Unlike other flowering fruit trees that bear edible fruit, the almond tree’s kernel is the delicious nut found inside the fruit. Almonds develop within a shell that is surrounded by a hull, similar to the fleshy part of a peach.
Brazil nuts are the large seeds of giant trees grown in the Amazon jungle. These "seeds" come in clusters of 8 to 24 inside a hard, 4- to 6-inch pod that resembles a coconut.
Cashews are believed to have originated in the northeast of Brazil, near the Equator. It is likely that Spanish sailors first introduced the cashew to Central America in the sixteenth century.
Hazelnuts grow in clusters on the hazelnut tree in temperate zones around the world. The outer husk opens as the nut ripens, revealing a hard, smooth hazel colored shell. Depending on the area of the world, they are either hand-picked or mechanically harvested.
The Macadamia [mak-uh-DAY-mee-uh] is the youngest of the edible tree nuts, with commercial cultivation dating from 1858. Macadamia trees were first grown only for ornamental purposes - until the great-tasting nut was discovered!
This native American tree nut is a member of the hickory family. Long before the arrival of the Europeans to the New World, pecans [pih-KAHNS; pih-KANS; PEE-kans] were an important food in the diet of the Indian tribes of the central and southern regions of the United States.
The pine tree is one of the most familiar trees, both in Europe and North America, but it is mainly in the Mediterranean area where it obtains its highest importance of production and consumption. The nuts are found inside the pine cone.
With an antiquity of around 9,000 years, the pistachio is one of the oldest edible nuts on earth. Originating from the Middle Eastern countries of Iran, Syria and Greece, the pistachio belongs, like the cashew, to the family of the Anacardiaceae.
Walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to 7000 B.C. The Romans called walnuts Juglans regia, “Jupiter’s royal acorn.” Early history indicates that English walnuts came from ancient Persia (called “Persian Walnuts”), where they were reserved for royalty.
Associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers
Yu, Z., V.S. Malik, N. Keum, F.B. Hu, E.L. Giovannucci, M.J. Stampfer, W.C. Willett, C.S. Fuchs, Y. Bao, 2016. Associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers. AJCN. First published ahead of print July 27, 2016 as doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.134205.
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Nut consumption and prostate cancer risk and mortality.
Wand, W., M. Yang, S.A. Kenfield, F.B. Hu, M.J. Stampfer, W.C. Willett, C.S. Fuchs, E.L. Giovannucci, Y. Bao, 2016. Nut consumption and prostate cancer risk and mortality. British Journal of Cancer. doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.181
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Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials.
Del Gobbo, L.C., M.C. Falk, R. Feldman, K. Lewis, D. Mozaffarian, 2015. Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. AJCN. First published ahead of print November 11, 2015 as doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.110965.
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Rosemary Hazelnut Crackers
By Ethan Howard, Pastry Chef at Murray Circle Restaurant, Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito