Nuts are good for you!!!!! And best of all, they taste good too!! Nuts give
us a variety of important vitamins and minerals that our bodies need each day.
Nuts are good for a snack, much better than a candy bar, for not only are they
more nutritious, they make you feel fuller much longer.
Did you know that people have eaten nuts for thousands and thousands of years? Nuts, nutshells and special stone tools have been discovered in an archeological dig in Israel showing evidence that nuts formed a major part of man’s diet 780,000 years ago.
The oldest Walnut remains were discovered in Iraq and they are believed to be from 50,000 B.C. The Romans considered Walnuts as the royal nut because the whole kernel resembles the brain. The slang word of ‘nut’ for the head came into being about 1820, but gradually it acquired the meaning of ‘something wrong in the head’. Now a person who is mentally ill may be referred to as ‘nuts’ or ‘nutty’. And all of this is because the walnut meat resembles the brain! Walnuts were introduced in California by the Franciscan Fathers of Spain in the 18th century, and today California produces much of the world’s supply.
The Pecan nut is native only to North America, and remains of Pecans were found in excavations in Texas with other artifacts that date back to 6100 B.C. The United States produces about 80% of the world supply of Pecans, with Georgia and Texas leading in production.
Historians say that Almonds were among the earliest cultivated foods. The pharaohs of Egypt were served breads containing Almonds, and Almonds were found in King Tut’s tomb. South Africa, Australia, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Morocco, Turkey and Italy produce Almonds, but the United States leads in their production.
The Hazelnut, or Filbert was first known in Asia where it has been known to have been cultivated for 5,000 years. Some think the Hazelnut and Filbert are the same, while others think they are cousins. The Hazelnut was introduced to America by a shipment of seeds in 1629, and today it is grown mostly in Oregon and Washington.
The Brazil nut is native to South America, growing well in the Amazon basin. Brazil nuts are actually large seeds with 15 to 24 arranged in a pod much like the sections of an orange. This pod weighs 4 to 6 pounds and hits the ground with such force that a man could be killed if hit. Natives gather the pods when they fall and open them with machetes to remove the seeds.
We associate the Macadamia nut with Hawaii, but it is native to the rain forests of Queensland, Australia. It is a beautiful tree and was originally grown for ornamental purposes. The Macadamia nuts were introduced to Hawaii in 1882, and today Hawaii produces 95% of the world’s supply.
Peanuts? While many people include the peanut when speaking of nuts, it is really not a nut, but a legume, growing not on a tree, but underground.
A BIT OF CAUTION….
There are over 1 million people in the United States who are allergic to nuts and/or peanuts, so it is with caution that nut products be taken to group gatherings such as school rooms, birthday parties, potlucks, or places where there may be people you do not know. Nuts do not need to be eaten to cause an allergic reaction as contact with the skin can also cause a reaction.
Part of the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum
735 Front Street, Leavenworth, WA 98826