Nuts That Are Fruits

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Nuts That Are Fruits

A common classification conundrum for people who are not expert taxonomists is the problem of which nuts can be considered as fruits as well. Let’s face it, how many among us are knowledgeable about how to properly define what a nut is? In the same way, do you even know what a nut is? These are petty things we take for granted but when the time comes for us to step into the limelight to provide a well-reasoned and well-researched explanation, we can just as easily fall miserably for lack of proper knowledge.

So before we go on to cite examples of nuts that are also fruits, let us first clear out the basic definitions in order to come to a common understanding about the true nature of fruits and the true nature of nuts.

Fruits – it is that part of a flowering plant that is derived from certain types of tissues making up the flower and is mainly used as a means to disseminate seeds for plant reproduction. A fruit does not need to be edible, as many colloquial definitions would like to suggest, although many common examples today fall into that category.

Nuts – are fruits that have a hard outer shell. The primary difference between general fruits and nuts is that the outer casing of the nut has been hardened but that this is still the same as the tissues comprising most common fruits.

Now, why is this classification important? Well, in terms of nuts that are fruits as being food sources, the “nut” classification officially confer certain added benefits to nuts that make them an important food class that has to be identified separately for all that they bring to the table. For instance, we are all familiar with fruits that bring a lot of vitamins and minerals and this is the primary reason why we include them in modern diets – aside from that fact that they are tasty and a popular source for naturally-occurring sugars.

In contrast, the hardened shell of the nuts have slightly altered the chemistry of the nut so much so that it is valued more for its protein supply than for its vitamins and minerals. Common examples of nuts that are fruits that feature heavily in many diets include peanuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and even coconuts. As you have already deduced, these are food sources that are known more for their stock of proteins and essential oils than they are for vitamins and minerals.

Likewise, it has to be noted that where there are nuts that are not fruits, then these are most likely classified as seeds. Seeds are the inner fibrous components of fruits that become exposed once the fruit opens up. It is the seeds that are primarily responsible for plant growth and reproduction of the plant and where it is considered edible, then it is differentiated from nuts that are fruits mainly because it is not a whole fruit in itself but merely the sub-component of a whole fruit.

Still, many of us would like to eschew the formal definition as it can be too tiresome to remember. Besides, who cares if there are nuts that are fruits as long as one understands the nutritional benefits brought about by each type of nut, fruit, or seed? This is the information that carries the best value for people’s diets and as long as you are aware of the details, then there is little need to understand the taxonomic definition for fruits, nuts, and seeds; unless you are a sucker for knowledge, of course!