Nuts About Nuts!
When we think about the origin of our food, nuts aren’t really thought about, but when you look into where certain nuts come from, you fall down a fascinating hole which is absolutely nuts! We have collated information about the world’s most popular nut, the 3 edible nuts that grow in the UK and some nuts that their origins may surprise you.
Peanuts grow in pods underground with the plant growing above. Peanut plants have beautiful yellow flowers and a single pod will usually contain 1 – 4 seeds.
Peanuts are a legume(bean family) that originated in South America. Peanuts are rarely eaten in raw form and are usually eaten roasted or as peanut butter.
Peanuts are packed with healthy fats and high-quality protein, but they are also high in calories.
Any time you buy a bag of mixed nuts it’s probably going to contain peanuts. As a food, they’re a perfect match with almonds, cashews or hazelnuts. It’s hard to imagine classing them with peas and beans, but that’s what they really are.
Walnuts are 1 of the 3 edible nuts that grow in the UK. Walnuts are an interesting nut to look at but it may surprise you what they look like when fresh off a tree.
The nuts develop in a pitted shell surrounded by a leathery casing which splits in two when the nuts ripen in autumn.
Walnuts are an excellent source of antioxidants that can help fight oxidative damage in your body.
Hazelnuts come from Hazel trees which can be found throughout the UK! Hazelnuts are another edible nut that grows in the UK.
You can eat hazelnuts straight from the tree providing you have something that can break them open.
A quarter of all the hazelnuts grown in the world go to Ferrero, the Italian based giant that produces Nutella spread and Ferrero Rocher chocolates amongst a range of international bestsellers. The company produces 11 million jars of Nutella a year with up to 97 nuts in each.
We all know that hazelnuts and chocolate are an amazing combination – here are some recipes that celebrate that marriage made in heaven – Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies, Hazelnut Brownies & Chocolate, Hazelnut & Salted Caramel Tart
It may be embarrassingly obvious, as the clue is in the name, but pine nuts come from pine cones!
Pine cones are built of overlapping scales and the pine nuts are located inside each scale. The scales open when exposed to heat or dryness.
Most pine nuts take roughly 18 months to mature but some take three years.
Harvesting pine nuts are very difficult and tedious as they are all harvested by hand.
Pine nuts as are most nuts, really healthy for you as they are full of antioxidants.
Pine nuts are usually served to garnish and add a bit of texture to your dish, so why not add them to your next salad or pasta dish.
Cashews come from a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and cashew apple. The cashew seed is what we consider the nut, and is eaten on its own or is processed. into milk, cheese and butter.
The cashew apple is a light reddish yellow and the pulp can be processed into a sweet fruit drink or distilled into liquor.
The rich fat content of cashews is what makes them a great dairy substitute. Cashews can be processed into milk, cheese and butter – which makes it perfect for vegans and another trying to avoid dairy.
Third edible nut native to the UK. Sweet Chestnuts (not to be confused with horse chestnuts aka conkers) which usually remind people of Christmas!
Chestnuts come from the Sweet Chestnut tree and the tree doesn’t start to bear ‘fruit’ (nuts) until they are around 25 years old.
The kola nut is the fruit of the kola tree, a genus (Cola) of trees that are native to the tropical rainforests of Africa. The caffeine-containing fruit of the tree is used as a flavouring ingredient in beverages and is the origin of the term cola.
In the 1880s, a pharmacist in Georgia, John Pemberton, took caffeine extracted from kola nuts and cocaine-containing extracts from coca leaves and mixed them with sugar, other flavourings, and carbonated water to invent Coca-Cola, the first cola soft drink, however, as of 2016, the cola recipe no longer contains actual kola nut extract.