit. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut.

Coconut  椰子( Cocos nucifera )
Magnoliophyta | Monocot Commelinids  | Arecales | Arecaceae  

The origin of coconut is very much disputable.  Most authorities claim it is native to South Asia.

The word 'coco' is fromthe Portuguese and Spanish word mean 'grinning face', for the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its 3 holes.

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut.  It has 3 layers : exocarp, mesocarp ( husk ), and endocarp ( hard coated seed containing its testa, meat and water ).

Macadamia nut ( Macadamia sp )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Proteales | Proteaceae.

The genus is named by Ferdinand von Mueller, after John Macadam, an Scottish-born, Australian botanist..

Macadamia is a genus of 9 species, native to Australia, New Caledonia and Sulawesi..

The fruit is a very hard woody globose follicle, containing one or two seeds.

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Peanut花生 ( Arachis hypogaea )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Fagales | Juglandaceae .

The peanut was probably first domesticated in the valley of Peru..

Hypogaea means ‘under the earth’.

Peanuts are seeds of legumes fruit.

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Pine nut松子 ( Pinus sp )
Pinophyta | Pinopsida | | Pinaceae.

Pines nuts are edible seeds of pines. About 20 species of pine produce seeds large enough to be worth havesting.

Several species of pines are cultivated for its nuts : Pinus pinea, Pinus cembra, Pinus koraiensis, Pinus gerardiana, Pinus sibirica, Pinus pumila, Pinus armandii, Pinus bungeana, Pinus deulis, Pinus monophylla, Pinus cembroides, Pinus sabineana, Pinus torreyana, Pinus lambertiana, Pinus quadrifolia, etc.


Pistachio 开心果 ( Pistacia vera )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Fagales | Juglandaceae.

Pistachio is a small tree native to Middle Eastern..

The word ‘pistachio’ is a loanword from Persian via Latin, and is a cognate to the Mordern Persian word ‘Peste’

The fruit is a drupe, containing an elongated seed, the Pistachio nut.


Walnut 核桃 ( Juglans sp )
Magnoliophyta | Magnoliopsida | Fagales | Juglandaceae
The Latin name, Juglans, derives from Jupiter glans, “Jupiter’s acorn”, figuratively, a nut fit for a god.

The word walnut, derived from Old English wealhhnutu, literally “foreign nut’, because it was introduced from Gaul and Italy..

There are some 21 species of walnuts originated ranging from Europe, Japan, North America, South America. Among the best-known are Persian Walnut ( J. regia ), East Black Walnut ( J. nigra ), Hinds’ Black Walnut ( J. hindsii ), Japanese Walnut ( J. ailantifolia ), Butternut ( J. cinerea ), etc..

Botanically, walnut is not a nut. The edible kernels are seed’s cotyledon of a drupaceous fruit.



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