You may already be familiar with some of the most popular types of nuts, such as almonds and walnuts. But did you know that there are actually dozens of different varieties? From classics like pecans and macadamias to lesser-known types like pistachios and cashews, there's something for everyone on this list.
There's a lot of debate over which nuts are the best. And while there are many different types of nuts, we've compiled a list of 23 of the best varieties.
So, whether you're looking for a healthy snack or something to add to your baking, these are the best edible nuts you can buy.
The almond tree is a species native to the Middle East and South Asia. There are two main types: sweet almonds and bitter almonds.
- Sweet almonds are the most common and are used in many foods and snacks.
- Bitter varieties are used to make almond oil and as a flavoring agent in some foods and beverages.
- Dyed almonds are typically sweet and coated with food coloring. They are often a decorative element in desserts and other baked goods.
- Flavored almonds are typically sweet or bitter and coated with a flavored syrup or powder. Common flavors include chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon.
When choosing almonds, look for plump with smooth, shiny skin. Avoid ones that are shriveled or have brown spots. Store them in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for up to two months when stored properly.
It is native to the Brazilian Cerrado, a tropical savanna ecoregion and a superfood. It is a large and hard seed, similar in appearance to a chestnut. They are encased in a thick, inedible shell that must be cracked open before the nut can be eaten.
There are two main types:
- Hubara and criollo. They are larger and have a sweeter flavor.
- Criollo Baru nuts are smaller with a more intense flavor.
They have a high protein content and are an excellent source of dietary fiber. They are also a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.
There are several ways to prepare, be cooked, and eat like a vegetable or added to soups and stews.
They should be stored in a cool, dry place. If they are stored in a humid environment, they will become rancid. They can be ground into flour and stored in the freezer for up to six months.
Beech trees (Fagus spp.) are deciduous hardwoods native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. There are many species of beech trees, but the most common is the European beech (Fagus sylvatica).
Beech trees typically have smooth, gray bark and oval-shaped leaves. The nuts of beech trees are small, hard, and round. They are enclosed in a thin, papery husk attached to a long, narrow bract.
Beech nuts are an important food source for many animals, including birds, squirrels, and mice. People eat them, although they are not as popular as other nuts, such as almonds or peanuts. They are often used in baked goods and other recipes.
They are available fresh, canned, or frozen. They can also be found in some health food stores. Beech nuts should be stored in a cool, dry place.
The Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) is a South American tree in the family Lecythidaceae, and it produces large, round fruit with edible seeds.
The Brazil nut tree is native to the Amazon rainforest and is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. The seeds are encased in a hard shell and are typically eaten whole.
The Brazil nut is a good source of protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. They contain high levels of selenium, an important mineral for human health. Selenium is known to help protect the body against disease and cancer. Brazil nuts are a good source of magnesium and copper.
They can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to six months. They can develop mold and become rancid if stored in a humid environment. They should be kept in an airtight container to prevent them from becoming rancid.
Bunya nuts are the fruit of the Araucaria bidwillii, a tree species native to Queensland, Australia. The tree can grow up to 30 meters tall and is distinguished by its large, cone-shaped fruit. It has a hard shell that encloses starchy flesh. These are popular food sources in Australia and are often used in Aboriginal cuisine.
The Araucaria bidwillii is thought to have been growing in Australia for over 100 million years. The tree is an important part of the Australian landscape and is considered a sacred plant by the Aboriginal people. Bunya nuts have been an important food source for Aboriginal people for thousands of years. It grows on large trees known as the bunya pine, which is native to Queensland and New South Wales.
The best way to store is in a cool, dry place, and it can last for up to 12 months when stored properly. The nuts can be ground into flour when ready to eat.
Cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae, native to northeastern Brazil. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the tree, caju (pronounced /ˈkæʒuː/), which itself is derived from the Tupian word acajú, literally meaning "nut that produces itself." The tree grows to a height of 12 m (39.4 ft) and produces the cashew nut and the cashew apple.
It is a fruit that grows at the end of the cashew tree's leaves. It is reddish or yellowish, and its flesh is sweet and juicy. The cashew apple is not a true apple but rather the swollen stem of the flower.
Cashews are native to Northeast Brazil but are now grown in many tropical countries. India is the largest producer, followed by Vietnam and Nigeria.
