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Brazil Nuts

Brazil Nut

The tough-shelled, triangular Brazil nut is the seed of a tropical evergreen tree, Bertholletia excelsa, family Lecythidaceae, that grows in large forests in the Amazon River basin of South America. The trees, which can reach a height of 45 m (150 ft), are not cultivated; propagation is entirely by the chance sowing of the seeds, usually by animals. The fruits of the tree are melon-size--10-20 cm (4-8 in) in diameter--thick-walled pods, each of which contains some 18-30 nuts. The pods are gathered when they have fallen from the trees and must be chopped open to obtain the nuts. They can be shipped only during the rainy season, when stream and river waters are navigable. Belem, a port in the Brazilian state of Para, is a center for Brazil nut export, and the nuts are often called Para nuts. Brazil nut kernels are sweet tasting and an excellent source of protein. They are also rich in an oil that is used for lubricating and lighting.

Donald K. Ourecky
Grollier's Multimedia Encyclopedia

Click here to see this month's Recipe: Mixed Greens with Brazil Nuts

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