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Food of the Month: Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts come from the Brazil nut tree found largely in the Amazon.  The Brazil nut tree is one of the largest trees in the Amazon and produces 250 pounds of nuts a year.   The Brazil nut tree can live more than 500 years and is used for its fruit as well as harvested for its timber.

 

What Are They?

Brazil nuts are actually seeds that grow in pods on the tree that according to Britannica.com are "spherical pods, 8–18 cm (3–7 inches) in diameter, that resemble large coconuts hanging at the ends of the tree’s thick branches. A typical 15-cm (6-inch) pod can weigh up to 2.3 kg (5 pounds) and contains 12–24 nuts, or seeds, that are arranged like the sections of an orange. A mature tree will produce more than 300 pods, which ripen and fall to the ground from January to June. The pods are harvested from the forest floor, and the seeds are taken out, dried in the sun, and then washed and exported while still in their shells. The brown shell is very hard and has three sides."  

Health Benefits

Brazil nuts are a complete plant-based protein that contain a complete amino acid profile. Just 2 nuts contain the recommended daily allowance of selenium.  Selenium is essential for a thriving thyroid, healthy hormone function, healthy hair and scalp, mood improvement and decreases inflammation.  The Brazil nut is also high in protein, fiber, thiamine, copper, magnesium, Vitamin E, iron, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, calcium and potassium.

How to Store

Brazil nuts should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place.  If they are kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator they will keep for a few months.

 

How to Use

  1. In granola
  2. In oatmeal
  3. Eaten raw
  4. Made into nut milk
  5. Made into vegan parmesan cheese

 

 Vegan Parmesan Cheese Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup raw Brazil nuts

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp garlic salt

 

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or in a food processor.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  3. Use as a parmesan cheese substitute on soups, pasta, or salads.

 

 

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