Types of nuts – Botanical definition
Botanical definitions vary depending on the source, making it even more confusing.
However, most of the botanical dictionaries agree with the following characteristics:
A nut is a dry fruit composed of a hard/woody covering (pericarp – a part of a fruit formed from the wall of the ripened ovary), with one seed inside, although it never opens to release its seed even after completing full maturity.
Botanical nuts are inedible by humans except for the hazelnut.
A drupe is a fruit where the hard shell with a seed inside is surrounded by the fleshy part of the fruit.
Types of nuts – Culinary definition
Nuts in the culinary sense refer to any seeds with nut-like characteristics – fruit composed of large oily kernels (but not always e.g. chestnuts contain mostly carbohydrates) enclosed in hard covering.
The definition or criteria can be sometimes harder to understand than simply becoming familiar with the list of culinary nuts as shown in the table below. (1)
|Common name||Fruit type|
|Chinese water chestnut||Corn|
|Pine nut||Gymnosperm. A naked seed enclosed in a protective shell.|