Peanuts are one of the most common edible nuts, and large quantities of peanuts are consumed in raw form and as peanut butter. Almonds, pecans, pistachios and walnuts are other varieties of common edible nuts.
Peanuts are often classified as nuts and are identified by their figure eight-shaped shells that usually hold two oval-shaped nuts. In fact, peanuts are part of the legume family, along with peas and beans, and grow underground, instead of above ground like most edible nuts. Even so, peanuts are regularly enjoyed as a "nut" snack food and sold in the nut section at grocery stores. Almonds are quite common in the culinary world, and they're used in a number of ways to add flavor and texture to recipes. Like peanuts, mildly sweet almonds are eaten whole as a snack, but are blanched, sliced and pulverized for use in cooking.
Almond extract is commonly used in baking recipes, and almond paste is an essential ingredient in marzipan recipes. Pecans grow in trees that reach heights of 30 feet to 50 feet and are Native to North America. Pecan pie is one of the most popular culinary uses of this large brown nut. Pistachio nuts are a popular edible nut to eat as a snack. Pistachio ice cream and baklava are two desserts that feature these nuts.