The types of nuts are differentiated according to how they satisfy the botanical requirements for true nuts, as well as their designation and common usage as nuts in the culinary industry.
True nuts are those that come from indehiscent hard-shelled fruits. These fruits failed to open during the ripening process and so the seed, which is supposed to be released to the exterior environment, remains encased inside the shell.
The types of nuts in a botanical sense have one seed. The ovary wall turns solid and hard, as opposed to the soft, pulpy ones in other fruits. While the fruits of these plants only have one seed, the plant compensates by producing more fruits. True nuts are usually from plants of the Fagales order.
Popular examples of the types of nuts are walnuts, pecan and pterocarya of the family Juglandaceae. Beech, chestnuts, oak, stone-oak and tanoak make up the family Fagaceae. The family Betulaceae, which is the third and last of the true nuts, comprises hazelnuts and hornbeams.
Nuts that are too small compared to their counterparts in the same batch after harvest can be called nutlets. Some examples of nutlets are the types of nuts that are more commonly referred to as drupes. The fruits of walnuts may called drupaceous in nature, while other experts still insist that these are true nuts.
In a culinary sense, there are more types of nuts than the botanical definition allows. In this context, nuts comprise a wide array of edible dried seeds. These seeds have freed themselves from their shells, which goes against the botanical definition of true nuts. While pistachio is not a nut in the botanical sense, it is still classified as such in common language.
Nuts are very important nutrient sources for animals and humans. They mostly provide fats and proteins, both essential elements needed for survival. While many people are wary of nuts because of their high oil content, the different types of nuts may be the safest sources of dietary fat out there. Preparation of nuts include eating raw, roasting and boiling. The same is true for those that are considered types of nuts but are actually seeds. True nuts and seeds should still be eaten in moderation because of their high allergen content. Kids less than a year old are not given nuts because of this reason.
Many types of nuts are great for obtaining tocopherol, vitamin B2 and proteins. They also contain folate, dietary fiber and essential trace elements like potassium and magnesium. The most healthy way to consume nuts is eating them raw. However, as some nuts are difficult to eat in their raw state, they have to be roasted or ground to be completely edible.
Most adults and adolescents that are not allergic to nuts can safely eat these on a regular basis. Some of the seeds that are considered types of nuts are Brazil nuts, cashew, Macadamia nuts and Malabar chestnut. The edible parts of peanuts are seeds and are technically not considered nuts.