It’s National Nut Day, which can only mean one of two things: do something crazy; or indulge in some nuts at snack time. First, let’s be clear about what is, or are, nuts. That depends on whether you’re using a culinary or botanical definition.
Many nuts are referred to as such because they can be used as nuts in cooking. For example, a soy bean can be used as a nut, but we know it is not a nut.
Which nuts are not nuts?
Botanically speaking, the following nuts are not nuts: peanuts are seeds from legumes; almonds and pistachios are seeds from “drupes”; pine nuts are seeds from pine trees; cashews are seeds from “accessory fruits”; Brazil nuts are seeds from “capsules”; and macadamia nuts are actually kernels from “follicle” fruits.
So, what then is a nut?
Walnuts, filberts, hazelnuts, pecans, chestnuts, acorns, wingnuts. These nuts are nuts.
What is the difference between real nuts and not-nuts?
A nut is a dried fruit with one seed that remains attached to a hard ovary wall like a walnut. They do not open at maturity like a pistachio, or release any seeds like peanuts.
Now, if you’re allergic to nuts, please consider all of this is just nuts. If you’re not, note that the communities around the world called “Blue Zones”–areas with high populations of centenarians, or people with healthy longevity–all eat nuts. Nuts are packed with “Nutrients” like vitamins E and B2; minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium; proteins and fibers; essential fatty acids; the good unsaturated fats–and they make a great snack!
It’s good to be a little nutty!
For more info on Ontario nuts go to www.songonline.ca
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.