Varieties of nuts include almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts and pecans. Pecans are grown on a type of hickory tree, and they are native to the southern United States and Mexico. The husk of the nut starts out green and then turns brown.
Pecans are famously used in desserts, especially in the South.
Macadamia nuts are round, sweet, buttery nuts that are largely grown in Hawaii. People eat the white kernel that is found in the hard shell. The kernels are roasted in oil or dry-roasted before they are sold. The shells and husks are also used for mulch and fertilizer.
The nuts of the black and white walnut trees are native to North America and were staples in the diets of Native Americans. Like many nuts, they are full of oils and fats, and they are perishable, so they should be used soon after buying or harvesting. Walnuts are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, copper and manganese.
The cashew is actually a drupe that grows on the end of the cashew apple. An interesting thing about cashew nuts is that their shells contain urushiol, which is found in poison ivy. This means the nuts need to be roasted before they are sold, as roasting destroys the toxins.
Almonds are the fruit of a tree related to cherries and plums. Almonds are used for their “milk” and ground into flour or marzipan for desserts.