They can be eaten raw, roasted, or salted. They are often used in Indian and Thai cuisine and are a common ingredient in trail mix and granola.
Cashews should be stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to six months.
They come in many different varieties and species, with the two most commonly grown being the sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) and the Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima). The sweets are primarily cultivated in Europe and Asia, while the Chinese type can be found in North America.
These nuts are high sugar content, which makes them naturally sweet. They contain a high amount of dietary fiber and are a source of complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.
Cedar nuts are the edible seeds of Siberian trees. They're sometimes referred to as pinon nuts. These small, hard-shelled nuts have a rich, buttery flavor, making them a popular ingredient in many cuisines.
The most common species of cedar nut is the Siberian cedar, which is native to Siberia and parts of China. Other cedar nuts include those from the Korean pine, the Swiss pine, and the Chinese white pine.
They are often used in baking or as a garnish for salads and other dishes.
To store, keep them in a cool, dry place. They can be frozen for up to six months.
Ginkgo nuts, known as bai guo, are the seeds of the ginkgo tree. The ginkgo tree is native to China and has been cultivated for thousands of years. They have a chewy texture and a slightly sweet taste. They are often used in Chinese cooking, either whole or chopped.
Three different types:
The Mariken ginkgo nut is the market's most common option. It gets its name from the Mariken region of Holland, where it was first cultivated. They are oval and have a smooth, brownish-red exterior. They have a mild, sweet flavor.
The Baiwei nut is native to China and gets its name from the Baiwei mountain range, where it grows in abundance. It is smaller and rounder than Mariken nuts and has a hard, dark brown exterior. They have a more astringent flavor than Mariken nuts and are usually cooked before being eaten.
The Kongyo nut is grown exclusively in Japan and is considered the highest quality. It is similar in size and shape to Mariken nuts but has a darker shell with a greenish tinge. They have a delicate, slightly sweet flavor and are often used in Japanese desserts such as mochi balls and manju cakes.
When choosing, look for plump and smooth surfaces. Avoid ones that are shriveled or have cracks. It is best to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking to soften them.
To roast, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Let them cool before using.
Macadamia are the delicious nuts of the fruit of the macadamia tree, which is native to Australia. There are several species of macadamia trees, but the most common is Macadamia integrifolia. The macadamia nut must be cracked open to get to the edible kernel.
These are the common types of nuts:
- Hawaiian Macadamia Nuts are among the most popular type of Macadamia. They have a buttery, rich flavor that makes them perfect for baking. Hawaiians roast and salt these for a tasty snack.
- Australian Macadamia Nuts have a milder flavor than Hawaiian macadamias, making them ideal for use in savory dishes. They're great for snacking or adding to yogurt or oatmeal. Australian macadamias can be found at gourmet grocery stores or online.
- South African Macadamia Nuts are similar to Hawaiian macadamias in terms of their flavor and texture. They're great for baking, as well as for roasting and salting for a tasty snack. These nuts can be found at gourmet grocery stores or online.
Macadamia is a good source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals like manganese and thiamin. They can be eaten raw, roasted, or used in recipes in place of other nuts or seeds. It is best to keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Karuka nuts ( known as bitter cassava, yuca, manioc, or Pandanus nuts) are a tuber native to South America. They have a long, thin shape and dark brown or black skin. The flesh is white or cream-colored and has a starchy texture.
There are two main types:
- Brazils are the most common.
- Paranas are less common and are typically used as a garnish for savory dishes. Both Karuka has a hard exterior and soft inner flesh. The nuts are typically brown or red and have a slightly sweet taste.
They can be eaten raw, roasted, or boiled. They can also make flour, tapioca, or other products.
They are about the size of a walnut and have a brownish-red outer exterior. The inside of the nut is white and contains caffeine.
There are two main species Cola nitida and Cola acuminata. Cola nitida is the more common species, while Cola acuminata is found mainly in West Africa.
It contains about 2% to 3% caffeine and large amounts of theobromine and other bitter alkaloids. The bitter taste is due to its quinine content. On average, it contains between 1.0% and 2.5% quinine. Around 60% of the alkaloid content is found in the cotyledons (nutshells).
The kola nut is native to the tropical rainforests of Africa. It is grown in many parts of the continent, including Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, and Congo.
