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Types and Classifications of Nuts

Published October 26, 2011        by Nicole

flickr photo credit: ArenamontanusThere are many different types of nuts available for snacking. They are all delicious and come in many different forms. Here are some of the most common forms of nuts that people eat. Try your hand at a recipe or two for yummy nut snacks after you discover which class your favorite gourmet nuts belongs to.

Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can be good for your heart. Nuts, which contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients, are a great snack food, too. They're inexpensive, easy to store and easy to take with you to work or school.

The type of nut you eat isn't that important, although some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than do others. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts — you name it — almost every type of nut has a lot of nutrition packed into a tiny package. If you have heart disease, eating nuts instead of a less healthy snack can help you more easily follow a heart-healthy diet.

The Drupe

Almonds are from a class of one seeded plants. They are called hard-shelled endocarps. After the outer shell is removed, the inside nut meat contains one nut. That nut is called a drupe. Other types of drupes include pistachio nuts and date palm nuts. Still other drupes are the walnut and macadamia nuts.

Bacca, or Berry-Like

Berry-like nuts include a seed inside a more fleshy outer portion. Seeds in this family are many and include Brazil nuts and cashew nuts. It’s easy to see why cashews and other berry-like nuts cost so much. Each one grows on a single stem and has to be removed from its casing. The outer shell of many nuts like the cashew is actually poisonous and can cause skin reactions. So only experts should venture out to pick this sort of nut.


The pine nut is a nut that grows inside the spiny cone of a pine cone. The soft meat is the portion that is eaten when removed.

Seed Coat

Nuts with seed coats include the ever popular peanut. When shelling a peanut, you can see the red papery seed coat inside. Remove it before you eat the peanut.

Want to try a new way to enjoy a nutty snack? Read on.

Almond Coffee Walnuts flikr photo credit: GimmeFood :)


2/3 cup Almond paste -- room temp

2 tablespoons Coffee liqueur

1 teaspoon Instant coffee powder (not granules)

72 Walnut halves

8 ounces Semisweet chocolate -- melted


Mix the almond paste, coffee liqueur, and coffee powder until smooth.

Spread 1/2 tsp of the mixture on the flat side of a walnut half and top with another walnut half, forming a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining almond paste and walnuts.

Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. Dip one end of the walnut in the melted chocolate and set on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining filled walnuts walnuts and chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigeration.

Avery Island Hot Nuts flickr photo credit: HealthAliciousNess

Serves/Makes: 4 cups


1/4 cup unsalted butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups assorted unsalted nuts*

*such as pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, whole unblanched almonds, macadamia nuts


Heat the oven to 250 degrees with the rack in the center position. Melt the butter and garlic together in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the hot sauce and salt to the butter and cook for 1 minute, stirring gently. Spread the nuts over the bottom of a roasting pan and pour the butter mixture over them. Stir well to coat the nuts, then respread them in a single layer.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

To freeze: Place cooled nuts in a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag. Freeze up to 2 months. Defrost, covered, and refresh on a baking sheet in a 250-degree oven for 10 minutes.

With either recipe, package them in decorative bags and create a healthy gift basket around them, the recipient will love the thought and effort!