First things first, what are tree nuts?
It’s as simple as it sounds — tree nuts are nuts that grow on trees.
Which common nuts are classified as tree nuts?
- Brazil Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Shea Nuts
What are some of the health benefits of tree nuts?
They’re a great source of protein, as well as fiber, healthy monosaturated fats, antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins.
How common are tree nut allergies?
Approximately 1.8 million Americans are allergic to tree nuts. Tree nuts are versatile ingredients though and can pop up in unexpected places. Here are some unexpected foods that may contain tree nuts: barbecue sauce, breading for chicken, fish recipes, honey, meat-free burgers, pancakes, pasta, pie crusts, salads and dressings.
How will I know if my snack contains tree nuts?
Labeling is required. All FDA regulated manufactured food products that contain a tree nut as an ingredient, are required by law to list the specific tree nut on the product label.
What about coconut?
Coconut is the seed of a drupaceous fruit, but is identified by the FDA as a tree nut. Typically, tree nut food allergies to not apply to coconut, but everyone is different.
Tree Nut Fun Facts
- Walnuts are the oldest known tree nuts — they date all the way back to 10,000 BC.
- Almonds can’t grow on their own. They need bees to help them pollinate.
- The shell of the cashew is toxic and can’t be eaten. Cashews are in the same plant family as poison ivy and poison sumac and their itchy oil is primarily contained in their shell.
- Pistachio is known as the “smiling nut” in Iran and the “happy nut” in China.
- Macadamia nuts are never picked. They are harvested from the ground after they fall off the tree. They also have the hardest shell of any nut, taking 300 PSI of pressure to crack it open.
- Brazil nuts are a truly special nut. They require a specific bee to be pollinated and take as long as 10 to 30 years to mature.
- Ancient Greeks believed hazelnuts could treat coughing and baldness.
- Almonds have a long storage life and can be refrigerated for up to 2 years. The longer shelf life is due to the fact that they are rich in Vitamin E.
- Pistachios are actually seeds of a grape-like fruit.
- Cashews are actually fruit, too.
- Chestnuts contain vitamin C (around 20%).
- Macadamia nuts are poisonous for dogs.