It can be chewed fresh or dried and ground into a powder. It is often used as a flavoring agent in beverages and foods.
Hazelnut comes from the hazel tree, the most common one used is the Corylus avellana. They are native to Europe, Asia, and North America.
- Turkey is the most common type you're probably most familiar with. Turkey variety has a smooth, slightly bitter taste and an oilier texture than others.
- Italian: These are slightly sweeter than Turkey hazelnuts and have a creamier texture. They're also smaller in size and have a thinner exterior.
- Spanish: larger than Turkey and Italian and have a nuttier flavor. They have a tougher outside, making it difficult to crack open.
- American: smaller than Spanish but larger than Italian or Turkey. They have a sweet taste with hints of vanilla and a softer texture than others.
The hazelnut tree can grow up to 20 feet tall and has oval-shaped leaves. The nuts are small and round, with a thin shell that is brown or green. They have a rich flavor and are often used in baking or as a dessert topping.
They are hard-shelled that come from hickory trees. There are several different species of hickory tree, each producing a slightly different kind. They are native to the eastern United States, and the most common is the shagbark hickory.
Hickory nuts are relatively large and can range from about an inch to two inches in diameter with an edible kernel with a sweet, rich flavor.
- Shagbark Hickory is the most common. They get their name from the shaggy bark that covers the tree. The meat inside is sweet and oily.
- Pignut Hickory nuts are smaller and more oblong than shagbark hickory. The meat inside is bitter and not as sweet as shagbark.
- Bitternut Hickory nuts are the smallest. They have a smooth exterior, and the meat inside is very bitter. These are not typically eaten raw but can be roasted or made into flour.
Paradise nuts ( known as Baru nuts) are the seeds of a tree in the Caryocaraceae family, native to Central and South America. The tree is tall and slender, with dark green leaves and white flowers. The fruits are drupes, similar to cherries, that contain a large, hard seed.
The most common species of paradise nut is Caryocar brasiliense, found in Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru. Other species include Caryocar guatemalense (Guatemala), Caryocar costaricense (Costa Rica), and Caryocar Nicaraguanum (Nicaragua).
They are typically roasted before being eaten and can also be ground into flour used in various recipes, including cakes, cookies, and bread.
They can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to six months. They will stay fresh even longer if they are kept in an airtight container.
Most people think of peanuts as a nut, but they are legumes. They grow in the ground, and their scientific name is Arachis hypogaea. There are many different types of peanuts, but the two main types are Virginius and Valencia. Virginia is larger and has a milder flavor, while Valencia is smaller and has a stronger flavor. Peanuts are native to South America but are now grown in many different parts of the world.
They can be eaten raw, roasted, or boiled. They can be used to make peanut butter, a popular spread for sandwiches and toast. They are a good source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. They are high in fat, so they should be eaten in moderation.
Peanuts can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to six months. If you want to keep them longer, they can be stored in the fridge or freezer. Ones that have been roasted will go rancid more quickly than raw, so they should be eaten within a few weeks.
Whether you call them peanuts, groundnuts, or goobers, there's no denying that this little legume is big on flavor and nutrition and is an excellent source of protein.
Pecans are a type of tree nut native to North America. There are many species of pecan trees, but the most common is the Carya illinoinensis, or the Illinois pecan tree. Pecans grow in warm climates and require a lot of water to thrive. The trees can grow up to 100 feet tall and live for over 100 years.
Pecans are typically oval or oblong, with a smooth, brown shell. The nuts are encased in a thin, papery skin called the exocarp. Inside the exocarp is a hard outer shell called the endocarp. The edible part of the pecan is the kernel, which is found inside the endocarp.
Pecans can be eaten raw, roasted, or ground into flour. They are a popular ingredient in many desserts, such as pies, cakes, and cookies. Pecans are also used in savory dishes, such as stuffing and salads.
The pili nut is an important food source in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, and its oil is used for cooking and as a dietary supplement. Pili nuts are used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.
The trees can grow up to 30 meters tall and produce large clusters of yellow-orange fruits with a single large seed.
They come in different sizes and shapes, depending on the variety of trees they come from. The most common variety is the Philippine pili nut, which is oval and has dark brown or blackish-colored skin.
