May 30, 2021
I love natural nut butters, that’s why I make them. And when you love something, you want to know everything about it. You want to feed and water that love and watch it grow into something tremendous, capable of moving mountains. You want to cultivate love that is extraordinary.
If that sounds a little over-the-top for the topic of nut butters, believe you me - this I know. But my nut butter is someone else’s cat fixation or eerie doll collection. We’re all a little bit strange in our own way.
What is a nut? Well, investigating that question may very well be my life’s work.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a curious nut. If everyone has an inner freak, mine is the fact that I am hell-bent on knowing whatever there is to know about everything, to a level of enthusiasm that occasionally irritates the otherwise nonplussed bystander, or my boyfriend (hehe).
But there’s a problem. See, it’s impossible to learn about everything. It’s a bit like trying to eat all your favorite foods at once, or listen to all your Spotify playlists at the same time, or watch movies while you spin yarn, paint your nails, fry a steak, play the ukulele, and surf, like on an actual surfboard, juggle durian fruit, and pitch peanuts into your best friend’s mouth.
There is a point at which we discover not only that we can’t do it all, because in many cases that’s impossible anyways, but that we shouldn’t do it all (try playing a uke with freshly-painted nails). I learned this the hard way when I tried combining all my nut butters into one “unique” signature Zippilicious blend. Imagine that. I’ll spare you the details ‘cause it wasn’t pretty.
The point is that you kind of have to choose, and in this day and age where choice is often a privileged burden for its endless supply, that’s a bit hard. Shall I learn about the inner workings of a motorbike engine? The botanical wonder of tropical plants? Facebook algorithms? Tantric yoga? The fifth dimension? The mental patterns of a teacup Yorkshire?
Should I spread 100% natural almond butter on my toast or go mad with full-fat macadamia nut butter sprinkled with cinnamon? Should I learn everything there is to know about nuts, dear Lord, the whole lot of them?
I consider myself fortunate, not just for the freedom to explore my heart’s desire, but fortune-nut for having discovered what my heart’s desire is. See, I’m actually nuts about nuts. And I’ve recently discovered on Quora (as close to the truth as an online search gets us these days), how many nuts there actually are in the world. Can you guess?
The answer is 12 - according to anonymous folk on Quora, that is. Other people say there’s 20, but they included flaxseeds, as if in unapologetic noncompliance with its suffix. Assuming the Quora quote is on target, unless I devote a good five years to each nut for the rest of my life, assuming I live to 100 years, I’d better find something I’m equally nutty about (dog psychology, perhaps?).
But now you’re curious, aren’t you? The 12 edible nuts (as defined by Masterclass) are as follows:
Chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pinenuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
Now if you’re checking up on me and counted, you’ll have noticed that I only listed 11 types of nuts, and that there are a few misnomers in there, such as almonds (actually a drupe, but we’ll let it go), and peanuts (actually a legume from the pea family, so when your mom told you to eat your peas, you could’ve rightly just grabbed a jar of peanut butter and gone whole-hog in).
Thanks Masterclass - glad the Nut Master title went to someone who actually does their homework!
Pssst: Cashews are also a legume. But I’ve included it under my umbrella of nut-mimicry.
Let’s clear up some terminology, shall we?
What is a nut? A shell pod containing a single edible inner kernel.
What is a drupe? The pit or stone of a fruit.
What is a legume? Edible seeds inside of seed pods.
It probably gets a lot more complicated than that, as botany tends to do, but given my age, I’ve got years to discover nuts in all their complicated existence - yay!
I want to start with the hazelnut because I’ve always been drawn to its curious name and its ability to hold my attention to the quiet and juicy discovery that it is - quite possibly - the best nut on the planet.
I shall render the Hazelnut my first point of scrutiny as I make my way through the nut family. Stay tuned for All About The Hazelnut, coming soon.
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