The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”
For today’s Did You Know fun food facts we will look at Nuts.
The Facts: Nuts are defined as a simple, dry fruit with one seed (very occasionally two) in which the seed case wall becomes very hard at maturity.
- True nuts include pecan, sweet chestnut, beech, acorns, hazel, hornbeam and alder. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, horse chestnuts and pine nuts are not nuts.
- Squirrels forget where they hide about half of their nuts.
- If you want to harvest nuts from the wild, you will actually be doing what is known as “foraging”.
- You need to eat nuts raw for them to have the most impact on your health, but roasted are fine, too.
- October 22 is National Nut Day.
Each nut bears its own distinctive flavor, as well as a unique history that often dates back to biblical times and beyond.
Peanuts: Originating in Brazil and Peru and introduced to America by early explorers, the peanut is primarily grown in China, West Africa and the United States. Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma are our key producing states, with Suffolk, Virginia laying claim to being the peanut capital of the world. Peanuts vary in size and variety.
Pecans: This truly American nut is principally grown in the Southern and Southwestern United States, and in the countries of Mexico, Israel and South Africa.
Almonds: Almonds have been eaten plain and candied since they were introduced into Roman life. Native to the Mediterranean countries, the almond was introduced to America from Spain in 1769.
Cashews: Native to Brazil and the West Indies, the cashew is chiefly grown in India, Brazil, East Africa, Mozambique and Kenya. The United States consumes over 90% of the world’s cashew crop.
Filberts: Known as hazelnuts or cobnuts, filberts are grown in Turkey, Iran, Spain and the United States. Early settlers introduced the filbert to America in the 1600’s.
Walnuts: The California walnut is a descendant of the Persian walnut. Native to Persia, the Greeks called the walnut “the nut of Jupiter,” fit for the gods. California is the major growing area of walnuts in the United States, along with France, Italy, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Romania, China and India.
Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts are grown in the Amazon area. The Brazil nut trees grow to a height of 150 feet and have a trunk diameter of nearly eight feet. The three to four pound pods of Brazil nuts fall to the ground when ripe, which makes gathering them a very dangerous occupation
Pistachios: Ninety percent of all pistachios are grown in Turkey and Iran, with Italy, Afghanistan and the United States (California) making up the remainder of the crop. Pistachios thrive in hilly or mountainous regions with poor, stony soils. They grow in heavy, grape-like clusters from trees that reach a height of 25 to 30 feet. The tree produces for about 300 years.
Macadamias: The macadamia, originating in Australia, was discovered around 1857, but was not harvested until the 1930′s. The macadamia is one of the rarest nuts, and with their superb flavor-so very rich and so buttery, it is cherished as a rare and special delicacy.