Nuts are delicious and can be fantastic sources of fiber, fat, protein and starch, depending on which of the fifty-three different varieties of n
uts you’re eating. However, among the different nuts types, there are a few imposters.
Nuts That Aren’t Nuts
Though as tasty as the others in the nut family, peanuts, cashews, and pistachios aren’t nuts. Peanuts are actually legumes, a classification that includes lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans. Cashews, meanwhile are actually fruit seeds. What we eat when we snack on cashews are the insides of a grey pod that hangs from the underside of the cashew apple. They’re related to pistachios, making the shelled Middle Eastern treat fruit seeds as well.
Just because peanuts, cashews, and pistachios aren’t technically nuts types, doesn’t mean they’re undeserving of the title. Truthfully, many other nuts types belong in the fruit and seed categories. A large portion, such as almonds, are actually scientifically considered to be drupes: the pits of fleshy fruits. However, because of the way they’re used when preparing foods, all of these nuts types, despite their botanical classifications, are considered culinary nuts.
Why You Need to Know
That said, there is a time when the true labels are important: allergies. Just because a person has a nut allergy doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy all nuts types. For example, if they’re allergic to tree nuts, they can still have peanuts, as they’re legumes. And if the person is allergic to cashews and pistachios–which are technically seeds–they may be fine when eating walnuts or pecans. While it’s still important to check with one’s doctor if a person has an allergy to any nuts types, as often these allergies are related, it is nice to know that there may be possibilities open in this diverse and delicious food group.