Pili nuts are typically harvested from the wild but can also be grown in plantations. In the Philippines, pili nut trees are grown in Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, and Masbate.
They are often used as a flavoring for soups and other dishes. Pili nuts are used to make pili nut oil, which is used for cooking and as a dietary supplement.
Pistachios are small, sweet-tasting nuts enjoyed for thousands of years. They belong to the same family as cashews, mangoes, and Anacardiaceae. They have a unique nutty flavor that makes them popular in many cuisines worldwide. These delicious little treats are nutritious, making them an ideal snack for those looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Pistachios come in two main species: the American pistachio (Pistacia vera) and the Chinese pistachio (Pistacia chinensis). The American variety is most commonly used for eating raw or in desserts and candies, while the Chinese are primarily grown as ornamental trees. Both types are native to the Middle East, with the Chinese grown in southwest China and northeastern India.
Pistachios are harvested in the fall when they reach maturity. Pistachio trees are drought-tolerant and can grow in dry climates with little to no water. They are also heat-tolerant and can withstand temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius.
They are the edible seeds of pine trees. There are many species of pine trees, each producing slightly different nuts. However, all share a few key characteristics. They are small, hard, and have a sweet, nutty flavor.
They are native to regions worldwide, including North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Chinese variety is the most popular; other lesser-known varieties include Italian stone pine nuts (also known as piñon) and Korean pine nuts.
They are generally harvested from trees by hand, although they can also be collected from the ground. Once collected, they must be shelled from their hard shell.
When purchasing, look for those that are uniform in color and size. Store them in an airtight container away from direct sunlight to preserve their freshness. Avoid buying pre-shelled pine nuts, as they may have been exposed to heat or light during the process and will not be as fresh.
Soy nuts are a type of legume that is native to East Asia. They are made from soybeans that have been dried and then roasted or boiled. Soy nuts are a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins, and they can be eaten as a snack or used in recipes.
There are many different soybeans, but the black soybean is the most common type used for soy nuts. Soybeans are grown in many different countries, but the majority of soybeans come from China.
Tiger nuts are tubers that grow underground and are an important food source for many animals, including elephants, rhinoceroses, warthogs, and primates.
There are two main species of tiger nut, the African and the Asian. The African variety is the more popular of the two and is grown in many parts of Africa, including Sudan, Nigeria, and Senegal. The Asian variety is grown in India, China, and other parts of Asia.
They can be eaten raw, roasted, or ground into flour. Tiger nut flour is a popular ingredient in gluten-free and Paleo baking recipes.
Tiger nuts should be stored in a cool, dry place. If they are not eaten within a few days, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
The walnut is a drupe, meaning it has an outer fleshy layer surrounding a hard shell. The black walnut, native to North America, is the most common species. Other popular varieties include the English walnut, the California walnut, and the Japanese walnut.
They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are a good source of healthy fats, including Omega-3 fatty acids. It can be eaten raw, roasted, or ground into a paste. They can also be used in baking or as a topping on salads or other dishes.
Walnuts should be stored in a cool, dry place. They can develop mold or mildew if stored in a humid environment and can be frozen for up to six months.
Health Benefits of Nuts
Nuts are of high nutritional value and are considered superfood edible nuts. They are rich in healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Additionally, they contain antioxidants that can protect against disease and aging. Studies have shown that regularly consuming them can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Nuts may aid in weight loss and help with digestion.
Consuming various types of nuts is important to get the full range of their many health benefits. They contain different nutrients, so it's best to include a mix in your diet. Almonds are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, vitamin E, and magnesium. Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, while pistachios and cashews are excellent antioxidants.
Nuts are especially high in antioxidants, which can help protect your body against disease. They are also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two important phytonutrients for eye health. Additionally, pistachios are a low-carbohydrate nut, making them a good choice for people watching their blood sugar levels.
Which Nuts Are Not Nuts At All
#2) Pistachio is not a nut but a seed of the Pistacia vera tree. It's native to Turkey and Iran and has been cultivated for centuries.
#3) Cashew is also a seed rather than a nut. It's the fruit of the Anarcardium occidentale tree native to tropical regions like Brazil and India.
What Varieties of Nuts Are Tree Nuts
Tree nuts are typically grown in dry, temperate climates and harvested during summer and fall.