Are Brazil Nuts Real Nuts?

A man wondering if Brazil nuts are nuts, fruits or seeds

Contrary to popular belief and even its name, Brazil nuts are not nuts. They are instead seeds.

As we will discuss in this post, Brazil nuts match the requirements to be classified as a seed, not a nut.

Why Are Brazil Nuts Classified as Seeds?

The Brazil nut grows inside a fruit that comes from the Brazil nut tree, the Bertholletia excelsa. The fruit is thick, hard, and the size of a coconut. More precisely, it’s around 6 inches in diameter, or 15 cm. And it weighs around 5 pounds, or 2.3 kg.

The fruit takes about 15 months to mature after pollination. Inside that fruit, there are up to 24 seeds. The number usually ranges from 8 to 24.

Because several Brazil nuts grow inside a fruit (or pod), they are classified as seeds, not nuts. To be considered a nut, there would have to be a single fruit growing inside a hard shell.

Why Do People Refer to Them as Brazil Nuts and Not Brazil Seeds?

Brazil seed would be a more accurate name. But keep in mind that nuts, seeds, and fruits weren’t always named by the scientific community. In fact, people used to know Brazil nuts by many names; in some places, they still do. That name was just the most popular one.

Could the Name Be Changed to Brazil Seed?

Changing the name would be a massive task. Nowadays, the name is “set in stone,” and changing it would generate confusion for the exporting industry, consumers, and even botanists.

Summary

Brazil nuts are not actual nuts, but seeds that grow inside a fruit. The name may be inaccurate, but changing it would be a massive undertaking. It’s much simpler to keep calling them Brazil nuts and educate people on what they really are.

If you do a little research on our website, you will see that they are far from being the only mislabeled “nut”. Peanuts and almonds are two of the most popular nuts that aren’t actually nuts.

FAQ

Can a Brazil nut be called a filbert?

The term filbert is actually a synonym for hazelnut. So, no, a Brazil nut cannot be called a filbert.

Are baru nuts the same as Brazil nuts?

Baru nuts are not the same as Brazil nuts. Baru nuts are from the legume family and come from the baru nut tree, the Dipteryx alata.

Are Brazil nuts and jackfruit seeds the same?

Brazil nuts and jackfruit seeds are not the same. Jackfruit seeds are the fruit that comes from the jackfruit tree, the Artocarpus heterophyllus. Brazil nuts come from the Brazil nut tree, the Bertholletia excelsa.

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