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What is the difference between a seed and a nut?

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Quick Answer

A seed is a small embryonic plant that is enclosed in a seed coat; a nut, on the other hand, is a hard-shelled fruit that contains a single seed. Some examples of seeds are sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Chestnuts, acorns and hazelnuts are some examples of true nuts.

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Full Answer

In a botanical sense, true nuts refer to dry, hard-shelled nuts with usually just one seed. The ovary of a nut becomes extremely hard once it matures, but its seed remains detached within it. Brazil nuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts are not considered nuts botanically, but are categorized as drupes.

The culinary definition for nuts is not as restrictive as the botanical definition . Nuts in a culinary sense includes e walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamias and others, which are not true nuts by botanical definition. Regardless, of this ambiguity, however, seeds and culinary nuts still remain different. Nuts are a good source of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

Seeds are essentially miniature plants that are enclosed within a seed coat. Most of the fleshy parts in a seed coat are actually the plant's food source. Just like some nuts, some seeds are edible and are a good source of nutrients, some of which are essential to good health. These nutrients include B vitamins, protein, fat and dietary fibers. Seeds may be eaten raw, roasted or as part of a recipe.

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