Nuts & Seeds

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Orleander, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    what is the difference?

    My husband eats alot of peanuts (which I know aren't really nuts) and sunflower seeds. I like cashew, pistashio, and macadamia nuts. But are these nuts or seeds?
     
  2. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    A seed comes from a fruit and can be separated. A nut, officially is a compound ovary, both seed and fruit and cannot be separated.

    More:

     
  3. kmguru Staff Member

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    With that definition, Cashew Nut is really a seed since the fruit part is separate....Folk lore in India is that Cashew improves memory.
     
  4. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    kmguru, there are lots of things miss-labled

    For instance. tomatoes, cucubers, capicums are all fruits
    Egg plant is a berry
     
  5. kmguru Staff Member

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    Asguard, a lot of people eat Cashews but may not know where it comes from.....
     
  6. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry i should have wrote more than that on my replie (my partner was trying to get me to do something)

    My point was that i think food labling is more related to historical and folk refernces as well as what we use them for as a scientific interpritation of what something is.

    Take bannan's and eggplants. They are both berries but because they are bigger than general berry a bannana gets labled a fruit and because eggplants are a savory plant they are labled as veg.

    The same goes for tomatoes
     
  7. Billy T Please use Sugar Cane Alcohol Fuel Staff Member

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    SAM in Post 2 defined seed and nut. What makes egg plant a "berry" and what is def. of fruit?

    Before moving to Brazil I had no idea that the cashew is the single Cashew shaped (curved) appendage sticking off the center of one end of a colorfull softer body which is usually bright red but may be yellow and is much larger - two or three times the size of a Plum tommato and slightly smaller than a bell peper. That body is not much good (MHO) to eat, but you can. It is crushed and pressed for the juice - which is OK (new, and strange to me) but many like it and a quite succesful commercial product in Brazil. (Every grocery store has bottles of it.)

    One of the things I enjoy most about Brazil is that there are several times more different types of fruits and vegitables, than in the USA, which are cheaper (about 50%) and most are available 12 months / year.

    My now Brazilian wife (we just lived together for first 14 years) did not know that peannuts grow under the ground; So we both learned from each other. I do not know the def. of "fruit" or "berry." From SAM's post 2 def, it would seem to me that the peanut is a nut (although most have two complete seeds, even a tiny plant between the two halves, inside the a common outter shell, some do have only one and some three.)

    I know the "experts" do not consider it to be a nut, but why not? It seems to nearly satisfy SAM's definition and exactly do so for the "one nut in the shell" cases).
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  8. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    Berry

    Fruit

     
  9. Billy T Please use Sugar Cane Alcohol Fuel Staff Member

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    IN view of the def you just posted why do you place only egg plant (and not, for example, cucuber) as "berry"? They are both fruits with essentially identical internal distributions of many small seeds, mainly along a central axis.
     
  10. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Cucumber grows on a vine, its a gourd. :p
     
  11. Billy T Please use Sugar Cane Alcohol Fuel Staff Member

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    So a fruit that grows on a vine is a "gourd"? Are watermellons, cantilopes etc gourds?

    In Brazil, one of the cheapest fruits, called Chu Chu grows on a vine. It is green and "pair shaped" but a little bigger, mainly water also. One of my wife's daughters says: "Chu Chu is the fourth state of water." It has shallow groves in the skin and sometimes very small stiff hairs on it, almost "microthorns." I do not know the name in English. Do you have chu chu in India?

    They have and sell some enormous gourds in Brazil - yellow / orange and very firm insides, with tan to light orange outside that often has slightly green stripes. I do not know the name in any language. No one buys the whole thing. - it is cut up into chuncks of a killo or two. I have seen them uncut - I would guess 40 kilos (100 pounds) was typical. It keeps well as the "flesh" is firm. tastes good too.

    What is the difference (if any) between a gourd and a squash?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Grapes grow on vines too, but they are not gourds :p

    I'd need more info than the name chu-chu. Could you post a picture?
     
  13. Billy T Please use Sugar Cane Alcohol Fuel Staff Member

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    I do not know why, but I never can up link a photo etc. I looked in dictionary to find the english name. It is chayote. (Sechium edule).
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  14. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    A gourd is a squash. They are members of the Cucurbitae family but gourds come under the genus Lagenaria. The squash (genus Cucurbita) consists of four species which do not naturally hybridize (ie cross breed).
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  15. Billy T Please use Sugar Cane Alcohol Fuel Staff Member

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    I am begining to suspect there is not regularity to all these names - just tradition. If there is, it would be nice to see a "family tree" with the categories as sub branches.
     
  16. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I always wondered about cashews. They don't grow in a shell do they? What about Macadamias?
     
  17. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I would think that Orleander is a "nut" and that her husband is a seed. :p
     
  18. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Cashews most definitely have a shell. Haven't you ever seen a cashew fruit? :)

    [​IMG]

    The fruit has a strange acerbic taste (like starfruit), but tastes great after it is fully ripened with some salt and chili powder.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Since this is a science board we'll use scientific definitions. The definitions used by cooks are not the same and are not even always consistent. A seed is the reproductive tissue grown by angiosperms (flowering plants), which was the evolutionary advance that allowed them to become the dominant type of plant on earth. A nut is one type of seed, which Sam has already described.
    I think Sam or someone else has also answered this question.

    Peanuts are legumes (beans). From a nutritional standpoint the main difference between a nut and a bean is that nuts can generally be eaten raw and beans generally cannot. Nuts were a staple in the early Paleolithic diet before cooking was invented. Almonds are also not nuts. The almond tree is a species of Prunus, the genus that also includes the cherry, apricot, peach, plum, nectarine, etc. Note that an almond in the shell looks very much like a peach pit, and note that if you crack open a peach pit there is a seed inside that could be mistaken for an almond but is bitter and poisonous to humans.
    The cucumber family, with seven genera, is one of the most wildly successful families of angiosperms. One of its genera is the begonias, which with 1,500 species is one of the ten largest genera of angiosperms.

    Gourds are one genus of plants in the cucumber family. Their fruits have sturdy shells that can be dried and used as tools, containers, musical instruments, etc. Another genus of the cucumber family includes the melons, whose fruits also have an inedible shell but it's not so sturdy. Squash are from yet another cucumber genus. In addition to the fruits we generally refer to in the kitchen as "squash," they also include the zucchini and the pumpkin.

    Squash were probably the first cultivated plants in Mesoamerica, marking the dawn of the Neolithic Era with permanent agricultural settlements. In the Middle East it was the fig, and in South America it appears to have been the pepper. Grains, which we think of as the world's food supply, came much later. Their nutritional value is not obvious since they require cooking before they're digestible.
    Foods were named long before biology was a science and the Linnaean system of taxonomy was established. So the familiar names of animals and plants often have no logic in terms of their scientific classification.
     
  20. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    so just one cashew per fruit? And its inside a shell, not just hanging there? damn, no wonder they are expensive.

    so why don't they leave it in the shell when they sell it like the pistachio?
     

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