A variety of species can provide edible seeds. Of the six major plant parts, seeds are the most important source of human food. The other five major plant parts are roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits. Most edible seeds are angiosperms, but a few are gymnosperms. The most important seed food source is cereals, followed by legumes, and nuts.
The list is divided into the following categories:
True cereals are the seeds of certain species of grass. Three — maize, wheat and rice — account for about half of the calories consumed by people every year. Grains can be ground to make flour, used as the basis of bread, cake, noodles or other food products. They can also be boiled or steamed, either whole or ground, and eaten as is. Many cereals are present or past staple foods, provided a large fraction of the calories in the places that they are eaten. Cereals include:
According to the botanical definition, nuts are a particular kind of seed. Walnuts and acorns are example of nuts, under this definition. In culinary terms, however, the term is used more broadly to include fruits that are not botanically qualified as nuts, but that have a similar appearance and culinary role. Examples of culinary nuts include almonds, peanuts and cashews.