November 29, 2019 6:54 am Leave your thoughts
Should we rename our Brazil nuts ‘Bolivia nuts’? It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but it might be more accurate. You see, our wonderfully thick, crunchy organic Brazil nuts don’t come from Brazil at all, but from Bolivia (right next door to Brazil). That country is now a larger supplier of these nuts than Brazil itself. And we’re certainly happy to continue to source our nuts from there: we’ve never come across any better, for taste, texture and nutrition.
A tour around the rainforest
Brazil nuts are one of the most fascinating products we sell. Let’s take a virtual tour around the rainforests of Bolivia to see just how they get from there, to us, to you!
It all starts with the orchid bee: the only bee that can manage to extract the pollen from the flower of the Brazil tree. For that bee to survive, a particular species of orchid, that’s only found in the rainforest, is required.
With orchids and bees in place, the trees flourish, growing up to 50 metres high, with the nuts growing within the pods. Between December and March each year, the pods crash out of the trees, raining down at a speed that’s been registered as fast as 80mph, producing the same force upon impact as a cannonball.
Humans might well decide to stay out of the way – but fortunately, the agouti doesn’t. This large rodent, with its sharp chiselling teeth, is the only known animal that can crack open the outer casing of the fruit pod. Humans, obviously, can use machetes and machines to open the pods, but without the agoutis, there wouldn’t be the same seed dispersal and growth of new trees.
The Brazil nut trees are the main crop – and in some cases – the only crop, for communities in these rainforest areas. The harvesting and processing of the nuts is heavy, labour-intensive work, but the communities depend on them for their income and thus nurture the trees carefully and sustainably.
As the bees, orchids and agoutis demonstrate, Brazil nuts will only fruit within their own ecosystem. Demand for these nuts thus helps to maintain the rainforest environment – the nuts have, indeed, been described as the ‘only way to make money in this region’ that maintains, rather than destroys, the Amazonian environment. We’re therefore proud to stock them on our shelves and would encourage everyone to eat more of them!
And that’s not just for environmental reasons, of course. Brazil nuts are also…..
….crashingly good for you!
These nuts are a great source of magnesium, zinc and thiamine and perhaps the best supplier of dietary selenium. Magnesium is what we need to regulate muscle and nerve function and to help manufacture proteins, bones and DNA, while zinc is great for our immune system and for reproductive health, and thiamine (also known as Vitamin B1) allows us to access the energy in the food we eat. We need selenium for proper thyroid function, to maintain our immune system and to heal wounds. Brazil nuts also make a fine source of protein (particularly useful for vegetarians and vegans) and are rich in fibre.
To our mind, Brazils are the king of nuts, with a delicious savoury taste and thick crunch. They’re traditionally used to top fruit cakes, but of course, also work well in salads, nut loaves and stir-fries, as well as just for snacks.
Our Brazil nuts
- Our own packed bags – from 250g up to bulk sizes
- Snack packs from our suppliers – perfect for when you’re on the go, or for keeping in a desk drawer
- Broken Brazils in various bulk sizes (if you’re going to chop them anyway for a recipe, it makes sense to use these cheaper, broken ones)
- Brazil nut butter (gives your morning toast a healthy lift)
- Chocolate-covered Brazils (for when you’ve just had one of those days…)
A few NGF Brazil recipes
If you’re not snacking on them straight from the bag, then you might like to check out these three wholefood recipes from Naturally Good Food:
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This post was written by Yzanne