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  • Writer's pictureFACTORALY


Updated: Apr 4

This time, Simon takes a peek at pecans, and Bruce is working for peanuts.

Nuts are some of the best and healthiest foods there are - even if they're not always technically nuts! This episode goes into the different types of foodstuff that we call nuts, and explains why some of them aren't nuts at all.

Processing Cashew Nuts

It's hard, dangerous work and utterly fascinating. This video explains why they're so expensive.

Harvesting Peanuts

Click the pic to discover the health benefits of nuts

Brazil nuts - technically a seed and tough nuts to collect

Growing and processing Macadamia nuts - the most expensive nut in the world.

Picking and processing Pistachios

Pecans in space

Click the Pic for the full story of the Apollo program and pecans on the moon

Say "Pecan Pie" after watching this video

Click the pic for an interesting article from the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne on nut allergies

Making the world's biggest Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Watch a nutter crack 273 walnuts with his head in one minute

February 5th is World Nutella Day

Nutella source their milk locally

How to pronounce Nutella and Ferrero properly!

Smiling Pistachios

Almond pollination by bees

And finally, the difference between nuts, legumes, and drupes

Most of the edible items we casually cluster under the name “nuts” fall into three classifications. 

True Nuts: These nuts are both their parent plants’ dry fruit and seed in one package. Each nut represents a single seed in a hard shell that does not split (at least not on its own) to release the seed. Hazelnuts and chestnuts are “true nuts.”

Drupes: Unlike true nuts, which are a fruit and seed in one, drupes are a fleshy fruit with a hard, dry seed inside. Cashews, almonds and pecans are drupes. Cherries and peaches are examples of drupes in which we eat the fruit protecting the seed and discard the seed (which we call a pit) itself. On the other hand, in the case of cashews, almonds and pecans, we consume the seed and toss their soft, outer fruit.

Legumes: When it comes to items we call nuts that aren’t actually nuts, peanuts are the main players in this category as one of the most widely consumed “nuts” in the United States. Legumes are part of the pea family, and peanuts are seeds found in their plant’s oblong pods. They ripen under the soil, which earned them their nickname “groundnut.” We call them nuts because they have many of the same traits (how they’re used and their nutritional profile) as true nuts and drupes.

Hazelnuts are true nuts and tree nuts.

Tree nuts

To make it more confusing, there is also the classification of a “tree nut,” which includes many drupes (pecans) but also true nuts (hazelnuts), and, just like it sounds, describes nuts that grow on trees.

The confusion is understandable as most “nuts” share common characteristics like their rich tastes and crunchy-that-turns-creamy textures that make them versatile, extremely tasty and for some, almost addictive. (When was the last time you ate a single nut?)

Here's a list from Wikipedia to make it easier to distinguish nuts from drupes:

The following are both culinary and botanical nuts.


A drupe is a fleshy fruit surrounding a stone, or pit, containing a seed. Some of these seeds are culinary nuts as well.

Smoked almonds

  • Almonds (Prunus dulcis) have a long and important history of religious, social and cultural significance as a food. Speculated to have originated as a natural hybrid in Central Asia, almonds spread throughout the Middle East in ancient times and thence to Eurasia. The almond is one of only two nuts mentioned in the Bible.

  • Apricot kernels are sometimes used as an almond substitute, an Apricot seed derived ersatz-Marzipan is known as "Persipan" in German and is extensively used in foods like Stollen.

  • Australian cashew nut (Semecarpus australiensis) is a source of food for Indigenous Australians of north-eastern Queensland and Australia's Northern Territory.

  • Baru nut (Dipteryx alata) is a source of food for indigenous Afro-Brazilian communities living in the Brazilian Cerrado. The nut is eaten toasted or boiled.

  • Betel or areca nuts (Areca catechu) are chewed in many cultures as a psychoactive drug. They are also used in Indian cuisine to make sweet after-dinner treats (mukwas) and breath-fresheners (paan masala).

  • Borneo tallow nuts (Shorea spp.) are grown in the tropical rain forests of South East Asia, as a source of edible oil.

  • Canarium spp.

  • Canarium nut (Canarium harveyi, Canarium indicum, or Canarium commune) has long been an important food source in Melanesia.

  • Chinese olive (Canarium album) pits are processed before use as an ingredient in Chinese cooking.

  • Pili nuts (Canarium ovatum) are native to the Philippines, where they have been cultivated for food from ancient times.

  • Cashews (Anacardium occidentale) grow as a drupe that is attached to the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree. Native to northeastern Brazil, the cashew was introduced to India and East Africa in the sixteenth century, where they remain a major commercial crop. The nut must be roasted (or steamed) to remove the caustic shell oil before being consumed.

  • Chilean hazel (Gevuina avellana), from an evergreen native to South America, similar in appearance and taste to the hazelnut.

  • Coconut (Cocos nucifera), used worldwide as a food. The fleshy part of the seed is edible, and used either desiccated or fresh as an ingredient in many foods. The pressed oil from the coconut is used in cooking as well.

  • Gabon nut (Coula edulis) has a taste comparable to hazelnut or chestnut. It is eaten raw, grilled or boiled.

  • Hickory (Carya spp.)

  • Mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa), native to North America, named after the heavy hammer (moker in Dutch) required to crack the heavy shell and remove the tasty nutmeat.

  • Pecans (Carya illinoinensis) are the only major commercial nut tree native to North America. Pecans are eaten as a snack food, and used as an ingredient in baking and other food preparation.

  • Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) has over 130 named cultivars. They are a valuable source of food for wildlife, and were eaten by indigenous peoples of the Americas and settlers alike.

  • Shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa) nuts are sweet, and are the largest of the hickories. They are also eaten by a wide variety of wildlife.

  • Irvingia spp. are native to Africa

  • Bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis) has both edible fruit and an edible nut, which is used as a thickening agent in stews and soups in West African cuisines.

  • Ogbono nut (Irvingia wombolu) is similar to the bush mango, but the fruit is not edible.

  • Jack nuts (Artocarpus heterophyllus) are the seeds of the jack fruit. With a taste like chestnuts, they have an extremely low fat content of less than 1%.

  • Jelly Palm Nut (Butia capitata), sweet edible fruit, and edible nut.

  • Bread Nuts (Artocarpus camansi) similarly have a chesnut taste and very low fat content

  • Panda oleosa is used in Gabon in a similar way to bush mango nuts, as well as to extract an edible oil.

  • Pekea nut, or butter-nut of Guiana (Caryocar nuciferum), harvested locally for its highly prized edible oil.

  • Pistachio (Pistacia vera L.), cultivated for thousands of years, native to West Asia. It is one of only two nuts mentioned in the Bible.

  • Walnut (Juglans spp.)

  • Black walnut (Juglans nigra), also popular as food for wildlife, with an appealing, distinctive flavor. Native of North America.

  • Butternut (Juglans cinerea) (or white walnut) is native to North America. Used extensively, in the past, by Native American tribes as food.

  • English walnut (Juglans regia) (or Persian walnut) was introduced to California around 1770. California now represents 99% of US walnut growth. It is often combined with salads, vegetables, fruits or desserts because of its distinctive taste.

  • Heartnut, or Japanese walnut (Juglans aitlanthifolia), native to Japan, with a characteristic cordate shape. Heartnuts are often toasted or baked, and can be used as a substitute for English walnuts.

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